January 31, 2005
The Budget Implementation Task Force (BITF) was established in Spring 2004 to gather input about plans proposed by the Budget Group and develop implementation strategies to meet the goals of the plan. BITF has met frequently since Spring 2004 to consider and move forward the Budget Group’s recommendations in several key areas. Its membership includes: Lisa German, Paula Kaufman (chair), Bill Mischo, Chris Prom, Jody Seibold, Becky Smith, Peggy Steele, and Greg Youngen.
BITF has been guided by the underlying principle that service is at the core of the Library’s mission, as stated in the Budget Group’s FY05 operational plan. Our services must be user-centered, and to maximize service within operational and budgetary constraints, we must maintain a common focus on users’ information needs. BITF has also been guided by University Librarian Paula Kaufman’s call in her 2004 State of the Library address for the Library to create transformed and transformative services and collections and by the Budget Group’s focus on organizational goals: flexibility in staffing assignments, effective use of library space; improvement of work flow and quality control processes; and a supportive reward structure. Many of BITF’s recommendations are reflective of the goals of the Library’s strategic plan.
The Budget Group’s plan made a number of recommendations to move the library towards a new service delivery model. BITF has examined those recommendations, investigated additional ideas that were provided by faculty and staff, and is now pleased to present this report and set of recommendations for implementing important changes that move the Library past ‘muddling through’ to a new era that will ensure its continuing centrality to the University. It is expected that its recommendations also will provide better support for academic librarianship at UIUC by enhancing the environment for Library faculty research, providing increased resources for improving collection strengths, and encouraging the development of innovative user services.
Recent and anticipated changes in both scholarship and Library services are deep, complex, and long-term. They are influenced by, and in turn influence, social, cultural, and technical aspects of the University, eventually reconfiguring fundamentally its core activities. UIUC has been identifying these changes and examining their challenges and opportunities, as have its peers.
At the November 2004 UIUC Chancellor’s Conference, participants focused on managing disciplinary/interdisciplinary tensions, creating a balanced resource allocation strategy, financing innovation with finite resources, preparing students for global diversity, and enhancing UIUC’s presence in Chicago. Major recommendations included: developing a strategic plan to establish good interdisciplinary units; providing the Provost and the Deans with more financial resources; developing a strategic operational process to create priorities; reexamining mechanisms for closing units; establishing an international board of advisors; and creating a sustained Living/Learning community in Chicago that would permeate the city’s neighborhoods and function much like a semester abroad. All of these recommendations have implications for the Library’s future.
Consonant with the University’s resource strategies, the University Library is dedicated to delivering collections and services to support research, learning, and teaching by UIUC students and faculty as well as by citizens of Illinois and scholars around the globe. We are distinguished from many of our peers by our mission to collect and maintain materials for long-term use, which also requires a commitment to an aggressive and comprehensive preservation program. At the same time, we understand that students and faculty in particular expect and demand access to information content and services independent of time and place, and at a pace and level we have not experienced previously. We expect these service demands to grow.
We recognize that in order to support the needs of our academic community, we must continue to change the ways in which we conceive and deliver these services and resources. At the same time, we recognize that the Library’s financial resources will never be sufficient to meet the demands of our users. It is, thus, imperative that we make the most effective use of the resources available. To do this, we must move from our traditional configurations and practices to new, more efficient and effective approaches to delivering content and services while maintaining our core values.
III. PROGRESS TO DATE
After reviewing the Budget Group’s recommendations, the BITF launched CAMELS (Cyclical and Makeshift Emergency Logistical Squad) in Summer 2004. Led by Sandy Wolf (LIS Library), CAMELS is designed to assist with cyclically predictable tasks (e.g., reserves) and to provide short-term last-resort emergency coverage for public service units. Even during its first ‘shakedown’ semester, CAMELS has received good feedback from the units it has assisted; its members generally have embraced the opportunity to undertake a variety of new tasks and have expressed high satisfaction with the design of their jobs. Other teams are in the process of being formed.
