The purpose of this open letter is to speak to collection reductions and their near-and-long-term implications on our students, faculty and staff, and on our institution.
As part of budget reductions in Academic Affairs for the 2011-2012 fiscal years, Randall Library’s collection budgets were cut by $362,862. For information about the Library’s budget, see the Library statistics dashboard and specifically the dashes on our budget at http://library.uncw.edu/facts_planning/budget.
Collection Reductions Planning
Implementing reductions of this magnitude is challenging. Proposed reductions build on faculty input and evidence gathered in support of earlier serials reduction projects (including department ranking from the serials cancellation in 2009), as well as on updated usage, duplication and cost information.
Randall Library has sought and will continue to seek feedback from initially, the Faculty Senate Library Committee, and then departmental faculty and other members of the UNCW community as we evaluate resources and make cancellation decisions. We also look forward to speaking with the Academic Affairs Committee of the Student Government Association (SGA), and the officers of the Graduate Student Association (GSA).
A spreadsheet has been prepared with “Interdisciplinary” journal packages and databases on the first sheet, and then separate sheets for the individual journal titles under Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Health & Human Services. We propose to cancel these titles in order to meet the Library’s 15.8% budget cut. The purpose of sharing the spreadsheet is to facilitate awareness of our implementation of collections reductions and to affirm our values of transparency in meeting our target budget cut and responsible stewardship of our resources. To date, this spreadsheet has been shared with the Faculty Senate Library Committee, and then departmental faculty. We plan to meet with SGA and GSA as noted above in the very near future.
The University Responds
Groups and individuals have been given an opportunity to respond, and each response is being individually addressed by Ms. Susannah Benedetti, Associate University Librarian for Technical and Collection Management Services. In each case the core issue is the same, and I suggest that the core issue is stewardship - - balancing information, reference and research needs - - the needs of students, faculty and staff, against our bottom line. The higher education, and library and information science literature alike, affirm that our colleagues in academic libraries across the state and indeed the nation are facing this same challenge.
Supporting the Academic Core in These Times
We join our faculty colleagues in their concern about the near-and-long-term implications of reductions like this one on our institution. The UNCW Mission Statement affirms, (http://uncw.edu/planning/uncwmissionstatement.html) (accessed 12 October 2011) and Chancellor Miller underscores the University’s commitment to research. Access to research materials is critical to all research endeavors, in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and certainly in transdisciplinary contexts as well.
Interlibrary Loan provides us with a means to continue to support the academic core in these times. Certainly, as you might expect, we anticipate a significant increase in requests as journal packages and databases are cancelled. Currently, all requests are made through UNCW ILLiad, our Interlibrary Loan system. Interlibrary Loan locates and obtains research materials not available in the Randall Library collection. The Library absorbs all costs associated with this service. You may find our policy at http://library.uncw.edu/policies/interlibrary_borrowing (accessed 12 October 2011).
With the support of Dr. Stephen McFarland, Vice Provost, and the Academic Coordinating Council (ACC) we are currently exploring options that will position us to enhance Interlibrary Loan services while at the same time keeping these critical services free to students, faculty and staff.
Questions and Invitation
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me or Susannah Benedetti. Our emails are
Associate University Librarian
benedettis [at] uncw [dot] edu
Sarah Barbara Watstein
watsteins [at] uncw [dot] edu