Date:  26 May 2009

 

TO:  UWL Faculty Senate

 

FROM:  Tim Gerber, Chair and Faculty Senate Library Committee [including Paul Beck (By-law Member, Murphy Library) and Anita Evans (Consultant, Murphy Library)]

 

RE:  Faculty Senate Library Committee 2008-2009 Academic Year Final Report

 

CHARGE:  2008-09 Committee members, duties, responsibilities, and charges (bulleted items below; see http://www.uwlax.edu/FacultySenate/committees/Library.html )

  • Study and recommend means of improving library services.
  • Provide liaison between faculty and library staff regarding policy-related issues.
  • (Special charge) Continue discussions regarding budget and financial issues (see last year’s committee report) and provide recommendations to the Library, the Provost, and Joint Planning & Budget Committee.

 

SUMMARY:  Seven, one-hour Faculty Senate Library Committee (hereafter, committee) meetings were held once each month from September-May 2009.  No meetings were held in January and March (see link above for minutes).  This academic year end report summarizes work done in regard to committee duties, responsibilities, and charges (see above) with a focus on improving library services, budget and financial issues, and suggestions for next year’s committee.

 

Improving library services:  LibQUAL+ survey results have spurred several initiatives by Murphy Library staff to improve library services.  Input from the committee regarding these initiatives constituted a large part of our meeting time for the year.

 

(1) LibQUAL+ survey results comparison:  Murphy Library has administered two LibQUAL+ surveys in 2004 and 2008.  The survey measures 3 dimensions: (1) Affect of Service, (2) Informational Control, and (3) Library as Place, and compares minimum needs and maximum desires with perceived level of service (see www.uwlax.edu/murphylibrary/libqual/index.html ).

 

A longitudinal analysis comparing 2004 to 2008 survey results was discussed during several committee meetings.  The survey results offered some guidance on where to focus library efforts to better meet the needs and expectations of its users. 

    1. Areas for improvement specifically in 2008 LibQUAL+ survey:

                                                               i.      Increase library hours (see Budget and financial issues below)

                                                             ii.      Add information content (i.e. e-journals) – the committee confirmed this point in a discussion of difficulties in accessing important research articles for undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty

                                                            iii.      Improve computer speed, number of computers, and printing capabilities

                                                           iv.      Add more group study spaces

(Needs continued)

 

                                                             v.      Improve the library web interface

                                                           vi.      Quiet places to study

    1. Some strategies to improve these weaknesses were discussed

                                                               i.      A three hour increase to library hours is being planned for Fall 2009 (see more below)

                                                             ii.      Library is in discussion with physical plant to identify potential group study spaces

                                                            iii.      Differential tuition money request to be resubmitted in Fall 2009 includes funding for increased library hours and e-resource content (see below)

 

 

Budget and financial issues:  Several general discussions of the 2007-08 final report, specifically addressing the fiscal crisis affecting Murphy Library and the resolutions that were submitted to the Faculty Senate and to the Student Senate, requested UW-L support of the library budget for increasing resource acquisitions and access (hours).

 

(1) Student differential tuition proposal:  Academic Initiatives were up for renewal this year.  The committee’s application last year (2007-08) requesting a portion of UW-L Student Differential Tuition (hereafter, differential tuition) funds was unsuccessful.  It was felt the committees request did not fit well within one of the four initial differential tuition categories.  Matching UW-L funds for differential tuition were also discontinued this academic year, so less funding was available. 

 

The committee attempted to establish a new differential tuition category for Murphy Library specifically.  The committee’s proposal “Murphy Library Proposal for Differential Tuition” which requested differential tuition monies to meet the ever-increasing demands for library-related services was drafted.  As proposed, $170,000 would be allocated to the Murphy Library for each year over a five year period with an additional percentage increase each year for inflation.  After multiple revisions, the proposal focus was on two main areas of funding:  increasing library hours ($70,000) and increasing e-resources ($100,000) beginning the 2009-10 academic year.  Any differential tuition funded programs would be assessed and reported by Murphy Library.

