JULY 1, 1998-JUNE 30, 1999
This year, more changes occurred in Acquisitions than in any other year in recent memory. Changes in administration, the composition of Acquisitions, in technology, and in Acquisitions work took place this year.
In August 1998, the reorganization of the Technical Services Division was finalized. Lisa German became the Acquisitions Librarian and the Automated Services Department became the Original Cataloging, Rapid Cataloging, and Serials Team. Five acquisitions staff members who performed serials checkin functions in Acquisitions joined the Serials Team. One Acquisitions staff member who worked with copy cataloging joined the Rapid Cataloging team. These changes have resulted in closer contact with the catalogers and better communication within the division. These teams are work process teams, not management teams. Team training occurred for all members of the division.
Acquisitions continued to expand its use of technology. A web on order database was designed to meet the needs of library patrons and staff during the early days of DRA and beyond. Working with Tim Cole and Winnie Chan in the Grainger Engineering library, we accomplished this project in short order. Realizing that we needed order information in DRA, we worked with staff at AITS to implement programming changes so that provisional order information could be added immediately without the use of the DRA Acquisitions module that wasn’t available at the time.
Acquisitions staff members became more comfortable using computers and by the end of the fiscal year, every staff member but two had a PC on their desk. Email became the preferred means of communication within the team.
We began managing the Latin American blanket order plan this year and continued searching European blanket order materials in OCLC.
The process of integrating physical processing of materials into Acquisitions began this year. Eventually, all Marking of materials will be done in Acquisitions or in one of the cataloging teams and the Marking area will cease to exist. All books currently received are having ownership stamps and security strips applied to them before being cataloged. New books are thus much more secure right from the beginning of the acquisitions process. New label stock has been purchased so that call number labels can be affixed to books at the point of cataloging.
Acquisitions began a ‘fast cat’ operation this year for approval books. All approval books with Dewey 21 call numbers in most subject areas are classified and their records added to OCLC in Acquisitions. Departmental libraries receive approval books within a week of selection. This is an improvement in service and has provided a growth opportunity for Acquisitions staff.
We have worked very closely with the Director of Electronic Resources to procure needed electronic resources. The purchase of electronic resources and setting up trials for electronic journals took an ever-increasing amount of time.
Despite staff shortages, we worked very hard with the Library Business Office to insure that all money was spent by the end of the fiscal year. The release of an additional $200,000 to be spent on monographs in late March/early April provided a particular challenge to acquisitions staff which they were able to meet with determination.
This year, as in the previous year, we accepted almost 10,000 gift books for the collection. Katie Clayton worked very closely with Karen Schmidt, me, other Acquisitions personnel and shipping staff to regularize the gift acceptance process. We transferred Betty Smith from Binding to Acquisitions to process gift books. Books not selected for the collection go into storage for the Library Booksale. Space for this activity is limited and very cramped.
On the Binding front, we continued to develop our relationship with Binding Unlimited. Karen Coleman and Karen Huffman are able to process all commercial binding and we are preparing to transfer Sudha Ramaswamy to Acquisitions once the physical processing operation moves from Marking/Binding to Acquisitions.
I worked as a member of the Preservation Task Force this year which examined the workflow of the preservation/conservation unit. We toured the preservation areas at Northwestern and the University of Chicago and invited Don Etherington, head of the Etherington Conservation Center to come talk with us about conservation possibilities. I feel that it is important that the commercial binding operation be a part of any preservation unit and that it would be beneficial to have all the staff in both preservation/conservation and binding report to a single person.
Much of my time this year was spent doing work as a member of the Budget Subcommittee of the Collection Development Committee. With the leadership of Karen Schmidt, this committee worked very hard to reexamine fund allocations and to put into place a new method for distributing new dollars.
The acquisition of electronic resources continues to take an ever increasing part of my time. We arranged for trial subscriptions for various electronic journals this year. Paula Watson and I are developing a workflow document for the procurement of electronic resources to enable us to help regularize the process.
We need to continue to move forward with the implementation of the DRA Serials module and reexamine our decision not to use the Acquisitions module. It is imperative to update our old technology to a newer platform and to give fund managers online access to fund balance information.
We need to continue to morph ourselves into a work process team. Already there is greater communication within Acquisitions among staff members. Some cross training has occurred and we continue to need more. All acquisitions staff members made valuable contributions to the library this year. In many occasions, they went beyond what was expected and gave excellent customer service to the departmental libraries.
Priorities for the next several years include increasing our use of technology in acquisitions processes, evaluating our approval plans and blanket order profiles, continuing training of personnel and filling key positions. We need to be able to assign one staff member to the process of acquiring electronic resources.
Technology and the Unit
Acquisitions staff members have continued to grow in their knowledge and technological capabilities. We began to use Microsoft Access to help monitor the exchange program. We are using Access to input order record data which is accessible via the web. All staff read email regularly and with ease. We continue to order and claim via our vendors web based systems. We want to able to import bibliographic data into our ILS from our vendors and to be able to produce fund reports in a format that meets both the needs of auditors and of selectors.
The lack of ergonomic furniture is an enormous problem for the staff in Acquisitions. People are using desks that were equipped to hold typewriters, not computers. Desks are very high, there are no footrests, and we have had incidents of carpal tunnel syndrome this year. An ergonomic workplace should be a priority of this library if we are going to ask people to sit at computers 7.5 hours per day.
The binding workplace is still very cramped. No new space was identified to temporarily store binding boxes that are now kept in the binding area since the new binder picks up material every two weeks. Supervising a unit two floors below my office is problematic.
The statistical report is attached. In comparing this past fiscal year to the previous one, some highlights emerge:
Professional Staff, FTE 1.0
Graduate Assistants, FTE .5
Staff, FTE 19.0
Students, FTE 3.6
|ROSTER||Date of 1st Employment||End date of Employment|
FY 1999 vs. 1998
||FY 1999||FY 1998|
|Monographic Firm Orders||22,338||20,372|
|Total Serial Title Loss||- 31||-184*|
|Monographic Receipts (Total titles)||56,462||45,748|
|Monographic Receipts (Total pieces)||75,516||66,434*|
* = totals corrected from last year’s statistics