Collaboration within and among divisions has been increasing. This year, the Social Sciences Division’s selectors pooled resources to improve support for the Approval Plan. The Arts & Humanities Division’s Medieval Studies program provides a useful model for supporting interdisciplinary programs. In Fall 2004, the Physical Sciences and Engineering Division (PSED) and the Life Sciences Division (LSD) began meeting jointly to discuss ways in which to collaborate more effectively. Joint training for Graduate Assistants, regular sessions to discuss reference sources, and new collaboratively undertaken two-division-wide sets of tasks (e.g., trouble-shooting e-resources) are underway, and the two divisions have pooled resources to purchase electronic backfiles of selected Elsevier and Nature titles. Other examples of divisional and interdivisional collaborations abound.
The Access Strategy Team was created and charged with 1) recommending an implementation strategy for WebFeat and SFX, and 2) examining the existing organizational structure for providing intellectual access to the Library’s collections and resources in all formats and recommending a new infrastructure better suited to the evolving information environment. It created the Federated Search Pilot Project Implementation Team (the Feds) and the OpenURL Link Resolver Implementation Team (OLRIT) to oversee the implementations of WebFeat and SFX, respectively. Both the Feds and OLRIT have begun working on their assigned tasks.
The Access Strategy Team is preparing a report that will contain two important components. It will recommend the establishment of a working group to create and maintain a comprehensive and coordinated Library-wide policy on how users can gain access to the materials in our collections. For this purpose, the term “collections” is interpreted in the broadest sense to incorporate materials in all formats regardless of how they are acquired, licensed, digitized, or collected. The second component of the Access Strategy Team’s report will include several recommendations designed to bring about more efficient production and utilization of the cataloging and metadata records that enable users to find the information resources they seek.
In addition, the Digital Content Creation Team (DCCT) was charged with developing a concrete course of action for large scale digitization of library holdings, developing digitization policies, and assisting library faculty in developing proposals, securing funding, and undertaking digitization work. To date, DCCT has developed criteria for selecting materials for digitization and a guide for metadata implementation. Over the next year, DCCT will undertake selected digitization projects, lead training sessions, and assist faculty in developing new services based on digitized content. DCCT will issue a report recommending future digitization programs and strategies.
These new initiatives are indicative of the sorts of changes we must make if we are to remain a vital and viable organization. We offer other recommendations below.
BITF has identified a number of potential changes that will improve access to collection content and other services. It offers these recommendations both for immediate change and for issues that require further examination.
The Collection Development Committee continues to examine the importance of continued reallocation and the methods used to achieve it. We encourage the CDC to continue its work.
BITF recommends that:
Building on models used by several divisions, faculty members should continue to think about Library collections as a whole across the library, rather than as specialized unit-based collections.
Models of internal collaborations that support interdisciplinary research (e.g., Medieval Studies) should be extended by the Associate University Librarian for Collections to other areas of interdisciplinary study that arise throughout the University.
The AUL for Collections, with advice from the CDC, should identify a collection of titles essential to the campus’ teaching and research mission, thus ensuring continuing access to the most important resources for our users.
The fund structure that supports our collections reflects an earlier model and discourages movement across disciplines and among formats of materials. The fund structure should be fully assessed and re-tooled as necessary to support the inter-disciplinary and collaborative collection development that is so critical.
The role of special collections (many of which are located outside of the Special Collections Division libraries) as an integral part of the Library’s mission should be articulated by the University Librarian and the Associate University Librarian for Collections in consultation with the Special Collections Division.
