Area and International Studies New Service Model (NSM) Team
February 27, 2009
Present: Barbara Ford, Jan Admczyk, Merle Bowen, Paula Carns, Shuyong Jiang,
Al Kagan, Andrew Orta, Lynne Rudasill, Susan Schnuer, Marek Sroka, John Wagstaff
Absent: Scott Walter
Barbara is looking for volunteers to write drafts of the
decisions that have been made. She indicated that we have thus far decided upon the units
that should initially be included and units that might be considered. There was mention of
possible relationships with main reference and interlibrary loan.
Topics for discussion and decision today include:
- physical location for the new services
- vision for the unit
- services that should be provided
- benefits of moving the units closer together
- any financial savings that might be realized
- what we need to make this all happen.
In conversation with Jeff Shrader, Barbara learned that University Planning has a general
recommendation of 150 square feet per FTE. Using the figures Al Kagan provided, the proposed
unit would fit in either space.
There was some discussion regarding moving items on which there was no consensus to
administration for decision-making. We are primarily an advisory team. Scott needs to
give a preliminary report to the Provost next week.
Discussion began with a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the two sites in
question - Room 315 and Room 325 or Room 200/200D, Room 225, and, possibly, Room 227. Al
Kagan is also taking notes on this discussion in order to prepare a draft section for the report.
Plusses for using Rooms 315 and 325 are:
The following points are from Al Kagan's message to the team:
- The Asian Library should not be divorced from its stacks. Convenient access to their
stacks promotes efficiency in both public and technical services, and promotes user
satisfaction. Since many of the Asian faculty and staff do both public and technical
services, it seems very unlikely that most technical services people will be physically centralized
any time soon.
- On our tour, Mary Mallory said that sound carries in their office and that they will be happy
to move and get a more private space. She seemed surprised that we might want to
contend with the noise problem.
- The current Asian Reading Room is very nice and might be configured to include materials form
all the units involved. (Further discussion about this item seemed to indicate that the
collections that would be coming to the central services space might not fit here.)
- The English Library space has several nice faculty offices that would be very useful for the
new service model.
- Comparing spaces, the current Asian and English libraries together are bigger than the Slavic
space and Advancement office together without part of the current Reference Room/current Documents
Library. It is unclear how much space we would get in the Reference Room. It would take
800 square feet to equal the third floor space.
- We should not make decisions based on what is more convenient in the short-term. Just
because there will soon be space in Slavic is not a good reason to move there. Waiting a few more
months should not be a major consideration.
- I think we need to realistic about our expectations for the new service model. The previous
marriage of Africana and Afro-Americana promoted service to undergraduates. Over the years,
the majority of undergraduates who used our library came in primarily for Afro- American
studies, although many used both collections. (On the African side, their concerns often related to
identity issues concerning Africa.) Service to undergraduates in the other area studies libraries
has been hampered by the lack budgets for collecting titles in English. Furthermore, we
have an Undergraduate Library where undergraduates normally congregate, and where we
intentionally funnel them. Undergraduates are of course doing more of their work
online. They would benefit from consultations with librarians, but they either often
get this in the Undergraduate Library or they think that Google will solve all their needs. Sorry
to say, I do not think we will be see a huge increase in traffic at our new service point. I
do not think that a more obvious location will overcome the obstacles above in bringing a lot
more traffic to the new service model reference desk. All other things equal, I opt for
the most comfortable space for our operations which is the third floor space.
Briefly, additional positive arguments for the third floor rooms include:
- closer proximity to Asian technical services and stacks - even if the spaces could be defined
in Room 325 strictly identifying technical service and public service areas
- quiet environment
- the Asian reading room (although Shyyong indicated it was rather small)
- rooms are in good shape in 315 with only the current periodicals room needing some work
- even if the private rooms are not used as offices they are very nice to have
- fewer people to move
Other discussion revolved around the comparative space that might be available. It is
difficult to compare the two spaces without information on how much of Room 200/200D would be
available. The only thing we know about Room 200 at this point is that it is "for users."
It was also reiterated that we should not be making decisions just based on short-term
conditions. We also need to be realistic about foot traffic, especially undergraduates.
Discussion ensued concerning undergraduate use of the proposed area. It is assumed that
undergrads gravitate to the Undergraduate Library and also do a great deal of their work
online. The use of the proposed unit by undergraduates and others would depend in large
degree on the opportunities to bring them into the area with instruction sessions. The other
library in the building that draws a large number of undergraduates is the Education and Social
Science Library. It was also pointed out that the Main Reading Room has consistently been used by
more people since the comfortable furniture was added. It has become a more inviting space.
