VCU Libraries Advisory Committee
1st Floor Conference Room, Tompkins-McCaw Library
October 16, 2009 2:00 to 3:00 pm
Jan Chlebowski, Leila Christenbury, Brandon Dube, Linda Hughes, Allen Lee, Worth Longest, Roy McKelvey (chair), Karen Rader, Brenda Seago, Ann Wiesner
Absent with notice
Gonzalo Aida, Mary Baechle, Rosemary Farmer, Kimberle Jacobs
Corey Davis, Faye Prichard
Pat Flanagan, Teresa Knott, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Karen Cary, Lynne Turman
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from September 2009
The minutes were approved as presented.
Budget reduction for 2009-10
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that the budget reduction that has been expected for some time was announced the previous week. For the VCU Libraries, the reduction is a little over $202,000, bringing the total reduction in operations and personnel budgets to a bit over $933,000 since July 1, 2007. During the same period, budget for acquiring library materials, including subscriptions, has increased a total of $1.97 million. Mr. Ulmschneider noted that this latest reduction is not the largest possible, nor the smallest; it’s about in the middle for VCU overall. He explained that there will be no layoffs of personnel but that vacated positions will not be filled, since budget targets must be met partially by attrition. He noted that current budget projections leave very little balance at the end of the fiscal year, although there is still some work in refining the projections. He asked VLAC members for feedback regarding how reductions affect their work, so that VCU Libraries can adjust changes to ensure the least effect on academic work. He noted that the 24/5 service at the end of the semester has been suspended for fall 2009 to ensure that Cabell Library can maintain its regular 2am closing time. He explained that there are specific priorities for investment in refining the budget models:
- Retain enough funding in the current year, and carry some funding into the next fiscal year, to cover additional reductions.
- Restore hours to Media Resource Services so that students can access course reserves more easily.
- Restore 24/5 in some capacity for spring 2010, perhaps using a new model that minimizes or eliminates staffing.
- Restore Saturday hours for TML.
Mr. Ulmschneider said that he should know in the next few weeks what can possibly be added back to the operational structure. One of the complications of the 24/5 offering is that the VCU police are experiencing some difficult in hiring security personnel right now.
Library space consultancy
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that VCU Libraries, working with VCU Facilities Management, has retained the local architecture firm BCWH to help VCU determine library space needs for both campuses, including the size and internal space allocation for a new library building on the Monroe Park Campus. BCWH has brought in the library space design firm Tappé to help with the work. The two groups met this past week with senior library staff and then began an intensive research process on both campuses. Mr. Ulmschneider notes that the firms would look closely at peer institutions and how those institutions had approached the need for library and study space. They are also looking at collection models to plan for collection growth and to project the need for library storage. Finally, they are incorporating the effect of VCU’s past growth and future growth, particularly the growth in graduate students and graduate programs. The consultant groups will be back twice in November and Mr. Ulmschneider is hopeful that they will schedule one of their meetings so they can meet with VLAC.
Ms. Flanagan said that in their first visit, the consultants had walked the full MCV campus to ascertain the environment and the scope of need. The consulting team will be focused on needs assessments and won’t have the information or time to do address financial issues associated with addressing those needs. The needs assessment, along with much other information, will be incorporated into a full design approach. The result will be a comprehensive, three-pronged blueprint on library space needs at VCU: redesigned space at TML, additional space for the Monroe Park Campus, and off-site storage for collections.
Ms. Knott noted that the visit of the consulting team coincided with a major flooding accident in the basement of TML, which served to illustrate some of the challenges of an older building. During discussion, Ms. Knott shared that archival boxes in the flooded area had done their magic and that despite being saturated on the outside, the contents were safe and dry on the inside. Several VLAC members asked her to send them information on these boxes, which they thought would be useful in preserving important documents held in departments.
Reports and Discussion
Six-year budget plan: final submission and status – handout
Mr. Ulmschneider reminded the Committee that the University had asked VCU Libraries for a budget plan that focused on collections. The proposal was submitted in September. The handout showed recently implemented and planned graduate programs at VCU. Many of these graduate programs are on the Monroe Park campus and will affect collections held in Cabell Library. While the VCU Libraries’ collections are fairly strong in the areas of health, medicine and life sciences, they are weaker in humanities and social sciences. The proposal addresses both the collection needs of these new programs and the requirements to sustain collections for existing programs.