The nascent Institutional Repository is very important to the future of the Library and the University. It will enable us to provide persistent access to the digital scholarship of UIUC faculty and students by preserving digitally produced materials such as working papers, pre-prints, post-prints, presentations, and learning objects. A white paper co-authored by Beth Sandore, Bill Mischo, and Michael Grady of CITES and released in April 2004 provides detailed information on UIUC’s plans. http://www.library.uiuc.edu/administration/it/reports/IDSWhitePaper.pdf . Although the full potential of the institutional repository has yet to be generally realized in the academic environment, it is clear that collecting, preserving, and providing access to the University’s digital scholarship is a critical responsibility. The institutional repository also provides opportunities for developing significantly improved models for scholarly communication. BITF recommends that:
The University Librarian and the Associate University Librarian for Information Technology Planning and Policy encourage Library faculty to become involved in the repository’s development. It will be incumbent on the soon-to-be-named coordinator, as well as on the AUL for IT Planning and Policy, to ensure that such opportunities are offered regularly to all interested faculty and staff.
Regular communication about the repository, even during its ‘quiet phases’, is imperative to its success. Library faculty and staff should receive regular updates from the IR coordinator and the AUL for IT Planning and Policy. The University community should also receive regular, but less frequent, communications.
Allocation of the collection budget has been the subject of intense study and scrutiny for years. Competitive pressures continue to run high among selectors, some of whom do not seem to value disciplines outside of their own areas of responsibility. These anxieties are derived from perceptions of imbalances in allocations as well as on misperceptions and misunderstandings about what types of materials are important for users within specific disciplines and about whether and how the value of collection contents should be measured.
The BITF is concerned about tensions among selectors. It recommends that:
On a campus with an increasingly global perspective, our subject experts in both international and broad disciplines need to work together to maximize access to the materials needed by our students and faculty. Our international collections, and the allocations that support them, should be more closely intertwined with collection development in general subject areas. UIUC library faculty should be playing key roles in developing new collaborations; UIUC’s leadership role in the ARL’s emerging Global Resources Network and the CIC print archiving project are excellent models.Selectors should work more collaboratively to leverage current resources, both within the Library and with external libraries. State, regional, national, and international collaborations are critically important to ensuring the most effective use of collection resources.
All academic libraries, including UIUC, have long provided support to teaching faculty by offering “reserves” services – access to assigned readings through segregated collections and limited circulation periods. These services are very labor intensive. Over the last few years we have developed methods for digitizing reserve materials such as print articles, class notes, exams, assignments, etc. While the effort is no less labor intensive, electronic reserves afford instant ‘any where, any time’ access for students and faculty, thus reducing demands for extended hours in the departmental libraries while improving services for users.
It is likely that demand for reserve services, electronic and print, will diminish (but not disappear) as faculty post readings and links to readings themselves. However, the largest number of items on reserve are monographs (seminal works, some A/V material, etc.). These items are placed on reserve as printed works to ensure availability for course work or, for high-demand items, at the discretion of the librarian. These items do not lend themselves to digitization due to size and copyright restrictions. Monographic reserve collections will likely continue on as an essential service offered in the departmental libraries due to their proximity to the students and the classes being taught. For smaller units in the Main Library, consideration should be given to consolidating print reserves in the Undergraduate Library. This would provide more access to these heavily used materials since the Undergraduate Library is open extended hours. For this reason, many professors are already placing all their course reserves in Undergrad. Digitization of these print reserves should be explored, especially where students are not assigned an entire book, but certain chapters.
BITF recommends that:
The Library continues to centralize electronic reserves services in the Undergraduate Library, which should continue to receive support from CAMELS.
The Library continues to centralize print reserves in the Undergraduate Library, particularly for smaller units in the Main Library.
The Library charge a small group, with representatives from the Undergraduate Library, Information Literacy, IRRC, Grainger, and other appropriate units to develop a plan to create a set of more robust classroom support services.
Technology has dramatically changed how both library users and librarians make use of reference services. The introduction and increasing popularity of interactive reference services and our expectations that librarians with expertise in a wide variety of disciplines will be increasingly in demand for their help lead us to observe that reference services in the future will differ organizationally and structurally from today’s model.
The BITF recommends that:
A task force be appointed to examine the mission, role, presence, the impact of new technology applications, and collection policies of central reference and undergraduate services. The Task Force also should examine the relationship of these units to reference services offered throughout the Libraries, and deliver to the University Librarian a set of recommendations to determine how they can best support the majority of our Library users and the librarians who serve them.
