March 27, 1998
ACADEMIC AFFAIRS LIBRARY
ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD OF THE LIBRARY
(Elected by the General Faculty)
 
1997-1998 ANNUAL REPORT

 

MEMBERS: James A. Wilde, Chair (1995/6-1997/8); Harold E. Aldrich (1997/8-2000/1); James M. Coggins (1996/7-1998/9); Jane Danielewicz (1997/8-2000/1); Louise A. Dolan (1997/8-2000/1); Linda S. Drake (1995/6-1997/8); David A. Hammond (1996/7-1998/9); Don Madison (1995/6-1997/8); M. Catharine Newbury (1996/7-1998/9); Terry E. Rhodes (1995/6-1997/8); Jack M. Sasson (1996/7-1998/9); Peter M. Smith (1995/6-1997/8); Richard Superfine (1995/6-1997/8); Dorothy Verkerk (1997/8-2000/1); Graduate Student representatives: Frederica Ballard (1997/8), Olga Rodrigues (1997/8); Undergraduate Student representative: Takie Hondros (1997/8); Ex officio: Linda Dykstra, Richard J. Richardson, Joe A. Hewitt; Alternate members: John Chasteen (1997/8), Jaroslav Folda (Fall 1997), Donald Haggis (Fall 1997)

MEMBERS LEAVING DURING PAST YEAR: Evelyn H. Daniel, Chair; Paul J. Kropp; Raleigh C. Mann; Mary Pardo

NUMBER OF ANNUAL MEETINGS: Seven

REPORT PREPARED BY: James A. Wilde and Joe A. Hewitt.  Not reviewed by full Board this year.

CHARGE: Shall advise the University Librarian on the administration of the University library system; formulate, together with the University Librarian, the basic policies governing the acquisition of library materials and the use of such materials; allocate, with the advice of the University Librarian, the book funds which are not specifically designated; submit to the Chancellor, through the University Librarian, its advice on the establishment or discontinuance of library service units outside of the general library building; review the University Librarian’s budget request; and report annually to the Faculty Council.

PREVIOUS FACULTY COUNCIL RECOMMENDATIONS OR QUESTIONS: None
 

Overview of Activities

Although the Library did not receive Legislative or University funding sufficient to maintain last year’s peak acquisition level, support for print collections was adequate. Support also came from a variety of sources for electronic formats and initiatives. The Library has been an active participant in the development of NC LIVE, and will benefit from access to the electronic resources which this statewide program will make available. Electronic collections, including the Library’s own Documenting the American South project continue to grow, although licensing restrictions and subscription fees imposed by certain commercial database vendors are proving troublesome. The Library opened the Information Commons in Davis Library in 1997, and has embarked on a number of important technological enhancements. The Undergraduate Library renovation project, unfunded by the Legislature in 1997, has been identified as the University’s highest capital construction priority for the coming session. Plans for the transitional period, as well as for overall enhancement of services to undergraduates, are well underway.

Materials Budget

A combination of circumstances caused the Library’s materials budget to remain essentially stable with regard to last year’s budget. Expansion money was not allocated directly to the Library, but instead was used to fund NC LIVE (see "Collection Access/Services" below). Many of the electronic services purchased at favorable cost through this joint arrangement will replace the Library’s campus subscriptions and will free resources for other collection development activities. Although the Library did receive an inflationary increase through the continuation budget, this increase was offset by a reduction in Budget Committee allocations to the libraries. In addition, a substantial portion of the Budget Committee allocation was used to cover an increase in student wages mandated by the new minimum wage law. In summary, funding available to the Library in the form of continuation budget, inflationary increase in the continuation budget, and Budget Committee funding is the same as last year, except that a portion of the Budget Committee allocation has been diverted to cover the Library’s student wage shortfall.

