THE ACADEMIC AFFAIRS LIBRARY
ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD OF THE LIBRARY
(Elected by the General Faculty)
2005-2006 ANNUAL REPORT
Members: Daniel Anderson (2003/4-2005/6); Idris Assani (2005/6, replacing Michael Gagne); Ashley Reid R. Barbour (2004/5-2006/7); Larry Benninger (2005/6-2007/8); Frank Dominguez (2005/6-2007/08); Carl Ernst (2004/5-2006/7); Jon W. Finson (2004/5-2006/7); Carol Jenkins (2005/06, replacing Paul Farel); Paul M. Jones (2005/06-2007/08); Diane M. Juffras (2004/5-2006/7); John Kasson (2003/4-2005/6); Charles Kurzman (2005/6-2007/8); Charlotte Mason (2003/4-2005/6); Robert K. Peet (2005/6-2007/8); Richard J. A. Talbert (2004/5-2006/7); Paul H. Tiesinga (2004/5-2006/7); Margaretta Yarborough (2004/5-2006/7)
Graduate Student representatives: Stephanie Adams, Monica McCormick
Undergraduate Student representative: Mary Pishny
Ex officio: Linda Dykstra, Sarah Michalak
MEMBERS LEAVING DURING PAST YEAR: Dino S. Cervigni (2002/3-2004/5); Patricia A. Curtin (2002/3-2004/5); Michel Gagne (2003/4-2004/5); Donald Haggis (2002/3-2004/5); Don Madison (2003/4-2004/05)
NUMBER OF ANNUAL MEETINGS: Eight
REPORT PREPARED BY: Robert K. Peet, Chair
Reviewed by full Board March 6, 2006
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.
PLANNING: During spring 2005 under the guidance of University Librarian Sarah Michalak, the library developed a strategic plan that includes mission, vision, and values statements, and that addresses six core issues (collections, services, staff and organization, the digital library, communication, and facilities). The planning process involved small groups, departmental meetings, and town hall sessions. The Administrative Board met and discussed issues at length with representatives of the planning team, both in spring 2005 to help establish priorities and in October 2005 to review the resultant planning documents. Ms. Michalak noted that the plan will provide a road map while allowing the Library to respond to opportunities that might arise. The Board felt this effort was long overdue, praised Ms. Michalak for undertaking it so early in her tenure, and was generally delighted with both the process and the product.
During the planning discussions, board members agreed that it is generally desirable to have as much content as possible available electronically; however, the current status of scholarly communications varies greatly by discipline. It is much easier to envision everything on the digital desktop in the sciences, where most major journals are already online, than in the fields that depend more on archives of old records and past research initially created in paper format and which will be digitized only gradually if at all. Prioritization of retrospective digitization was discussed, with emphasis placed on regional studies and special collections. Board members also reflected on the changing nature of library spaces for users, particularly as information has progressively become available over the Web, thus reducing the need to visit the Library to consult the physical collections. The Health Science and Undergraduate Libraries have had considerable success with new types of spaces such as teleconferencing facilities and high-tech training rooms. Students, in particular, rely on the Library as a central information commons and meeting-place. However, the basic expectation of faculty members remains simply that the Library will provide the materials they need.
BUDGET: The Library was entirely protected from budget cuts this year. In addition, the Provost allocated funds to improve library salaries (Library SPA salaries had lagged behind every other unit on campus). Among other benefits, the infusion of salary funds raised salaries for librarians from 63rd among the 113 members of the Association of Research Library to approximately 55th. The long-term goal for librarian salaries is 35th among ARL institutions. Last year, UNC-Chapel Hill ranked 16th overall in the ARL index, well ahead of its position relative to salaries, which speaks well for the dedication and effectiveness of its staff.
