Date:  26 May 2004


TO:  UWL Faculty Senate


FROM:  Tim Gerber, Chair and Faculty Senate Library Committee [Gwen Achenreiner, William Barillas, Paul Beck, Cynthia Berlin, Scott Dickmeyer, Anita Evans (consultant) Karl Kattchee, Glen Knowles, Darlene Lake, Susan Murray, Elisabeth Peyer (student representative), Denis Provencher (committee recorder), and Elizabeth Seebach]


RE:  Faculty Senate Library Committee Report for 2003-2004 Academic Year


Duties, responsibilities, and charges:

  • Study and recommend means of improving library services.
  • Provide liaison between faculty and library staff regarding policy-related issues.
  • Report on library usage.  Suggest ways to improve usage, if necessary.
  • Report on budget reductions and the process used to enact the reductions.
  • Report on departmental budget appropriations and the process by which these dollars are spent.



Eight, one-hour Faculty Senate Library committee meetings were held once each month from September-December 2003 and February-May 2004.  Minutes from each meeting are posted at  This final report summarizes work the committee has done in regard to its duties, responsibilities, and charges (see above).


Improving library services.  Several initiatives are underway at Murphy to improve library services.  Input from the committee regarding these initiatives constituted a large part of our meeting time for the year.


(1)  UW-Digital Collections (UWDC) – Murphy Library is part of a new initiative associated with UWDC.  A. Evans and P. Beck discussed the potential of such new technologies for UWL faculty and class instruction. The committee discussed several issues regarding digital formats being used at Murphy including the dissemination of information using new technologies to faculty across the four UWL colleges, the challenges associated with digitization of material in certain disciplines (including digital journals) and the efficacy of such online services as improved
Interlibrary Loan Services (
ILLIAD) and Odyssey.  The committee was concerned about the quality and reliability of digital journals, the access to such information by community members, and the desire to maintain hard copies when possible. At present, at least one hard copy of all journals purchased by UW-system campuses is held providing access to a paper copy.  The Murphy Library website is being used as a means to disseminate up-to-date information to UWL faculty.

(2) Curriculum Resources Center (CRC) – Murphy library staff (John Jax, Michele Strange and Karen Lange) are trying to increase the use of the CRC.  The Curriculum Center, 2nd floor of Murphy, houses teacher education related materials.  With support from School of Education (SOE), Murphy Library has been able to fill a ¼ FTE position to help with this initiative.


UWL SOE and affiliated faculty were sent a web-based questionnaire to help measure how the CRC was being used and to improve materials found at the CRC.  Murphy Library is trying to rebuild the center in terms of usability, and would like further input on collections.


(3) Electronic databases - Galadriel Chilton is working on a “database of databases” management tool. Currently, there are approximately 200 different databases at Murphy.  Chilton’s goal is to create comprehensive list of databases to better manage an increasingly complex collection of databases. 


(4) Faculty training - Stefan Smith distributed an informal survey asking committee members to respond as a representative sample to four questions regarding faculty training and publicity communications. Faculty discussed responses to the questionnaire and most gave Smith written comments during the meeting. Smith noted that the library is planning to send department-specific e-mails once yearly outlining critical changes in information related to that department. Discussion about best times for walk-in workshops and feedback Smith received on the questionnaires lead to a recommendation to focus on the pre-week and first week of fall classes rather than the week prior to classes, and to expect greater participation in fall versus spring semesters. Also, targeted e-mail notifications with clear subject headings seem to be effective, and more valuable than walk-in visits.


(5) Information Literacy - Cris Prucha noted the following related to the Information Literacy Instruction Program and progress on the document, “Recommendations Regarding the Integration of Information Literacy into the General Education Curriculum,” which the Library Committee worked on the prior year:  (1) the freshman seminar UWL 100 was taught using problem-based learning and according to Emily Johnson it was very successful, (2) other disciplines have used the program, including Occupational Therapy and Psychology, and (3) the program is available to all faculty for use in their classes.  Additional information is available in “The Information Literacy Imperative,” at


Prucha, the first recipient of the Information Literacy Award from the Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians, and Smith wrote a proposal for modernization funding for Murphy Library room 30 for approximately $28,000; the project was funded.  This will be used to purchase new furniture, computers and an instructor’s station to accommodate group learning.

