February 23, 1999
ACADEMIC AFFAIRS LIBRARY
ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD OF THE LIBRARY
(Elected by the General Faculty)
1998-1999 ANNUAL REPORT
MEMBERS: Harold E. Aldrich (1997/8-1999/00); Lucia Binotti (1997/98-1999/00); James M. Coggins (1996/7-1998/9); Alice Cotten (1998/9-2000/1); Louise A. Dolan (1997/8-1999/00); David A. Hammond (1996/7-1998/9); John Hammond (1998/9-2000/1); William J. Kier (1998/9-2000/1); James L. Leloudis (1998/9-2000/1); M. Catharine Newbury, Chair (1996/7-1998/9); Jack M. Sasson (1996/7-1998/9); Thomas A. Stumpf (1998/9-2000/1); Dorothy Verkerk (1997/8-1999/00); Brent W. Wissick (1998/9-2000/1); Graduate Student representatives: Lora Holland (1998/9), Aaron Redalen (1998/9); Undergraduate Student representative: Wendy Anderson (1998/9); Ex officio: Linda Dykstra, Richard J. Richardson, Joe A. Hewitt; Alternate members: A. Conrad Neumann (Spring 1999)
MEMBERS LEAVING DURING PAST YEAR: Linda S. Drake (1995/6-1997/8); Don Madison (1995/6-1997/8); Terry E. Rhodes (1995/6-1997/8); Peter M. Smith (1995/6-1997/8); Richard Superfine (1995/6-1997/8); James A. Wilde (1995/6-1997/8)
NUMBER OF ANNUAL MEETINGS: Seven
REPORT PREPARED BY: M. Catharine Newbury 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
The Library’s State funding for materials improved in FY 1998/99, principally through one-time appropriations that may not be renewed in the coming fiscal year. Funding was approved for the renovation of the House Undergraduate Library. Current plans call for vacating House during the summer of 1999. Modifications to Davis and Wilson Libraries are being made to accommodate UL services during the transition. Programs to provide access to electronic resources were expanded during the year. Planning is under way for enhanced Library support for teaching and learning through new information literacy programs. A major bequest received in FY 1998/99 will support the preservation of Library materials. Salaries for Librarians continue to be a problem for the recruitment and retention of professional staff.
The situation with respect to the library materials budget is complicated. In the fiscal year 1997/98, the Libraries purchased over 12,000 fewer monographic volumes than in the previous year. Indeed, in total dollars expended the Libraries, including Health Sciences and the Law Libraries, spent $512,000 less on library materials than in 1996/97. Several factors caused this reduction. First, significant funding for the purchase of monographic materials in the Academic Affairs Library, made possible by a gift from Walter Davis, was completely used by the end of FY 1996/97 and thus not available in FY 1997/98. Second, there were reductions in one-time supplemental funding that had been made available to the Health Sciences Library in past years. Third, while the Libraries received an increase from the Legislature for inflation and library materials, that increase was offset by a reduction in funding available from campus sources.
In the current fiscal year, 1998/99, the library materials budget has experienced considerable growth as compared to last year. This growth, which will certainly restore the 1996/97 purchasing level and perhaps exceed it, is a result of one-time appropriations from the Legislature for library support and the provision of one-time monies for collections and technology infrastructure from the "one-percent reversion fund" that the University was permitted to retain and spend by the Legislature. This one-time funding enabled the Library to maintain its current serials and standing orders and to purchase monographs at a level that can support teaching and research needs of the University. It was not sufficient to expand purchase of monographs for the support of new and emerging disciplines or to restore serials cut in previous years and to add serials that support new and important disciplines.
While funding for materials surpassed the Library’s initial expectations for this year and advanced the collections, the outlook for next year raises concerns about the Library’s ability to continue to build collections which adequately support the teaching and research needs of faculty and students. In the Academic Affairs Library, $612,000, or 9.3% of this year’s library materials budget consists of one-time funding from the Legislature and the University. The Law and Health Sciences Libraries’ budgets also include significant non-recurring allocations. The Governor’s budget proposal does not include any new funding for libraries and does not include the non-recurring funding from 1998/99. Inflation for scholarly materials in both print and electronic format far in excess of the Consumer Price Index is expected to continue unabated. Even if the Library’s continuing state budget is not cut, the loss of State and University one-time funds will require the Library to cancel large numbers of serial titles and to reduce significantly the purchase of monographs. The Library faces a period of severe retrenchment and decline for the collections unless the current scenario for next year’s budget can be dramatically altered.
Committees of the Administrative Board of the Library
At its first meeting, the Board agreed to reorganize its committee structure to reflect significant changes in issues and services. Committee operations were streamlined by reducing the number of standing committees from seven to three and by consolidating committees with highly specialized or time-limited charge. The new structure consists of:
During the year, a Student Library Advisory Board was formally convened by Student Government, although the Board has not yet met. Its activities will parallel those of the Administrative Board, focusing on issues of concern to students.