3. Technical Services
Two decades ago the Library decentralized most of its technical services operations. Although many aspects of service were improved, the acquisition and processing of materials became backlogged. Thanks to some reconfigurations and the hard work of many people, many of those backlogs have been eliminated or reduced recently. Similarly, processes related to acquiring and maintaining electronic resources – a growing need – were recently integrated with central technical services. Although the special needs of some units still require the distributed technical services, we believe that there are additional opportunities to realize efficiencies.
BITF recommends that:
Under the leadership of the AUL for Services, the Library examine opportunities, in addition to those that will be recommended by the Access Strategy Team, to consolidate and centralize technical services activities that are now carried out in various units across the Library.
The Library charge a small group, with representatives from technical services and public services units, to examine the desirability and feasibility of moving from Dewey to LC classification and to identify ways in which we can improve the speed of cataloging and classification.
In looking at the tasks undertaken by staff in departmental libraries, BITF members are struck by the large amount of effort duplicated by those staff and staff in technical services units. BITF thinks that service can be enhanced by improving quality controls in technical services, relying on Voyager to produce lists of new books and to keep required statistical records, and by redirecting staff to improve current services and develop and offer new ones.
BITF recommends that:
4. Electronic Resources
BITF recognizes the need to continue to invest in the processes that support access to electronic resources.
Two major steps have already been taken through the acquisition of a link resolver and federated search engine software. Continuing efforts need to focus on integrating and improving interoperability of our electronic resources. Four areas to emphasize:
Availability of resources
Accessibility to content
Dependability of infrastructure
Results from the recent Graduate and Professional Student Survey indicated the importance of the Library Gateway. It recommends that:
IT provide firm guidelines and support for more consistency among Library web pages. BITF endorses that recommendation and adds another:
It is pleased that the Gateway has been redesigned and it encourages Systems to keep the Gateway updated and refreshed.
Library faculty and staff should be encouraged to continue to conduct research on mechanisms for improving user search assistance and navigation in what is an increasingly distributed information resources environment. While these issues will be addressed by the Feds and OLRIT teams, we need to continue to encourage a general atmosphere that supports work on innovative user services.
BITF is concerned about the lag in development of digital library concepts and applications across the whole of the Library. Although the Digital Content Creation Team, in conjunction with the Access Strategy Team, will provide plans for base-line services and processes, it urges:
The new head of the Digital Services and Development unit to develop aggressive outreach plans to implement new digitally-based support services.
IT, Systems, and DSD should support new communications tools to reach out to the Library’s users, and in turn to provide users with better ways to communicate with the Library.
Building facilities to support the common needs of students and researchers must be an important feature of the Library’s future. Information commons have been well developed in other institutions, and BITF is pleased to see that discussions between the Library and CITES are focusing on developing an information commons in the Undergraduate Library, designed to meet the needs primarily of undergraduate students. Faculty and graduate students have different needs for research support, many of which could be met through development of a research commons.
BITF recommends that:
The AULs for Services and IT convene a group to develop a plan to be submitted to the University Librarian by June 30, 2005.
The Senate Committee on the Library shares the concerns of the University Librarian and the Provost about the need to better inform and engage the faculty in issues of scholarly communication. SCL has recommended development of a web site. BITF agrees, but thinks that this is not sufficient. The investment that the faculty have in the system of scholarly communication makes this a very complex issue.
It recommends both the allocation of resources to develop and maintain the web site and the reallocation of a portion of a Library Faculty member’s time to work on these issues. The work will include, but not be limited to, focused discussions with department heads and others who are influential in the promotion and tenure process; discussions with faculty who are editors of scholarly journals or engaged in the operation or governance of scholarly societies; organization of lectures, workshops, other mechanisms to engage faculty and graduate students and, together with the group developing the institutional repository, provide outreach to campus faculty about the repository’s role and importance to their work.
CAMELS has proven to be effective in providing assistance for cyclically predictable operations. Although it has also been effective in providing emergency short-term coverage for public service units, the team’s small membership limits its ability to perform both functions well.
