Minutes -- March 3, 2009

International and Area Studies New Service Model Team Minutes, March 3, 2009

Present: Barbara Ford, Lynne Rudasill, Paula Carns, Andrew Orta, Merle Bowen, Al Kagan, Susan Schnuer, Jan Adamczyk, Marek Sroka, Shuyong Jiang, Scott Walter

Individual units and names

Barbara wanted to revisit the first point recorded in a previous set of minutes that "the names of the individual libraries should remain, and there should be a distinct librarian dedicated to each of the component parts." Al (and others) also raised the issue of whether the proposed new model would be better served by having one, collective, reference section, or a number of discrete ones. The question here seems to be which model would best serve our patrons. It was noted that, in Slavic as currently constituted, reference collections are divided; in European Union Studies they are not. In the Asian Library, the CJK collections are together; but other parts of the reference collection are separate from each other. Merle reminded the group of the need always to keep Title VI issues in mind; to this end she was strongly in favor of having discrete collections, with their own identities (a word that raised some discussion) within the new unit.

Andrew noted that the important issues were, perhaps, to be mindful of patron needs on the one hand, and also to be forward looking, which may or may not sit well with Title VI requirements. Are we seeking to connect things, or merge them? If we can't answer this question, we may have trouble moving forward. The question re-surfaced, either explicitly or implicitly, at other points during the meeting.

Vision

The group then moved to a discussion of whether the new unit should have one unit head, not least because having a single unit head might lead to operational efficiencies. Our vision also needs to take account of the balance between virtual and non-virtual presences for the unit. A strong "virtual" presence is essential for - for example - patrons requiring service outside normal library operational hours.

Following further discussion, the team voted on two motions, as follows:

  1. "The new International and Area Studies Unit will have one unit head, with each special area of the Unit retaining its own subject specialist."
    • Vote: 9 in favour, 1 abstention. CARRIED.
  2. "The distinct identity and historical continuities of the constituent parts of the International and Area Studies Unit will be explicitly preserved within that Unit."
    • Vote: 5 in favour, 2 against. 3 abstentions. CARRIED.

With the end of our meeting time approaching, Barbara asked those who had already contributed documentation to the group's meetings to re-visit these, work on them, and send them to her as soon as possible. The group did not have time to discuss a suggestion from Beth Sandore (also on the meeting agenda) that ABSEES might also be considered for inclusion in the new model.

Next meeting: Tuesday March 10, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

John Wagstaff
March 5, 2009