As part of its October, 1998 meeting, the Board invited Professor Robert Peet to discuss the final report and recommendations of the University Committee on Copyright. Board members identified several concerns which were brought to the attention of Faculty Council. In particular, the Board felt that the proposed general policy statement, intended to promote assertion of fair use principles, required clarification or revision: 1) The Board found that the phrase "Attorney General generally provides legal representation for employees sued," implies that such representation might be withheld in certain instances, even from employees who believe themselves to have exercised in good faith the fair use provisions of copyright law; 2) The Board encouraged verification that the "insurance" provided to University employees would cover legal fees as well as damages and, if not, requested reinstitution of the inexpensive, voluntary insurance once available as part of the group plan; 3) The Board urged that protections afforded graduate students who teach be clarified, as these students are not considered to be employees of the University. The Board also expressed concern that proposed copyright restrictions affecting library reserves would force students to spend more on coursepacks. Other recommendations of the Copyright Committee, including establishment of an Office of Scholarly Communication, met with the approval of Board members. Adoption of a statement indicating the University’s willingness to participate in large-scale, multi-institutional initiatives to explore alternative copyright models for journal articles was considered especially important. Such a policy will position the University and the Library to seek innovative solutions to the copyright and scholarly communications issues which have driven up the price of publications and which threaten the Library’s ability to keep pace with escalating materials costs.
Undergraduate Library Renovation
As part of the 1998 budget agreement, the State Legislature appropriated $9.3 million to renovate the House Undergraduate Library. This represents the full amount requested by the University and will cover all construction costs. A volunteer fundraising committee, led by Ed Pleasants of Winston-Salem, is working to raise an additional $5 million, of which $1 million has been earmarked for furnishings and state-of-the-art equipment. The remaining $4 million will fund an endowment in support of undergraduate library services. Many individuals were instrumental in helping to secure funding for this project, including local legislators, members of the fundraising committee and Friends of the Library, student leaders and early contributors to the fundraising campaign.
The renovation project is expected to begin with the closing of the Undergraduate Library in fall, 1999. Comprehensive plans have been adopted to relocate collections and services to Wilson and Davis Libraries. In preparation for the transition, a significant shift of materials has been initiated in Davis Library, the first such shift since Davis opened in 1984. All Undergraduate Library services, including classroom instruction, reserves, and showing of films, will be assured through other service points. During the renovation period, Davis Library will provide 24-hour service. Although the renovation will inevitably cause disruption, this redesign is long overdue. When it reopens in spring, 2001, the Undergraduate Library will feature fully-equipped spaces for hands-on instruction, specially configured group and individual study areas, a redesigned reference area, and state-of-the art facilities where faculty and librarians will be able to consult and to work cooperatively. Existing services will move into spaces correctly configured to account for the changes which have affected libraries since the Undergraduate Library opened in 1968. The renovation is intended to create a teaching library which will support student learning and will prepare undergraduates for today’s information-rich academic and work environment.
The Library received the world’s foremost collection on the kidney, a gift from the widow and family of the collector, Carl Gottschalk. The much sought-after collection has great importance for the history of science and medicine, and for the study of the printed book. A special alcove has been created to house the collection in the Rare Books reading room, and an endowment has been established for acquiring additions to the collection.
This year, the Library also received the $3.4 million bequest of the late Winston-Salem businessman Thomas Jack Lynch for the preservation of library materials. The Library has used the money from the estate to create the Lynch Endowment. The annual interest will be used for a wide variety of preservation activities such as restoring old and damaged materials, microfilming brittle and crumbling books, restoring photographic negatives, and re-mastering failing audio and video recordings.
The Library devoted considerable resources during the past year to building and enhancing access to its growing electronic collections. Among the many electronic products added were:
Ongoing memberships in JSTOR and Project Muse continue to make full-text versions of scholarly publications available to the Library’s patrons via the Internet. As of March, 1998 the Library also benefits from access to the resources made available through the NC LIVE initiative, including numerous North Carolina newspapers. Davis Library houses one of the servers used for this statewide program and Library staff were instrumental in selecting and negotiating licensing agreements for NC LIVE resources.
The benefits of this active growth in electronic resources are significant for research and teaching. While much of the information available free of charge over the World Wide Web is at best disorganized and of dubious quality, the Library applies to the electronic products which it purchases or to which it subscribes the same stringent standards for evaluation and selection as it uses in acquiring print publications. It is through this concerted collection development effort that the Library works to ensure the availability of reliable online resources for students and faculty. In addition, the Library produces original high-quality electronic content through projects such as the ongoing Documenting the American South.
These efforts represent a significant and rapidly increasing cost center for the Library. The electronic products purchased by the Library do not replace, but rather supplement and expand the existing, and likewise growing, print collections. In 1997-98, the Academic Affairs Library alone spent $863,831 for electronic resources, including both one-time purchases and acquisition of new or maintenance of continuing subscriptions. Licensing issues continue to present difficulties: In many cases, publishers have sought to include unfavorable terms in purchase agreements, such as high surcharges, restrictions on access, and provisions which would limit the rights of scholars, faculty, or students to use materials as allowed by fair use provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law. The Library furthermore has devoted considerable staff effort to make electronic resources readily and widely available. The new online lists of the Library’s "Electronic Indexes and Databases" and "Electronic Journals," for example, represent many months of work and require continuous updating and maintenance.
