Minutes -- January 15, 2009

Area and International Studies New Service Model (NSM) Team

January 15, 2009, 3:00-4:30

Present:  Barbara Ford, Chair, Jan Adamczyk (minutes), Merle Bowen, Paula Carns, Shuyong Jiang. Al Kagan, Andrew Orta, Susan Schnuer, John Wagstaff and Scott Walter.

Guests: William Brustein, Associate Provost for International Studies,
Wolfgang  Schloer, Associate Director, International Programs and Studies

I.. Introductions of the guests and committee members.

II.  Barbara Ford briefly summarized comments from Paula Kaufman from the recent open meeting on budget issues, where the University Librarian stressed the need for changes in the structural makeup of the library.

III   Provost Brustein delivered a presentation based on his over 20 years experience with Title VI issues at three major universities and work with the Washington legislature.  He opened his remarks by stressing the importance of the University Library, recognized as one of the three cultural treasures of the State of Illinois.
He identified three main areas which make a university competitive in the process of applying for a title VI grant:

  • Campus faculty expertise in the given area of the world
  • The depth and breadth of language coverage, i.e. offering not only the standard language of the area, but also the less commonly taught languages (e.g. in the case of Latin America teaching not just Spanish and Portuguese, but also Quechua, Aymara, etc.). Course offerings should allow students to reach a high level of proficiency in the languages taught.
  • Strength of the library, defined as a combination of the strength of the collection (regardless of its physical distribution) and the quality of staff resources. It is vital that the collection have a strong component of materials in the primary languages and the library staff have a demonstrated ability to work with such materials so as to assist students and faculty in navigating the collection.

Further, Provost Brustein described the Title VI evaluation process and the various factors affecting it, such as different approaches program officers take while selecting  evaluators,  and the importance of  the officers' view of what constitutes a modern library.  He underscored the need for the library community to work closely with program officers, so as to make them aware of the changes in library development trends and patrons' needs.  The Provost stressed the importance of careful wording in writing of the grant proposal to boost its chances of success.  He also commented on the Department of Education shifting emphasis towards meeting global challenges and the importance of area studies enters in shaping understanding global phenomena from a regional level. Finally, he commented on the importance of securing Title VI grants, since that often leads to acquisition of other funding sources, such as private donations.
IV.  The committee members then posed a number of questions to the guest speaker and discussed a number of concerns such as:

  • Whether a change in configuration or naming of a particular library unit would make a difference (such as a Library vs. a Reading Room) in how a grant application is received
  • Whether a change in library structure may lead to the perceived loss of identity and be viewed by Title VI officers as lack of institutional commitment
  • Whether maintaining physical separateness of libraries is vital to retaining the grant (examples from other institutions competing for title VI grants were brought in)
  • What would be the ways of preserving the identity of various library units merged in accordance with the NSM
  • Whether the model of the EU Center on campus, which does not have a designated library or a librarian, but does have a title VI grant, would translate into other units combined into a larger entity
  • What are the benefits and pitfalls of stressing partnerships with other libraries and centers around the country when writing a Title VI grant proposal

Other issues brought up in the meeting were:

  • How to serve the needs of the undergraduate population, giving them a chance to increase their global perspective and attract them through greater visibility of the international unit
  • How to utilize the potential of language specialists currently not associated with Area Studies libraries, allowing them to contribute to the international component of the NSM
  • The need to become more selective in acquiring materials for the collections due to inflationary pressures, funding cuts and changing campus needs (the recent SEEL collection assessment was mentioned as an example of a potential valuable tool)

The regular meeting time of the team has been set for Tuesday at 11 in room 428.

Scott Walter distributed statistics for gate, directional, reference and digital reference count for FY 05 - FY 08.

Barbara Ford distributed a recent job description advertisement for the Head of Research and Collections for International Area Studies, UC Berkeley. 

As an assignment for next meeting The Chair asked the members to start developing a vision for the new international service point.