Mr. Ulmschneider showed a spreadsheet that illustrated potential purchases and the areas/programs of study they would support. It is difficult to predict what will be needed beyond the first couple of years, not only because some of the programs haven’t been initiated yet, but also because research literature constantly changes, and some of the material that would be acquired don’t exist yet. Mr. Ulmschneider explained that the collections’ weakness in some areas reflects the history of graduate studies at VCU: some disciplines haven’t offered Ph.D.-level programs in the past, so collections were not built to support Ph.D.-level work in those areas. In discussion, Mr. Ulmschneider said he would send this spreadsheet to the full committee and asked that, in sharing it with their colleagues, Committee members point out that the list is by no means a final list of purchases, only a draft of potential selections. The input of the various departments is critical to the development of the final list of purchases. As always, faculty will be consulted about specific needs and requests. Ms. Cary pointed out that she and others from Collection Management meet regularly with proposal committees in developing graduate degree programs to ensure that VCU Libraries is in close contact with those creating the programs that will need library support.
Planning for 2nd floor of Cabell Library
Ms. Flanagan reminded the Committee of their tour following last month’s meeting. She noted that the 2nd floor Cabell renovation will provide about 3000 square feet for student study. There is a much larger design for the overall conversion of the 2nd floor for student use. The first renovation’s plans were already completed when VCU Libraries learned that a portion of the new 500 Academic Center would be available for off-site storage. This raised the possibility of converting even more space for student use once the stacks were relocated, providing a total of 18,000 square feet for student study. Facilities Management is now meeting weekly with library staff to move the design for the 2nd floor forward. The commitment of Facilities Management makes clear that University leadership wants to address the need for more student study and work space on the Monroe Park Campus.
There was a general sense of congratulations and approval from the VLAC members present about the new 2nd floor space and its pleasing furniture and arrangement.
VCU Libraries Book Sale, October 19 – 23 – handout
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that the annual Friends of the Library Book Sale begins next week, October 19th and runs through to October 23rd. This year it is located in the basement of Cabell Library, this year in space dedicated to the book sale, and the stock looks to be quite ample.
Genesis: A Conversation with R. Crumb and Francoise Mouly, October 27 – handout
Mr. Ulmschneider announced this unique evening of a dialogue and interview with this interesting and eccentric artist.
VCU Cabell First Novelist Festival – November 6 – handout
Mr. Ulmschneider announced that this event is growing in stature and recognition, having been noted this year in the New York Times. There will be a pre-reception, the lecture and reading and then a reception to follow. The publisher, agent and author will all be present.
Two Millionth Volume, the R2 Digital Library and MCV Two Millionth Volume nominees - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider thanked the Committee for attending the recent two millionth volume celebration. He said that President Rao had attended and had been very complimentary of the staff of VCU Libraries. Mr. Ulmschneider then referred to and discussed the handout listing the publications and/or books nominated by the schools for the ceremony. It was noted that the volume suggested by the School of Medicine, written by Dr. Linda Costanzo, VCU faculty, can be found in libraries around the world!
Ms. Turman then demonstrated the R2 Digital Library, designated by VCU Libraries as the two million and first volume. Currently there are 150 titles in the R2 collection, representing multiple publishers and authors. One advantage to the collection is that individual titles can be selected for the collection; often, electronic book collections require that the institution purchase groups of books and don’t offer individual titles. She showed how to access the collection from both the main VCU Libraries web page and from the collections page. She pointed out that there may be both a hard copy and an electronic copy of the same book in the full collection. This database allows limited printing, section by section, and limits the number of users to one.
In discussion, the Committee raised concern about how to cite works from this source. Ms Turman said that these works are cited as an Internet reference, not a book item. The handout detailed how to create and use the linking abilities of this database. Ms. Turman also explained that because of the high cost of licensing for multiple users, the licensing is limited to one user right now. It can be expanded one user proves inadequate. The Committee expressed concern about the one-user limit and thought it might make the resource much less useful as a classroom reference room, since several students might be assigned a project but only one at a time can view the material.
Ms. Turman showed the Committee how R2 can link to Blackboard and to PubMed, two very useful features. She invited the Committee to contact her directly if they have any questions in the future about this resource.
In closing, Ms. Knott noted that Dr. Christenbury had been interviewed on NPR and that the interview with her had been the lead story about teaching in the graduate schools. Dr. Christenbury was asked to send the link to Ms. Fraga, who will forward it on the full Committee.
The meeting adjourned at 3:25 p.m.