Support for Teaching and Learning
While the proliferation of new electronic resources benefits the Library’s users in many ways, it also presents significant difficulties. Students are particularly likely to feel overwhelmed by the information options available to them at UNC-CH. The ability to locate needed information in the vast universe of print, electronic, and other media, to evaluate it critically, and to use it effectively represents a nexus of competencies critical to the realization of most academic, personal, and professional goals. Mastery of these lifelong learning skills is certainly fundamental to effective learning. As part of its mission, the Library has historically provided instruction and interpretation in the use of Library materials to support patrons’ varied research, teaching, and learning goals. The rapid rate of growth and change in resources, however, calls for evolving methods and a broader, systematic approach to instruction. The upcoming Carolina Computing Initiative also promises to place more information power directly in the hands of students, provided they learn to master its potential.
In order to study these issues, the Academic Affairs Library convened a Task Force on Information Literacy to recommend the ways in which the Library could bring its traditional strengths and expertise to bear in support of teaching and learning activities within this emerging climate. As part of its work, the Task Force spoke extensively with faculty members and students in focused roundtable discussions. The result has been an ambitious plan to address identified needs and help better prepare students for the challenges they face both within and beyond the classroom. On the one hand, the plan calls for making use of information technologies in order to deliver current, personalized assistance, guides, and gateways to students through an online student library and information "Toolkit." At the same time, the Task Force considers preserving the Library’s traditional emphasis on the "human touch" to be a priority and seeks to accompany the Toolkit with broadened instruction and outreach initiatives. The renovation of the Undergraduate Library will greatly facilitate many of these programmatic goals.
Above all, the Library Task Force proceeded from the premise that any new or expanded service ought to grow directly from local needs and contexts, and be well integrated with University priorities. To that end, the final report emphasizes partnerships, networking, and seeking of opportunities to support the classroom goals which faculty have for their students. Implementation of the plan is already under discussion, although addressing the full range of services which have been requested and which the Library could conceivably provide will depend in large part upon budgetary considerations and the ability of the Library to create new positions and invest in program development.
Span of Control Cuts
The Library was severely affected this year by budget decisions based on the State’s 1997 "Study of the North Carolina University System Span of Control and Organizational Layers." This commissioned study, based on a textbook management theory of organizational effectiveness, recommended that no position in the organization be more than seven reporting levels removed from the "level one" position (the Chancellor), and identified a benchmark of 5.7 reports per supervisor. Cuts in the University System budget were allocated by General Administration to individual institutions based on the number of staff at or further removed than reporting level 8. Within the University, academic departments were excluded from the study; the Libraries, business and finance departments, and Student Affairs and Auxiliary Services were all included. Based on these cuts, the Library suffered a budget reduction of $112,761, which was absorbed by eliminating four existing, though currently vacant, staff positions.
In an effort to comply with the benchmarks set by the study, the Library revised its organizational structure. The Library has also expressed to the Provost’s office serious concerns about the report’s applicability to the Library. In particular, the study fails to account for specialized collections such as the departmental libraries, in which a single librarian may supervise only one or two support staff, or for area studies services which call for highly specialized language and bibliographic skills. The report further disregards the considerable role which students play in Library operations, and the attendant supervisory responsibilities for staff, and it reverses the library’s attempts to lengthen the career ladder for SPA employees. Future budget cuts based on the Span of Control study remain an area of significant concern.
The salaries of librarians at UNC-CH continue to lag significantly behind those of their counterparts at peer and local institutions. In comparison with all 110 member libraries of the Association for Research Libraries, UNC-CH placed 77th in 1997/98. Among the 18 ARL libraries in the South Atlantic region, UNC-CH placed 13th, trailed by Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Georgia. Among the top 25 libraries on ARL’s annual Index, an overall measure of library strength, UNC-CH placed 17th overall, but last in librarian salaries. Salaries trail significantly behind those of librarians at Berkeley and Michigan, our peer institutions, and behind salaries of librarians at Virginia, Duke, and North Carolina State.
Although the UNC-CH libraries have never ranked very high in salaries, this issue is beginning to present real problems for the Library in terms of recruitment and retention, particularly of younger librarians who are more readily mobile. Salary was a primary factor in two resignations during the past year, and it has played a role in several other departures. Prospective librarians with highly prized technology and management skills are finding jobs in the private sector at much higher salaries. The Library is also facing several significant retirements during the next few years and is concerned about its ability to recruit at competitive salary levels.
These trends place the Library at a considerable disadvantage during a time of rapidly evolving needs. In order to maintain the quality of its collections, continue providing the customary high level of service, and develop innovative programs based on electronic technologies, the Library must be able to recruit and retain staff in the national market. Low salaries will seriously undermine the Library’s ability to attract and retain the highly skilled professionals who can provide the accustomed level of excellence.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTIONS BY FACULTY COUNCIL: None