VCU Libraries Advisory Committee
1st Floor Conference Room, Tompkins-McCaw Library
January 15, 2010 2:00 to 3:00 pm
Mary Beachle, Corey Davis, Rosemary Farmer, Linda Hughes, Allen Lee, Ran Lee, Roy McKelvey (chair), Ann Wiesner
Absent with notice :
Jan Chlebowski, Leila Christenbury, Faye Prichard, Karen Rader, Gabriel Reich
Gonzalo Aida, Brandon Dube, Kimberle Jacobs, Worth Longest, Brenda Seago
Staff: Pat Flanagan, Jeanne Hammer, Teresa Knott, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Guest: Alan Williams (VCU Libraries)
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from November 2009
The minutes were approved as presented.
Library collections and storage-recycling initiative - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider expressed his thanks to the Committee for its meeting with the space consultants at the November meeting. The results of that interview plus other interviews conducted in that process will be available shortly.
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that he had sent an email to the Committee regarding the initiative to relocate some collection materials to storage and to dispose of some materials by recycling. To clear off the second floor for the new Learning Commons, materials there will be relocated, either to the first floor of Cabell, to storage in the basement of Cabell, or to the new storage facility at 500 Academic Center. To make room in these locations for the 2nd floor materials, some materials will be removed from the collections and sent to the University’s recycling contractor. Materials targeted for removal fall into four broad categories:
- Superceded print indexes: these are indexes that now exist entirely online. The VCU Libraries discontinued the print version of many of the indexes in the 1990s.
- Superceded reference titles: reference works that have been replaced by later editions and which have no intrinsic scholarly value.
- Duplicated print journals: where the library system owns two print copies of a journal, the best print copy will be retained and the duplicate copy removed from the collection. (This has no effect on affect print versions of digital journals; if the library system owns the print version of a digital journal, the print version will be retained in the collection.)
- Materials from the Patent and Trademark collection. VCU Libraries withdrew from the Patent Trademark Repository Program in spring 2009, since these materials now are all available online.
Mr. Ulmschneider underscored that library materials which have any intrinsic value or usefulness that might be relevant to programs at VCU, or are likely to be requested by patrons, will not be removed from the collection. He also assured the Committee that every reference index identified for removal is available digitally, and that no indexes without digital versions will be removed. The detailed criteria for selecting items that will be removed from the collection appear in the handout and on the VCU Libraries web site. The web site also contains a complete list of every title that will be removed from the collection. (Duplicate print copies are not listed.)
In discussion, Ms. Flanagan explained that a patron can request from storage either a single journal or the complete run if that’s what would be the most useful. If there are multiple requests for stored items, or if a student or faculty members feels that particular items should be in the active collection, those items can be returned to the shelves as current materials. Each stored item in the online catalog has a link that allows a patron to request the item from storage.
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that research libraries nationwide are exploring the best way to preserve print volumes without the overall costs of storing the same materials in tens or hundreds of libraries across the country. Research libraries are developing criteria and guidelines by which a handful of libraries agree to store a copy of a particular item on behalf of all libraries, allowing others to dispose of their copies.
Faculty may ask for any item that has been identified for removal from VCU’s collections by using the email link on the web page listing items that will be removed. Those items can then be reassigned from the VCU Libraries to the requestor’s department. (Since library materials are technically State property, they cannot be given to individual faculty members or students.)
Reports and Discussion
Library space consultancy and library planning - slides
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that the VCU Libraries has not received a draft report yet from the library space consulting firm that visited VCU several times in the fall. He noted that he does expect a draft report soon, and that the VCU Libraries will share drafts and progress reports with the Committee. He walked through a brief slide presentation showing the space design for 500 Academic Center and the proposed plan for the 2nd floor Learning Commons. He discussed the furniture design and layout, and the potential types of space/study use which will be available on the floor. The space is expected to be complete and ready for use by August 2010.
The Office of the Provost is enthusiastic about the Learning Commons and has agreed to fund the needed renovations to make it a reality. Mr. Ulmschneider said that this is due in no small part to the number of students who use Cabell Library on a daily basis (the daily gate count exceeded 12,000 several times this past semester), and the Provost is very mindful of how this renovation will help with the need for more student work space.
Mr. Ulmschneider reminded the Committee that TML has serious space and renovation needs, having sustained yet another round of serious water damage in November. As a result, VCU Libraries somehow will have to move more quickly to make changes at TML than the 2 years it has taken to get Cabell renovations to their current status.
Restoration of some hours and services; latest budget news
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that he has no news to convey on the budget other than what everyone has already heard from the President. Vice-President Bennett’s presentation on the budget shortfall, which has been seen by most members of the Committee, is a very sobering description of the fiscal situation that VCU faces: by 2011, VCU will have an accumulated shortfall of $66 million. In the current fiscal year, due to attrition and some short-term improvements in the budget, VCU Libraries has been able to restore some services that had been previously reduced.
- As of January 23, TML will again have Saturday hours. TML also now will maintain its full normal operating schedule through the entire year instead of cutting back during the summer.
- Media Reserve Services has restored some hours.
- The end-of-semester 24/5 service was restored for 1 week in December and will be restored for the full 3 weeks at the end of the spring semester.
Mr. Ulmschneider also reported that there has been no reduction in the VIVA budget. Library materials purchased by VIVA are indispensable to academic programs at VCU; a cut to that budget would eliminate access to many important journals and databases.
Demo: VCU Libraries new web site - online demo
Mr. Williams gave a demonstration of the new VCU Libraries web site. He said that the new design incorporates changes based on the actual use of the previous site and staff reviews of web sites at peer institutions. The new color scheme and look is more appealing to the eye and provides better functionality, but the same 4 basic search features from the previous site are still across the top. He highlighted the “Mobile Tools” feature and the Facebook link, as well as the RSS and Flickr links. He pointed out that the site uses language that is judged “student friendly”, rather than jargon or library-specific terminology. In discussion, it was noted that for some patrons, this new site might present a challenge for a period of time, since some features are less readily available than on the previous site, such as course text requests. Also, it was strongly felt that the word “giving” should be on the button intended for donations and that that button should be more prominently at the top of the page, not below the scroll line.
Mr. Ulmschneider invited the Committee to the farewell reception for Pat Flanagan next Tuesday, January 19th in the Cabell Room of Cabell Library at 2:00.
He also pointed out the handout regarding the Black History Month Lecture on February 9th at the Singleton Center at 7:30 pm.
The meeting adjourned at 3:10 pm. The next meeting will be February 19th at Cabell Library.