VCU Libraries Advisory Committee
April 19, 2013 2 - 3 pm
4th Floor Conference Room, Cabell Library
Meredith Baines, Corey Davis, Clint McCown, Lea Marshall, Victoria Menzies, Whitney Newcomb, Peter Nguyen, Niyati Patel, Lisa Phipps, Faye Prichard (chair), Jeanne Schlesinger, Robert Sexton, Carolyn White
Absent with notice
Tehra James, Kathy Kreutzer
Staff: Dennis Clark, John Duke, Jeanne Hammer, Teresa Knott, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Guest: Liz Johns, VCU Libraries
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from March 2013
The minutes were approved as presented.
University budget process update
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that, while not anticipating an increase in budget for 2013-14 (other than salary raises for faculty and staff), the VCU Libraries will continue to meet the unavoidable costs portion of its budget, including journal subscriptions. The funding for subscriptions has been approved by the President; no journals will be canceled.
Lactation Room in JBC
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that except for some ongoing discussion about naming the room, the lactation room in the basement of Cabell Library is complete. Ms. Hammer said it will be open to the faculty, staff and students by card swipe as soon as the swipe mechanism is installed. Mr. Ulmschneider said that this is only the 2nd lactation room on the Monroe Park campus while the MCV campus has 5. In the new building, there will be another such facility offered as well.
Student Technology Fee (STF) investment plans for 2013-14 – handout
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that each year a proposed schedule of purchases from STF funds is brought to VLAC, CLUAC and the graduate student organization on the MCV campus for their review, suggestions and approval. The final report this year is due to the Provost by May 24th.
Ms. Hammer reported that undergraduate students were, in general, comfortable with the proposed purchases but had multiple requests for additional items such as laptop access, supplies for the proposed 3-D printers, more PCs and Macintoshes, more chargers, and lockers, and suggested that there should be a Macintosh computer right next to the 3-D printer for quick creation and correction. Ms. Knott said that the MCV students questioned the need for a 3-D printer and wanted to know if it was possible to get a licensed program that would allow them to access e-health records for their research.
Mr. Ulmschneider said that it’s clear that there is no decline in demand for new technology items for library facilities, despite the ongoing evolution of mobile devices.
Reports and Discussion
Ithaka Faculty Survey 2012: results – PowerPoint and handout
Mr. Ulmschneider explained that this survey is done every three years by Ithaka S+R, a research firm whose work focuses on technology in higher education and research libraries. This particular study aims specifically at university faculty and the impact of technology on their work. He shared the portion of the survey related to library use and resources. He particularly asked Committee members for their feedback on the data presented and how it might or might not reflect their experiences and perceptions. Some of the points discussed were:
- What methods of research faculty use most often
- How few faculty members ask librarians for help in finding research data
- Attending workshops and networking with colleagues was the primary source of information for scholars in their disciplines
- How faculty accessed the use of freely available materials
- Approximately 24% of faculty members believe it’s the library’s responsibility to educate students about research techniques
- Approximately 20% think that funds should be redirected from libraries and that the role of the librarian is diminishing
- Increasing belief that publishers should cease issuing print versions of publications, especially in the sciences
- There has been a significant drop in the number of faculty who think libraries should cease collecting print materials, though not as much in the sciences
- Libraries are looking into and increasing the storage of non-proprietary digital material and have a global network of duplication to preserve copies against server failure
- Currently, the VCU Libraries can convert most older technologies into new digital formats but can’t guarantee that it will always be able to do this; machines are no longer being made, parts are not available, etc.
- Increase in use of digital monographs as opposed to print formats
- E-journals are much cheaper than print and therefore more can be purchased and more material made available.
Mr. Ulmschneider said he would post a link to the full report to the Committee members for their more in-depth review.
VCU Online Education Strategic Plan Task Force – handout
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that he is serving on this task force. The focus of the task force is not to develop an online education plan, but rather to frame the elements of an action plan for online education at VCU in the near future. The handout shows some of the issues VCU faces and how VCU might approach them as the online education environment changes rapidly in the near term. The final report goes to the Provost next month. One of the issues that comes up continually is the need for a 24hr presence of some kind for online students, although it is clear that the specifics of what this means are not known right now.
Friends of the Library events
- Gabriel’s Conspiracy program, March 13
- Rams Reaching Out, April – September 2013
- Digital Pragmata events: March 26, April 25, May 2
- 28th Annual Brown-Lyons Lecture with Jack Spiro, April 4
- Charles Vess visit/talk, April 18
Mr. Ulmschneider reviewed each of these items, noting that the Brown-Lyons Lecture was a wonderful success, over 500 in attendance, and the Charles Vess talk was very well received. Ms. Knott explained that the Rams Reaching Out event is a juried photograph contest of work done by VCU medical students, primarily photos taken during community service by the students.
Ms. Prichard explained to the Committee that on April 24th, there will be a first/second year student poster session, with over 200 students presenting their works. There is still a need for judges and if any of the Committee would consider donating their time in this way, it would be greatly appreciated. She asked any who would like to volunteer to contact her.
Demo: “Opposing Viewpoints” data resource – online demonstration
Ms. Johns gave a demonstration of this new database which is very useful for beginning a research project. She showed how to find it on the VCU Libraries web page, pointing out that this database is a good transitional tool for bridging the gap between other search engines like Google and more scholarly databases. It’s very approachable and is designed to look like a website; the information is extremely current and statistical type data is less than 5 years old.
She said that the one drawback to this database is that it does not go into depth at all, although it is wonderful for an overview and for getting ideas of where to go with a project. It’s very effective for this purpose but should not be used as a high-level research tool.
The meeting adjourned at 3:05 pm. This is the last meeting for this academic year.