(6) UW-campus LibQUAL+ survey - The UW System funded LibQUAL+, a survey instrument to measure the quality of library services across the UW Libraries and identify best practices in library services.  The questionnaire is comprised of a series of 22 to 25 questions that are sent out to a sampling of users (faculty, students, non-academic sectors; support people) who are asked to evaluate services.  LibQUAL+ is a qualitative and not a quantitative tool.  Perhaps other instruments like focus groups may also need to be used.  In order to tailor the questionnaire to UW-La Crosse, Murphy chose from a menu of “canned” questions.   


Preliminary results of the LibQual+ survey - Since the start of the survey through April 23, a total of 481 responses were received.  The average time to complete the survey was 16 minutes.  All user groups reached the 15% response target, with undergradate and graduate student responses exceeding expectations.   A total of 143 responses included comments, mostly on library space and service.  Results will be interpreted by next year’s committee. 


(7) ExLibris MetaLib implementation progress - SFX is now active and will provide users with a link between databases and on-line full text articles. MetaLib will also link multiple databases so that users do not need to enter a search term multiple times.  MetaLib probably will be implemented in the Spring 2005.


(8)  Shared UW Collections - Universal Borrowing statistics for July 2003 through March 4, 2004 (Appendix A) indicates that UWL now borrows more materials than it lends. The CUWL Collection Management Taskforce formed this spring will be looking at duplication across the UW library system.



Report on library usage.  The use of materials at Murphy continues to change as electronic sources become a preferred avenue of access to information and budget constraints increase reliance on the “one system, one library” concept.


Library users are relying more on electronic journals (number of hits/usage) and document delivery (interlibrary loan (ILL)).  ILL (both borrowing and lending) has seen a steady increased over the last decade.  This past year, Murphy library was a net borrower of materials with 1,351 total loans and 1,493 total materials borrowed (Universal Borrowing Activity, July 2003-March 2004).  Turnstile counts (number of people who come through the front door) are up 4,000 this quarter (Fall 2003) in comparison to Fall 2002.  Library instruction is also up, which is attributed to the recent emphasis on information literacy and classes taught in the library.  In contrast, circulation numbers are on the decline (86,000 this year in comparison with 96,000 last year) as use of electronic materials increase.  Monograph (books) usage is also on the decline. 


Increased funding for staffing has been approved as reported in the February 12 Faculty Senate meeting to address budget cuts that compromise Library services related to 4+4+4 plan (summer session). 


Report on budget reductions.  Electronic holdings are increasing at Murphy while journal subscriptions and book orders are decreasing.  Although the library budget will remain constant over the next year (approximately $1,000,000), the library will actually see a decline in purchasing power due to inflation. The inflation will impact most significantly in terms of journal subscriptions. While the book inflation rate is approximately 6% per year, the serial inflation rate averages 8-10% annually. Hence in cooperation with UWL faculty, Murphy will continue with its “de-selection process” by targeting no and low use titles (among other criteria). This will continue to occur three to four times a year via the help of departmental library liaisons. Faculty and students are encouraged not to shelve periodicals when they are used in the library as student library workers count the number of journals used.  Faculty are encouraged to work with the library to reduce subscriptions to recreational and leisure titles and to maintain titles related to teaching and research. In terms of system-wide resources, UW System has had to abandon electronic resources such as Alt Heath Watch, Columbia Earthscape, BIP, Science NEXT WAVE, Ulrich’s, and HRAF.  Murphy staff will reallocate funds in order to keep some of these resources.


