October 2003 Council on the Libraries minutes

Council on Libraries
October 13, 2003
Treasure Room, 12:30-2:00 pm

Present: Kathy Cottingham (KC) (Chair), Malcolm Brown (MB), Cayelan Carey (CC), Richard D'Aveni (RD), Harold Frost (arr. 1:15) (HF), Teoby Gomez (TG), Marianne Hirsch (MH), Douglas Irwin (DI), Richard Lucier (RL), Cyndy Pawlek (CP), Jeffrey Ruoff (JR), Jerry Rutter (JR) and Barry Scherr (BS)

Excused: David Becker, William Hickey, Stephen Taylor

Guest: John Crane, Deputy Librarian of the College


The meeting was convened at 12:30.

1. Chair Kathy Cottingham welcomed members of the Council on Libraries (CoL) and brief introductions of those present were made. Then the meeting was turned over to Richard Lucier.

2. Communication to Faculty at Large/Council on Libraries Web Site RL explained that the CoL Website was established as a vehicle for distributing current information about the CoL as quickly as possible. He noted that the CoL Website and the CoL minutes are produced by a new librarian and acknowledged the good work done by Jane Quigley last year in this regard.

RL said that KC and Jerry Rutter (last year's CoL Chair) have expressed concerns over communications about the CoL to the faculty at large. RL asked the CoL for suggestions on how to better communicate CoL issues to the faculty at large.

KC suggested better publicity regarding the CoL Website noting that she hadn't known about the site until the end of the last academic year. RL commented that all divisions were represented on the CoL and that he has been and continues to be willing to speak individually to department chairs to promote communication. It was suggested that a subscription e-mail list of interested faculty members be generated and that an e-mail message be sent once a term from the CoL to convey CoL issues. RL said he would draft a memo for KC to introduce the CoL, its members and what it does. This memo would be sent to CoL members for comments. The revised version would be sent, from the CoL, to the faculty at large.

KC asked about communicating CoL issues to the students. Cayelan Carey responded that students don't know about it, but that the CoL and knowledge of its existence was important to students because (1) decisions regarding the library are important to students and (2) the Council could act as a bridge between students and library administrators. A suggestion was made that a separate formal student advisory group be formed. RL and Cyndy Pawlek suggested that it might be difficult to recruit students for an advisory group, based on their experience with meeting various student groups, particularly if there was not a specific problem for the group to address. RL suggested setting up a conversation with CP, RL, CC and the editor of the The Dartmouth to discuss publicizing CoL matters.

RL inserted an item into the agenda to follow up last year's discussion about Special Collections. He announced that a new College Archivist, Peter Carini, will start either Dec. 1, 2003 or Jan. 1, 2004.

RL announced that the search for a new Special Collections Librarian is beginning now. RL said that the approved job description is essentially as drafted last year, except for a change in the reporting structure and the education requirement for the position. More specifically, the librarian will be reporting to CP, instead of RL, because CP supervises education and services programs, consistent with the scope of this position. The education requirements for the position were expanded to include candidates without a PhD, but with a terminal library and/or information science degree, with progress toward a subject degree desirable. This latter change was made to expand the pool of candidates. RL would like the search to be completed by the end of the year. John Crane will chair the search committee and JR represents the CoL and the faculty since he was so involved in the faculty consultation on this issue.

JR asked about the role of the Friends of the Library in conjunction with Special Collections. RL replied that the Friends of the Library have traditionally had a special relationship with Special Collections; therefore it makes sense to focus this group on Special Collections and to develop another group for library fundraising such as capital campaigns. This strategy was worked out with Development and the Provost.

RL reported that Special Collections has been working on and finalizing two unique collections, the Pilobolus Dance Collection (a dance company originating at Dartmouth College) and Dr. Koop's papers. The Koop Archive would also include oral histories and Koop's papers from his tenure as Surgeon General.

3. Review of Mission and Strategic Objectives RL asked the CoL to review the Dartmouth College Library Strategic Goals, emphasizing goal numbers 4, 5, and 7 as being critical priorities and two areas into which he has tried to allocate new resources. As the Library has had to deal with budget issues, goal number 12 has become more important. A successful effort was made to track where all the Library money goes and the Library now understands its finances much better as they relate to programs and services. A major effort has been made in goal 12 has resulted in doubling staff development; funding for this effort has come from contingency and reserve money. A major effort has been made these past few years to increase funding for staff development which is key to successful change and progress. Much of this funding has come from reserves. RL said that the strategic goals are used by library departments to set outcomes for each year.

In answer to a question raised about the terminology "persistent access", RL replied that this is a library term used to indicate archiving of digital materials to provide persistent access to them over time.

JR asked for clarification of the differences between goal 7 and 10. RL replied that although both are educational, goal 7 emphasizes student education and goal 10 emphasizes library staff education. KC asked if these were posted and RL replied that they were posted on the CoL Website.

4. Financial Resources RL reported a difficult year this past year regarding the budget. This year, level funding for the collections actually translates into reduced purchasing power because of an 8% increase in the cost of collections (e.g. increased cost of journal subscriptions). Thus, there will need to be reductions in monographs and journals purchased for the collection.

RL reported another fiscal difficulty for the library resulting from a change in institutional policy regarding lapsed salary dollars. In the past, a significant amount of money not used for salaries due to unfilled positions was used by the library for operational expensed. Now more of this money reverts to the College. This represents a potential shortfall of $150,000. Currently this shortfall is being covered by contingency funds, but in the future the contingency funds will be depleted. There are limited options for where this shortfall can be made up. It can't be taken out of the collections budget; it is undesirable to make more staff cuts, so it will come out of the operating budget. Decreasing an already lean operations budget will likely have a negative impact on services and staff morale.

