VCU Libraries Advisory Committee
March 22, 2013 2 - 3 pm
Main Conference Room, Tompkins-McCaw Library
Corey Davis, Jose Dula, Kathy Kreutzer, Clint McCown, Peter Nguyen, Rachel Sine for Niyati Patel, Lisa Phipps, Faye Prichard (chair), Jeanne Schlesinger, Robert Sexton
Absent with notice
Meredith Baines, Tehra James, Lea Marshall, Victoria Menzies, Whitney Newcomb, Carolyn White
Staff: Dennis Clark, John Duke, Jeanne Hammer, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Guest: Jennifer McDaniel (VCU Libraries)
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from February 2013
Two corrections noted: Ananda Newark was present for Peter Nguyen and Clint McCown is Mr. not Dr. With these revisions, the minutes were approved.
New library building: update on exterior renderings and other developments - PowerPoint
Mr. Ulmschneider reviewed several slides showing the latest renderings of the proposed new designs. He noted that the visuals in the presentation are still conceptual and have changed already since they were first provided to VCU on March 5. Several points were raised and discussed during the presentation and they included:
- The “Window Box”, intended to display moving and still images and three-dimensional items such as sculptures and tapestries to people on the Compass and in the Shafer Court area, is a striking new feature unique to the VCU campus. The VCU Libraries will work with VLAC to develop policy guidelines to govern what kind of material may be displayed.
- There was significant discussion about the proposal to use revolving doors at the entrance. Committee members raised concerns about whether revolving doors could handle the amount of traffic Cabell experiences, and the fact that the handicapped entrance will be a separate doorway to one side, departing from the university’s general commitment to universal design that creates one entrance for everyone, including those with mobility impairments.
- Funding appears to be in place from the General Assembly and if all goes well, ground-breaking or more specifically “jack-hammering” will be set for March 2014.
- Committee members reiterated their concern about the relocation of books and bound volumes to storage to accommodate renovation and requirement for temporary staging space. Mr. Ulmschneider reassured the Committee that the process used to identify and move volumes will be rigorous in protecting access and preserving the on-site presence for more heavily-used materials.
- Student study space will be equipped with adequate electricity and wi-fi connectivity to accommodate expanded use of mobile devices of all kinds.
University budget process and library journal subscriptions for academic year 2013-14 - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider said that the new budget process implemented by the university is impressive for its openness and transparency. It is much easier to understand university priorities and the role they play in the decision-making process for budgeting. He noted that there are three categories for expenses:
- Unavoidable cost increases – these include raises for faculty and staff
- Highest priority – these include cost increases in journal subscriptions (see handout).
- High priority – these are items unlikely to be funded; the include the second year of funding for the library’s 6-year Quest budget plan
The State has mandated raises to all faculty and staff in FY2013-14, but it does not provide all of the necessary funding for raises to public colleges and universities. Institutions of higher education are expected to provide a substantial portion of the raise funding from tuition and other resources. Since raises are mandated, they are considered “unavoidable costs” that must be funded, and this requirement will absorb the lion’s share of new revenue from tuition increases in 2013-14. It’s unlikely that the Board of Visitors will approve a tuition increase much higher than what’s needed to cover the unavoidable cost increases and perhaps some of the highest priority items, since the Board is very sensitive to the financial needs and status of VCU’s students. It’s hoped that unavoidable cost increases for library journal subscriptions will be funded, but it does not appear that the next phase of the Quest funding plan for the VCU Libraries will be possible.
Reports and Discussion
Status of new position recruitments - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that Jodi Koste from Tompkins-McCaw Library has been appointed as VCU’s first University Archivist. To free up time for her new duties, her previous responsibilities related to building operations at TML have been developed into a new full-time position, TML Operations Librarian, that is now under recruitment. He then briefly described the status of other ongoing searches for faculty positions within the VCU Libraries.
Internal reorganizations in VCU Libraries: effect on user services and collections - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider explained the organization chart in the handout, noting the vacancies and new positions being added to the staff in both libraries. Mr. Clark told the committee that Public Services division is reorganizing to provide improved service efficiencies and to strengthen the liaison activities of subject librarians, and a new organization chart for that division will be finalized this summer. The new organization will make it easier to staff expanded services hours that cover more of the existing building hours. He also noted that the new around-the-clock text messaging question feature is a big hit. There are some rather amusing texts occasionally, but students appear mostly to make research requests similar to those made when students come into the building for assistance.
Friends of the Libraries events - promotional pieces
- Justice for All: Black History Month lecture, Feb 5
- Gabriel's Conspriacy program, March 13
- Digital Pragmata events: March 26, April 25, May 2
- 28th Annual Brown-Lyons Lecture with Jack Spiro, April 4
Mr. Ulmschneider briefly described each event and encouraged the committee particularly to attend the Brown-Lyons Lecture, a yearly touchstone event for many in the community that always draws a big crowd.
Demo: Rehab Reference Center
Ms. McDaniel gave a brief overview of the function of the Rehabilitation Reference Center, a point-of-care information resource for occupational and behavioral therapists. Containing images as well as text, the Rehab Reference Center can act as a patient educational tool as well, and is available in English and Spanish. It can be found on the Libraries web page under “Databases A to Z” and is searchable by topic and source. It is marketed to clinicians but through CHEC, a patient or their family can access this database for their own knowledge and education.
The meeting adjourned at 3:00 pm.