The creation of additional interdepartmental staff teams. It recognizes the need for a team that will provide emergency short-term coverage to public service units as well as leadership in carrying out call-slip activities in the Main Library.
That the AUL for Services develop a team to retrieve materials from departmental libraries when they are closed. BITF recommends that the competencies required for the teams’ success be developed by March 1, 2005 and that a call for volunteers be issued.
D. Staff Development
Providing staff opportunities to learn, grow, and promote are fundamentally important to the Library’s continuing success.
BITF recommends that:
A full-time training coordinator who will lead a small group, with representatives from HR, and public and technical services units, to articulate the core competencies staff need to be successful and to develop a plan to provide more robust training opportunities, delivered by both the Library and other organizations.
E. Unit Models
1. New models
Over the last few years the Library has used a growing number of models to improve services while using its resources more effectively. These include the Biotechnology Librarian, the Global Resources Librarian, and the changed ways in which the Physics and Astronomy Library and the Labor and Industrial Relations Library are being managed. We think it is essential to continue to test new models of service delivery.
The Budget Group’s FY05 operational plan recommended radical consolidations within the Main Library building and the Undergraduate Library. BITF endorses those concepts and, recognizing that organizational and structural changes in the University will continue to impact how the Library is organized optimally, makes these recommendations as the first steps in achieving them:
Redefine the Women and Gender Resources Library as a physical library. Use of that space by faculty and students is nearly nil. Configure the position using the Biotechnology Librarian model, finding spaces in the locations of the major programs now supported by that library in which the WAGR Librarian will offer services to faculty and students and integrating the collections into other existing collections. Maintain the WAGR website. Reassign the LTA to Media and Electronic Reserves in the Undergraduate Library. Use the current space as a conference room/instruction site and maintain the current office for the WAGR librarian. aa. Under the leadership of the AUL for Services, consider this and other models for improving services in all libraries, in and outside of the Main Library building.
Consolidate the History and Philosophy Library and the Newspaper Library in 246 Library.
In light of the ongoing migration of the US GPO to electronic publication and distribution, the AUL for Services should convene a group to examine the implications of these changes on user access to information resources and the overall quality of user service provided by the Library, as well as an internal operations and staffing requirements.
Continue to track changes in the University’s structure and consider different Library structures and models to best serve the changing needs that will ensue.
Develop a team to retrieve materials from departmental libraries when they are closed.
Working with the architect chosen for the Main Library feasibility study, develop the concept of significant reductions in service points in the building to reduce confusion and improve service.
F. Financial Considerations
BITF’s recommendations focus on improving service to users, providing better opportunities for staff development and deployment, and strategically positioning the Library for continuing success. BITF thinks that adding up the financial savings that might accrue from implementing its recommendations, and calculating the cost of reallocating funds to critical activities it has also recommended, is not the most appropriate way to evaluate the success of its proposed plans. Assessment of the plans’ effectiveness will come through methods and techniques developed through the Library’s participation in ARL’s assessment program in 2005.
BITF also recognizes that the funds provided by the University will not be sufficient to enable the Library to make all of these visions realities. Thus, it also recommends:
The investment of additional personnel engaged in activities that will increase the availability of financial resources; these include development and public affairs, ongoing and new revenue generating activities.
Continued discussions with University administrators about new sources of funds.
BITF’s recommendations are designed to move the Library into a transformative period that emphasizes new and flexible approaches that enable us to continue to deliver excellent resources and services to our academic community in the changing environment in which we operate.
The BITF is committed to leveraging and building on the many strengths of the UIUC departmental libraries model. It is expected that its recommendations will provide better support for academic librarianship at UIUC by enhancing the environment for Library faculty research, providing increased resources for improving collection strengths, and encouraging the development of innovative user services.
As the Library continues to explore the ideas and recommendations offered in this document, we must continue to look to the future’s opportunities, remaining open and eager to explore additional ideas to make our vision a reality.