July 1, 2002 - June 30, 2003
Prepared by: Lisa German
With each passing year, we try and provide more information to subject specialists, get better pricing from our vendors, speed up the access to materials our patrons need, and create a positive work environment. Each year, we get a little bit better and improve communication a little bit more. Acquisitions, like other units in the Library, had a very challenging year. Four of our staff retired including both of our our Library Operations Assistants. On the positive side, two librarians joined our unit as Acquisitions expanded more fully it’s role in electronic resources management.
Acquisitions primary initiatives this past year included planning the implementation of Voyager Acquisitions, laying the groundwork for the implementation of the Voyager serials checkin component, writing an RFP for a periodicals vendor and evaluating the responses, writing an RFP for firm orders/standing orders/approval plan services and evaluating the responses, and working with the AUL for Collections to bring electronic resources collection development into our workflow mainstream. Each of these efforts was done with an eye to providing better and less expensive service to our users. To the credit of the entire Acquisitions staff, these initiatives took place even though Acquisitions had four key retirements. "We want it fast, right, and cheap, and if we can’t have all three, we want it fast and right," said Sue Searing, Library Science Librarian, at our first Technical Services Forum back in the year 2000. We have made that our mission and are doing everything we can in order to accomplish the meaning embodied in that sentence.
In FY03, we worked more closely with the Cataloging units. We recognize that the entire technical services process needs to be efficient. If material speeds through Acquisitions and sits in Cataloging, it does no one any good. Conversly, if it takes Acquisitions a long time to do it’s job and then material speeds through Cataloging, that is not helpful either. The goal of the whole process needs to be efficient.
Specific activities that we’ve undertaken include writing an RFP for serial procurement in order to decrease our service charges and increase service, add records in III for gift and blanket order books in hope of decreasing the purchase of duplicate materials, change acquisitions systems in order to provide fund managers with more information about their orders, and begin the task of implementing the acquisitions module in Voyager. Nothing is ever done in a vacuum and all of this we accomplished with the help of very dedicated, service oriented staff.
Though we moved to a new system for acquisitions in FY02 and moved to a new location in the "garden level" of the Library, we continued to place most orders within 5 days of receipt. We cut down our backlog of monographic receipts and continued to strive for a one week for cataloging approval plan materials.
We continued to ask our users what was important to them. In September of 2001, we conducted a customer service survey to determine what services we were doing well, what we needed to better, and what services were the most important to our users, the librarians and staff of the library. We discovered that ordering materials was the most important AND the best thing that we do, and we were happy about that. But we also heard that sometimes things fall through the cracks, that we need more cross training, and that service wasn’t consistent across all of the functions that are performed in Acquisitions. We were very gratified to receive so much input from the survey; over 90 faculty and staff responded.
The approval plans continue to be underfunded. Fund managers have identified
additional new publishers that they would like covered on the plan which would result in a needed increase of $700,000 to the approval plan budget. These are important publishers for which we are not currently receiving books.
In order to get these highly desired books into the collection as quickly as possible, staff in Acquisitions cataloged and marked these materials within seven days of their selection. More than 6,000 books were sent directly to the libraries from this Fastcat process.
All Acquisitions work can fall under support activities. Lisa Fielder worked with departmental libraries to assist them in connecting to electronic journals. We worked closely with the Africana Bibliographer to establish procedures for adding materials to the online catalog at point of receipt for materials received on blanket order. We began claiming monographs proactively for the first time in order to assist departmental libraries with claims.
With the implementation of the Innovative (or III) acquisitions module, staff throughout Acquisitions received training and learned how to use the new system. Each staff member worked with Stephanie Baker and not only learned how to use the new system, but, in many cases, received a refresher on how to perform their jobs. The system is leading to several changes in workflow. We have done several cross training activities so that in all but one case, multiple people can perform each of the various ordering, claiming, and receiving activities that occur in acquisitions.
FY 2001 was full of new initiatives for the staff in Acquisitions. In November, we worked with Karen Schmidt on the first annual promotion and tenure bookplating initiative and ceremony. All newly tenured and promoted faculty were given the opportunity to select a book for the library, explain why the book was important to them, and then be honored at a recognition ceremony held in November at Grainger.
Much of the year was spent planning and training for the Innovative Millennium Serials and Acquisitions module implementations. We worked with the ISCC III Serials and Acquisitions implementation teams and the Systems Office to make sure that the systems were set up correctly and that staff were trained in both their areas of expertise and given an overview of the whole system. Stephanie Baker, the Technical Services Research Programmer, was essential to the success of this training. She produced the training materials, conducted the training sessions, and worked with the Acquisitions Librarian to learn all facets of acquisitions and serials checkin work. We gratefully acknowledge her contribution.
Along with planning for the new system was the planning to convert the data from the accounting System 36 machine over to III. This was an enormous task that would not have been accomplished without the work of Jeanne Grzelek as our consultant and Peggy Steele in the Library Systems Office. We worked with Janis Pilch in the Slavic Library and with Karen Wei in the Asian library to identify tasks that each would need to do in order to acquire materials with the new system.
One of the major benefits of III will be the ability to attach bibliographic information to order and payment information. We will have individual records for all of our approval plan materials along with materials received on the European blanket order plan, Music plans, Africana, Art and Architecture, and Latin American Blanket Order plans.
This will provide better access to these materials from the point of receipt and before they are cataloged so that we can avoid duplicating orders.
Acquisitions staff worked with the AUL for Collections on the second promotion and tenure ceremony for newly promoted or tenured faculty.
Members of the Voyager Acquisitions and Serials Implementation Teams traveled to Wisconsin to spend 1.5 days with the acquisitions staff at U-W. We are now in close collaboration with our sister CIC institution and anticipate a visit from them in the Fall of 2002.
Strategic Plan: Develop up-to-date and meaningful tools for monitoring and analyzing the Library’s activities so that Library resources for services can be allocated strategically and tactically.
Successfully implement the Innovative Millennium Acquisitions module
We are in the process of finishing the III implementation. This involved creating new vendor codes for more than 3300 vendors, new fund codes for 572 funds, coordination of communication within the library, rethinking workflows and tackling some difficult workflow issues. Deloris Holiman, Annie Copeland, Lynda Wirth, Kevin Butterfield, Janis Pilch, Peggy Steele, and Stephanie Baker did a superb job working with me on planning and coordinating these efforts.
Complete an RFP for French books purchased on Blanket Order which will serve as a model for other RFPs.
We have written a draft of an RFP and will begin working later this summer with campus purchasing and the subject librarians to begin the process of writing additional RFPs.
Strategic Plan: Create an ongoing internal training and development program for all Library faculty and staff to ensure a basic knowledge of library operations, to impart needed skills and to develop each individual’s skills, gifts and knowledge.
To continue to support all library training efforts
To facilitate activities that encourage interaction between fund managers and the vendors with whom we do business in order to take advantage of the services that they can provide us.
To provide an environment where everyone’s work is valued, where hard work is appreciated, and where initiative is encouraged.
As I look back on these goals, I realize that they really aren’t measurable. All Acquisitions staff received retraining to do their jobs in light of the new system. We continue to provide an environment where everyone’s work is valued and where initiative is encouraged. We will continue to do so in the future.
Finish the III implementation and the associated workflow changes and clean up activities.
Work to collect better collection statistics using III for the AUL for Collections and the fund managers.
Work on the EBO task force to revamp the European Blanket Order
Begin thinking about the transition to the new integrated system
Implement III serials in the departmental libraries depending on the new system implementation timeline
Lead the effort to write RFPs for our major purchases
Establish a benchmark for customer service initiatives