Negatives for the third floor include:
- accessibility for disabled users - only one elevator currently is available to the public for
the 3rd floor
- more difficult to find - related to the above
- the English Library is still there
- the separate rooms are a limitation - preset walls
- less visible to the average user
- inability to make this one big space since the hallway cannot be blocked - the service point
would probably remain split
We once again discussed the reasons for the changes being proposed which include making
collections available to our users for longer hours and the desire to move administrative offices
up to the fourth floor. The Latin American and Caribbean area has already undergone physical
Plusses for Room 200/200D, Room 225, and Room 227 (if available) are:
- adjacency to Room 200 - a "jewel" and considered our best space in the building where the
"international" belongs according to our strategic plan and vision
- possibility of having one service point for our users
- proximity to HPNL, Central Reference, and Main Stacks (for most)
- possibility of a separate space for staff
- possibly able to accommodate a larger combined reference collection
- already has classroom space with a plasma screen (it was noted that this would bring the public
into the "private" area of staff)
Negatives for the 2nd floor would be:
- more noise
- less private space for librarians to work
- Asian loses access to its stacks
- have to be careful with Slavic Reference Service staff to make sure the Title VIII employees
are not perceived as doing general reference
- has two entrances (although there were some suggestions regarding this including making the
entrance from the hallway for staff only or reconfiguring the room to make that area part of a
Discussion ensued as to what the day-to-day life of librarians and staff in the area would
require in this area. The librarian would probably move to a public area to talk with users,
and many of them move around a great deal between working with staff, doing liaison, and working
with collections. Some quiet reading space and rooms that the librarians and staff could step
into would be necessary. In addition one would need communal spaces for meetings (unit
meetings, meetings of library committees, etc.). It will be necessary to communicate with our
users regarding where and when they can get their questions answered. It was emphasized that
the third floor provides better possibilities for instructional space in a public area, although if
the Advancement Office is included in the plan instruction and meetings might be held there.
Care needs to be taken, if indeed remodeling of spaces is possible, that we are clear about
the physical needs for this service point and our thinking is not limited by the current
layout. Space can be configured in different ways.
Ultimately, any new arrangement will be better for some folks and not for others. But,
wherever we move we would have liaison librarians closer together with the opportunity for better
We briefly returned to the discussion of the units included in this new service model.
Barbara reminded us that we are simply sending our recommendations forward and that the final
decision will be made by the administration.
The question of where this newly proposed service point should be quartered was called with
the following results:
Second Floor - 7 people in favor
Third Floor - 3 people in favor
Abstention - 1
We might still need some space on the third floor for staff in a non-public area.
What happens with someone like the Japanese librarian who does both public service and
technical services work? This might make the use of a third floor staff area necessary.
Is there a way to make it less wordy? The fourth paragraph of the draft that Scott
Walter wrote seems to get to the heart of the vision, with most of the rest serving as background.
Andrew Orta indicated we are still operating within the black box of "international" and we
need to clarify what international means. There also has to be a way of talking about how the
areas in question can be brought together, yet retain their individual styles.
Al Kagan stated we have yet to define the organizational structure. Should we call it a
hub, a cluster or something that could provide for individual identities with the word "library" in
it for Title VI purposes? Other terms including resource centers, reference, division, and
services were discussed as part of the new unit name. There seemed to be some consensus on
the use of International and Area Studies Services as the name of the overarching structure, with
the term library applied to those subunits that include a bibliographer/subject specialist.
The virtual representation of the library will retain the "library" division for each area as
well. Consensus also seemed to be that we could not have a new library with libraries in it.
To reiterate - The names of the individual libraries should remain and there should be a
distinct librarian dedicated to each of the component parts. (Please note vote in minutes
from March 3 meeting for clarification.)
There was further discussion about the concept of a physical library as well as a brief
explanation of the Global Studies arrangement.
Susan Schneur added that it is important to underline that we continue to maintain and
support collection development at the same level. We don't want to lose anything by bringing
things together. There will not be savings in collection development. In addition, we are
concerned about what will happen to current staff members. Consensus was that we need to take
the opportunity to make the case for increased funding and use our report to advocate for it.
We are unsure that there are any economies of scale in collections by bringing them
together. We are aware that much might happen to realign the collections and maybe some of
The following individuals were charged with creating draft statements and getting them to the
rest of the team by Tuesday:
We are recommending that another, smaller group with some continuity in membership from the
original team should now take on implementation of this proposal.
- Lynne Rudasill - units involved
- Andrew Orta and Scott Walter - vision statement revision
- Susan Schnuer and Jan Adamczyk - services provided and what needs to be done to make it
- Barbara Ford and Paula Carns - benefits
- Marek Sroka and Shuyong Jiang - challenges
- Merle Bowen - critical reader
- John Wagstaff - official editor
- Al Kagan - location