In response to this stable budget for library materials, the Library chose to maintain all current serials subscriptions and standing orders, which often represent long-term commitments and are difficult to adjust quickly, and instead to restrict purchase of books. At this point, however, the rate of serials inflation is proving lower than initially projected, and savings are being used to supplement the book budget. It should also be noted that 1996/97 represented a peak buying year for the Library, during which the last of the Walter R. Davis acquisitions funds were expended. Thus, while the Library expects to purchase fewer books in 1997/98 than in 1996/97, the size of decrease will be less than the 12,000-15,000 books initially anticipated.

Although the steady state budget for the current year is not in and of itself cause for concern, continuation of this trend could have more serious ramifications for the strength of the collections.

Information Commons Opened in Davis

Davis Library’s Information Commons opened in August, 1997 on the South side of the Gallery in the space created by the migration of the card catalog to the Reference Department. The Information Commons provides workstations from which users have access to the online catalog, numerous electronic databases, full-text periodicals databases, and the Internet and World Wide Web, as well as networked CD-ROMs restricted to Davis Library use because of licensing agreements. The Information Commons currently features 52 Pentium Workstations, 3 laser printers, 12 terminals permitting access to the text-only (telnet) version of the catalog, 4 printers for these terminals, and 8 ISIS e-mail stations. Expansion plans call for adding 16 Pentium workstations; the ISIS e-mail stations will be moved to the second floor and their number doubled to 16. Reference staff routinely circulate through the Information Commons to assist users and they regularly offer workshops, free and open to the public, on the use of the equipment and resources. That the Information Commons terminals are in nearly constant use, with lines of waiting students a frequent sight, attests to the popularity of this new service.

As a result of increasing availability of full-text databases of journal articles and the planned implementation of electronic reserves in the Fall, 1998 semester, printing at public workstations in the libraries is expected to increase greatly. Computer printing will replace photocopying to some degree. The Library is finding it difficult to bear the increasing cost of free printing, in particular as it applies to all public users, not just students and faculty. A system of charging for computer printing, with some level of free printing for students, is being considered for installation in the coming academic year.

Collection Access/Services

The World Wide Web continues to provide new opportunities to bring the Library’s resources to local and remote users, and to connect users with resources located elsewhere. The Library remains committed to building its digital collection, Documenting the American South: The Southern Experience in 19th-Century America, which has already made available via the Web over 100 fully searchable titles. This project has attracted considerable public acclaim. It was one of only ten projects nationally to receive support through the highly competitive Ameritech/Library of Congress National Digital Library Competition and has been the subject of articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, and Library Journal, as well as newspapers across the country. The Documenting the American South home page has been accessed over 30,000 times since the beginning of the academic year, and is currently recording 200-300 hits per day from users around the world.

March 1 of this year will witness the inauguration of NC LIVE (the North Carolina Libraries and Virtual Education project). NC LIVE is a collaborative effort to provide equal access for every North Carolinian to the library resources held statewide. NC LIVE resources will be accessible over the Internet and the World Wide Web, with individual libraries serving as "gateways" to the information. At present, these include the 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina, the 59 institutions of the Community College System, the State Library and public library systems serving all of the state’s 100 counties, and 36 private academic institutions. The UNC-CH Libraries will house one of the servers to be used for the program and Larry Alford, Senior Associate University Librarian, was instrumental in negotiating licensing agreements with the many commercial vendors who will be providing NC LIVE resources.

Database Licensing Difficulties

Even as online information assumes an increasingly prominent role in the Library’s services, some commercial database vendors have sought to impose restrictions which make the use of their products prohibitively expensive or operationally burdensome. Among the terms which vendors have sought to include in licensing agreements are:

Experience is demonstrating that replacing print with electronic formats does not provide a savings to the University, but rather represents a cost increase. As publishers’ concerns about the loss of individual print subscriptions mounts, the cost of maintaining serial publishing activities is being steadily passed on to libraries.

University Technology Funding

A series of one-time funding awards from the University has made possible a number of technological enhancements in the Libraries.