The Board reviewed and approved the Library’s materials budget proposal for 2005-06. Although the Board has authority to approve the expenditure of state funds only, the materials budget outlined expenditure plans for all major sources of materials funding. Approximately $800,000 in new continuing funding was awarded to the combined libraries (University Library, Health Sciences Library, and Law Library). However, approximately 18% of the total materials budget still consists of one-time funding leaving the Library at great risk of an unplanned shortfall. The Provost has expressed his commitment to converting this shortfall over time to recurring funding. The Library is furthering this effort by working to identify for cancellation serial subscriptions totaling $100,000. Much of the cancellation effort will be focused on elimination of redundant print copies of materials purchased in digital format. Although the base materials budget for the Library has increased, this does not represent an increase in buying power. Higher-than-average increases for serial subscriptions and electronic databases, combined with the declining value of the dollar, more than offset the increases.
Books: The UNC-CH Library is currently ranked 15 among 114 academic research libraries in North America, largely on the strength of its collections and continuing acquisition of new materials. We are pleased that our standing remains high and that acquisitions have not been significantly impacted by the budgetary problems of the Library.
Special Collections: The Board inquired about planning for Special Collections and met once in the Wilson Library to hear reports from its curators. Each curator gave a presentation touching upon the history, scope, mission, policies, and ambitions of the special collections departments. They also spoke about the financial and logistical challenges of expanding and building collections; acquisitions in all three departments are funded entirely by endowment. They noted the increasing importance, as well as the difficulties and expense, of digitizing materials in order to make them available to researchers via the Web. Staffing for these and other responsibilities remains a challenge. The special collections curators are especially interested in examining service and organizational models that will better integrate the collections and facilitate their use.
WEB SERVICES: The Administrative Board met with Debra Hanken Kurtz of the Library Web Team to review and discuss the various web services provided by the Library including the Library’s web pages, various web databases, and digital collections. She described the process used this past year in the re-design of the Library’s web pages involving user comments, a review of statistics, staff interviews, usability studies, and focus groups. Her team was also heavily involved in the design of the new online catalog as the libraries migrated from their old system to the new Millennium system from Innovative Interfaces. Ms. Hanken Kurtz subsequently hosted a special focus group for members of the Administrative Board to test, review, and comment on the new web services
Davis Library: Diane Gillis, Project Manager in the Facilities Planning Department, meet with the Board and described an on-going engineering study for renovation of Davis Library. The impetus for the study is the need to replace certain aging building systems, most critically the HVAC system. The extent of this work will likely trigger state requirements to install a sprinkler system in the building. That would entail moving out collections and services, thereby providing an opportunity to investigate more comprehensive programmatic and architectural changes. The consultants are addressing mechanical systems, electrical and fire protection systems, architectural elements, and construction phasing. The University will receive a final report before the end of the year, and then can make decisions about project scope and funding, after which a more detailed planning process can commence. A comprehensive refurbishment and updating can be expected to total approximately $50 million.
Departmental Libraries: The Board reviewed the phasing of construction of the science campus. The Chemistry Library will move in July 2006 to the Wilson Library Stack Addition while New Venable is under construction. The Kenan Chemistry Library will be a temporary tenant of New Venable and will eventually move into a consolidated science library. The Chemistry Library in Venable will occupy approximately 5,000 square feet with much of the physical collection remaining in temporary housing in the Wilson Library Stack Addition; design of the library, which will emphasize technology and collaborative workspace, is in development.
SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATIONS: For years the Administrative Board has consistently advocated that an office of scholarly communication be created and that a librarian/lawyer skilled in copyright and intellectual property be hired to staff it. We were delighted when last spring Deborah Gerhardt was hired with half-time dedicated to this position. Over the past year Deborah has occasionally met with the Board to advise us on intellectual property issues, particularly with respect to education of the faculty.
In meeting spanning at least the past decade the Administrative Board of the Library has repeatedly emphasized the need to educate faculty about excessively high prices charged by for-profit publishers (often 4-6 times the price per page compared with publications of professional societies) and about options for protecting the rights of the author and University when signing copyright transfer agreements. In addition, the Board has historically worked to encourage publication in open access outlets and has observed the need for expanding the archive function currently associated with the Library to include the equivalent of a digital institutional repository. Last spring the Provost, in response to the report of the Convocation on Scholarly Communication held in January 2005, established two limited-term committees, one on Scholarly Communication and one on Digital Curation and Institutional Repositories. The Administrative Board has maintained an advisory role to these committees, consistent with our shared concerns and responsibilities.