See document: Ongoing Budget Planning and Development RL explained that there is a delicate balance between collections and services. Given the state of the budget, cuts in services would have as negative an impact as cuts in collections. RL said that "collections above all else" was not his position. Douglas Irwin asked if cuts in services means cuts in staff and RL replied that was pretty much the case. DI asked what impact cutting library hours would have on the library budget. RL replied that it wouldn't help much as the library is largely staffed by students during evening and weekend hours and that limiting library hours would have a significantly negative impact on the student population.

RL asked for feedback from the CoL and faculty at large on the Ongoing Budget Planning and Development document, particularly on points 4-6 [second set of points] which effect faculty. It was suggested that this document be posted on the CoL Webpage with these items highlighted and that a response button be attached to assist faculty in providing feedback.

DI asked about collection development-were there open standing orders for materials from publishers? CP answered that materials were purchased through slip plans [selecting materials from slips generated by the publisher] and discretionary spending.

RL suggested that expanding the libraries included in Borrow Direct could be a strategy to expand the collection. The Borrow Direct libraries are considering adding libraries to the group (MIT and NYU). If this were to take place, it would take at least six to nine months. Overall RL said the faculty feedback about Borrow Direct has been very positive.

KC asked about the inability to renew Borrow Direct books. CP replied that the software is currently incapable of renewals, but that the possibility is on the table, as well as the possibility to add journals to Borrow Direct. RL suggested that in addition to the technical difficulties, perhaps there was ideological resistance to expanding the capabilities of Borrow Direct (not on Dartmouth's part).

DI suggested that the person in charge of acquisitions for a department consult with the department chair to match supply and demand. RL said that library staff have indicated that it has been difficult to get department chairs to schedule times at their meetings for these issues. JR suggested that department chairs should be involved, particularly when acquisition choices needed to be made between major items.

RL suggested making collection development and patterns of spending a future agenda item. He said that the Library tries to take a reading of what programs are important and what programs are emerging. Providing for emerging programs necessitates taking collection money away from other programs because new programs are not provided with collection funds. JR suggested this should be an item for new candidates to negotiate. RL said he has suggested this to several department chairs hiring new faculty.

JR asked about item 4 [first set of points], regarding the library as a "campus center for intellectual discourse, scholarship, study and learning" saying he wasn't sure this was the case. RL and CP replied that library space is used for performances, receptions, lectures, and poster sessions; that the library is used as a place to congregate and discuss, not just for individual study. CC said that students use the library for more than research-that it is a place discussion groups meet. RL suggested that faculty and students utilize the library differently, noting that science faculty often don't use the physical library to meet their needs. CC claimed that the library is used as a base for students on campus and that she couldn't even imagine what it would be for the library not to function as a physical space. She claimed that most students come into the library on a daily basis-often to congregate, sometimes just to warm up. RL used the 24-hour study spaces (the 1902 room and the Novack Café) as examples of the physical space being used, even after hours when these spaces offered no special access to library resources.

CP reported on evaluating the computer clusters. She said that it was a challenge to populate the clusters because there were no standards for the number of computers needed per user population primarily because the more computers a library has, the more computers are used. To get a better idea of equipment use, a head count will be taken through the rest of the term of users at different times of the day. Focus groups are planned with each of the undergraduate and graduate classes and Web surveys asking about needs and use of workstations in Baker-Berry, Kresge and Silsby are planned for faculty and students. Patterns of use and patterns of turning away requests (because the room was already scheduled) will be evaluated for the instructional facilities for the years in which the calendars are available.

DI asked about students using lap tops in the Library at night. CC responded that students like the cluster computers because their access to the Blitz or the Internet is more stable. She said that many students use the cluster computers and keep Blitz, papers and other documents open simultaneously. Often, she said, students will stake 'their' cluster computer out with books and/or belongings from 8:00 until midnight. CC said that students often bring their laptop computers to the Library in the evening because it is hard to get a cluster computer. RL asked if the Wireless Internet went down often. CC replied that it did flicker off quite often in the evenings last year. There was speculation that perhaps the Wireless Internet was overloaded in the evenings. KC suggested that there should be a mechanism to report the Wireless Internet was down. CC replied that Computing Services was open until 9:00 pm.

5. Library Space

John Crane was invited to give an update about the creation of the Callander Reading Room and changes made to Berry Level Three in response to the suggestions of the CoL. Freestanding stacks have been removed from the west side of the level to open it up visually and to provide space for a study area. The Cook Mathematics Collection was moved into the center of the stacks. More comfortable chairs are planned to increase browsing of the collection and pricing quotes for new tables, with power and data wiring, should be available soon. RL commented that these changes are another tangible example that Baker-Berry is not just for Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences. Following up on questions about timing, John Crane said that the study area tables should be in by the end of the year. KC suggested a tour for the CoL, perhaps for a Jan or Feb meeting.

RL reported on space in the Library that would be renovated for the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL). DCAL will occupy a 2500 square foot space in the southeast wing of Baker, space that deliberately was not renovated during the Baker-Berry renovation. There is a working group to design the space and money is available for the renovation. The working group will meet Nov. 18 and would like some CoL discussion about the relationship of DCAL to the Library. The renovations are planned to be completed before the beginning of the next academic year when DCAL goes on line. RL said that he wants the design of the spaces to complement Baker-Berry and not to be stand alone spaces.

6. Future Agenda Items

RL like JR to give an overview of DCAL at the next meeting.
Collection development and patterns of spending.
Continue the discussion on library space.