Reversion funds were granted for the following projects:

Academic Enhancement funds supported the following projects: In addition to these projects, the Library itself is funding a "laptop loaner" program in which faculty, students, and staff will be able to check out laptops from the Circulation Desk for building use. The program, modeled upon successful prototypes at other institutions, will make approximately fifteen PC laptops available by late spring or summer. The project will help the Library prepare for the upcoming Carolina Computing Initiative by identifying service, instruction, and support needs, and will eventually complement that program by making laptops readily available to students who may not wish regularly to bring their own to campus.

Undergraduate Library Project

Services to undergraduates remain an important focus, although the funding proposal to renovate the House Undergraduate Library was turned down by the Legislature in 1997. This year, the University administration has identified the renovation of the Undergraduate Library as its top capital construction priority, and has further expressed support for the project as part of plans to revitalize the Pit area. The funding outlook is therefore more optimistic, particularly because the project will directly benefit undergraduates. The amount of the University’s request has been increased by $3 million in order to cover the entire cost of renovation. A volunteer group led by Ed Pleasants of Winston-Salem has been convened to raise an additional $5 million for state-of-the art furnishings and technology in the renovated library and for an endowment to support undergraduate services. The Library’s Development Officer has been identifying appropriate naming opportunities, and a wall is being planned to honor donors.

Planning proceeds steadily for the anticipated two-year construction period, during which all materials and services will need to be relocated from the Undergraduate Library. Committees have examined implications for facilities, services and communications, and have reported to a coordinating Transition Committee, which will issue its recommendations this spring. All services associated with the Undergraduate Library, including Reserves, will continue to operate, and all collections will remain available for use. Davis Library will assume the Undergraduate Library’s 24-hour operating schedule for the duration of the transition period.

Librarians’ Salaries

As noted in previous reports, the salaries of UNC-CH librarians continues to lag behind those of their counterparts at peer and local institutions. Among the 110 members of the Association of Research Libraries, the Academic Affairs Library ranks 77th in average professional salary ($42,920 for a twelve-month appointment) and 80th in median salary ($40,450 for a twelve-month appointment) for the current fiscal year. These rankings remain virtually identical to last year’s when the Library stood 79th in both average and median salary among ARL libraries. The salary for a twelve-month appointment for beginning librarians is currently $29,000, placing UNC-CH at 49th in the rankings.

Some specific comparisons provide further context for these figures. The average professional salary at the University of Michigan (35th in the ARL survey) is nearly $4,000 greater than at UNC-CH, and at the University of Virginia (25th in the survey) the difference rises to nearly $6,000. Duke University, with average salaries more than $5,000 greater than at UNC-CH, stands at 29th in the survey. All three libraries also rank ahead of UNC-CH in beginning professional salaries. Salary rankings for Law and Health Affairs librarians reflect similar standings within their respective peer groups.

These salary trends place the Library at a disturbing disadvantage in terms of recruitment and retention. The same technology and information management skills now essential for librarians are being compensated elsewhere at much higher rates, particularly in the commercial sector. In order to maintain the customary quality of its collections and services, and to develop innovative programs based on electronic technologies, the Library must be competitive nationally for the best academic librarians. Low salaries will seriously undermine the Library’s ability to attract and retain the highly skilled professionals needed to build the library of the future.

Conclusion

The support of faculty, students and the administration has been critical as the Library enacts new initiatives and confronts pressing issues on many fronts. The work of the Administrative Board of the Library has especially highlighted the difficult questions surrounding library funding and the materials budget. It is clear that the growth of information technologies and electronic resources is resulting in increased costs to libraries for materials, equipment, and staffing, even as the universe of print publications expands at unprecedented levels. Nor has the increasing prominence of networked resources in any way mitigated the reliance on and role of the Library as a central place in the academic and intellectual life of the campus community. These needs and concerns have informed the work of the Administrative Board during the past year and will certainly be of equal or greater importance in 1998/99.