 

The committee’s proposal was presented to the Academic Initiative Oversight Committee Task Force (hereafter, Task Force) on 21 November 2008.  The UW-L Student Senate voted to approve the committee’s proposal on 10 December 2009.  UW-System administration determined not to bring forward any new differential tuition requests for UW Regents’ consideration this year.  Therefore, the committees’ proposal remains unfunded.

 

A separate Tutoring, Advising and Writing Center proposal was submitted by the Interim Deans of CSAH and CLS to and approved by the Task Force.  As part of the proposal, the centers would move from Whitney into Murphy Library (Rooms 256 and 257). While this proposal also was unfunded, , the move to Murphy Library did occur and has created additional resource needs for Murphy Library.

 

(2) Some limited special differential funding was made available by the AIOC to extend library hours by 3 to 4 hours per week, with a student supervisor and two students at the desk, for the 2009-10 academic year.  The committee recommended adding 1 hour to Friday (7:30 am to 6 pm becomes 7:30 am to 7 pm) and 2 hours on Saturday (11 am to 6 pm becomes 11 am to 8 pm).  Recent complaints about the Library’s hours during finals week suggested the need to rethink how the additional hours (see above) could be allocated to meet the heavy-use times, versus allocating them uniformly across the semester.

 

(3)  UW-System Library DIN (Decision Item Narrative): The 2009-2011 biennium DIN requesting a $6 million infusion into the UWSystem libraries was not included in the Governor’s budgetfor the 2009-2011 biennium.  This funding would have improved UWSystem library resource sharing.  Cutbacks on the individual UWSystem campuses is having an impact on the system-wide services (e.g., Universal Borrowing) and going outside the system for materials increases costs (reported by A. Evans - Council of University of Wisconsin Libraries meeting).

 

(4) Periodical pricing structure:  A presentation on periodical pricing structure at Murphy Library described the complexities of determining pricing (FTE’s, Carnegie status, package deals with add-ons, single user versus unlimited user pricing, use based pricing, negotiations, changing structure year to year) by vendors.  Although a variety of pricing variables exist, one important similarity among many of the vendors is use of the FTE variable.  As a general rule, 10,000 student FTEs is a common benchmark for increasing periodical fees. UW-L Growth Quality & Access (GQ&A) projections suggest the campus FTEs may rise above that benchmark.  This is an important issue that needs high visibility on campus.  UW-L administration has been made aware of this benchmark and the associated rise in periodical and database costs.

 

Suggested items for next year’s committee:

  • Continue to monitor budget reductions, DIN activity, equity in terms of subscription cancellations and departmental responses to modification (cancellation) requests, and department budget formulae.  The committee should work as an advocate for alternatives sources to subscriptions (e.g., document delivery).
  • Reapply for tuition differential next academic year to increase resource access and extend library hours.
  • Continue to assess LibQUAL+ survey results and discuss methods of improving library services.
  • Support for tutoring and writing center.
  • Take a closer look at the use of the MEPD monies that are generated from courses taken off campus (Milwaukee, for example), monies which now go to the Office of the Provost and not to the School of Education
  • Longer range goal:  Murphy Library needs to review its strategy for funding from multiple funding sources to support Library activities (e.g., endowment, extramural grants, student tuition differential). The Committee needs to collect examples of current funding sources for Murphy Library (e.g., CBA database project, the steamboat collection, diversity education materials) where funding includes new materials, library administrative costs, etc. The committee recommends that UW-L Faculty should include funding for the library in grants when appropriate.

 

 

Acknowledgements:  Special thanks to those guests (M. Current, J. Jax, M. Strange, S. Smith) who spoke, attended, and/or gave presentations at our meetings.  Bennie, Kuderer, McDougal, and Sallmen rotated Secretarial duties.