Murphy Library’s Periodical Collections from 1999-present:  Between 1986 and 2001, periodical prices have increased in price by 8.5% per year and Jen Holman noted that journal prices grew twice as fast as health care prices during the same time period. In 1999, Murphy Library had spent $378,000 for 1406 titles; in 2003-04, the Library spent $434, 000 for 1366 titles. In sum, many American universities are unable to keep up with the inflation rate and are canceling periodicals.  Murphy Library has been functioning with a cancellation philosophy based on several criteria.  A periodical will be cancelled if: 1) the title has received little or no use; 2) the title is available electronically through Project Muse; 3) the title has a current cost/use ratio of greater than $35. If journal cost/use is more than $35 than it is better to buy it through a document supply service; 4) the title no longer supports the curriculum.  Murphy Library has cut almost all that it can and what remains are primarily core titles (i.e. there is not much left to cut across departments).


Periodical cancellations and the budget formula for acquisitions:  In FY 2004, Murphy Library will cancel $57,490.09 in microform and journal subscriptions. This includes $19,796.43 in microform cancellations and $37,693.66 in journal cancellation (Appendix B).  Holman presented a few options for faculty members to consider:  1) Post a copy of one’s own article to personal web site or institutional web site if contracts do not preclude; 2) Investigate the possibility of free archives that become available to the public from publishers after a relatively short time period (for publicly funded research). One option in this regard is High Wire Press. Some commercial publishers to avoid: include Elsevier, Wiley, Kluwer; 3) Continue to seek out author friendly publications.  Holman also pointed out contract terms that authors should look for in this regard.  Holman created a web site in response to these recommendations.

Ken Frazier, Director, UW Madison General Library System, spoke on “Responding to the Crisis in Scholarly Publication and Communication,” April 2, 2004 in the Ward Room of Cartwright Center from 2:00-3:00 p.m. The program’s message was alternative methods to share scholarly information without exclusive reliance on high priced commercial publishers in light of budget cuts/cuts to journals due to increasing costs. The presentation, attended by campus faculty and area academic librarians, was sponsored by the Faculty Senate Library Committee, Murphy and the Provost’s office.


Report on departmental budget appropriations.  Murphy’s book formula for book orders:  In 1985, Murphy developed a crude formula for book orders.  Departments received funds based on previous years’ expenditures.  In 1989, a more systematic formula, based on FTE and credit hour production, was developed.  This system has evolved into the current formula whereby Murphy calculates a departmental book budget based on the following criteria: 1) student contact period (receives a weight of 4); 2) FTE (Undergrad/Grad Faculty) (wt of 4); 3) average cost of books in discipline (wt of 5); 4) circulation of books (wt of 4) (see Appendix B).  John Jax conducted a survey in the UW System to determine what other campuses use for budget formulae.  Eight out of 13 institutions responded: five other UW institutions have an allocation formula, another institution is currently developing one while two others used ratios and allocations based on needs.  Jax would like departments to look at the current system to see if it is equitable.  He reminded the committee that some additional start-up resources are not built into this system.  For example, programs that develop new minors receive $500 and new majors receive $2000. 


Suggested items for next year’s committee:

  • Follow up on the quality of e-journals by having faculty check their respective fields in terms of e-journal and document reliability.  Early in the year, the Committee had expressed concern about the quality of graphics (e.g. charts and footnotes) in electronic articles.  These concerns were shared with the UW System staff overseeing ILLiad Odyssey (desktop delivery of electronic articles) implementation.  In the final meeting, Glen Knowles expressed his success using electronic journals which he has accessed primarily through J-STOR, but more review is needed.. 
  • Investigate the results of the LibQUAL+ survey and discuss deficits (e.g. electronic materials; physical space) and how to address them.
  • Continue to monitor budget reductions, equity in terms of subscription cancellations and departmental responses to modification (cancellation) requests, and department budget formula.  The committee should work as an advocate for alternatives sources to subscriptions such as the exploration of documents delivery items. 
  • The committee should consider further development of the web smart page to educate faculty about electronic resources.


Acknowledgements:  Special thanks to those guests (G. Chilton, J. Holman, J. Jax, C. Prucha, S. Smith) who spoke, attended, and/or gave presentations at our meetings.