Minutes -- March 10, 2009

Area and International Studies New Service Model (NSM) Team, March 10, 2008, 11-12:45

Present:  Barbara Ford, Chair, Jan Adamczyk, Merle Bowen, Paula Carns, Joann Jacoby* Shuyong Jiang. Al Kagan, Andrew Orta, Susan Schnuer, Marek Sroka, John Wagstaff , Scott Walter

*JoAnn Jacoby (coordinator of New Service Model programs) sat in for the initial part of the meeting (approximately 30 min.) in place of Scott Walter.

The proceedings:

The Chair distributed the proposed agenda for the meeting.

There was a brief discussion of wording of line 6 in the minutes of the previous meeting.  An agreement was reached that "European Studies" will be replaced by "European Union Studies."  With that the minutes were accepted as ready to post.

There was a brief discussion of the name used for the unit headed by Al Kagan and it was noted that the website displaying the charge for the committee contains an inconsistency, since it uses alternatively terms "Africana Library" and "Africana Reading Room".  JoAnn Jacoby offered to follow up on this matter.

After a brief exchange of views it was decided to open the meeting by crafting a vision statement.  The Chair introduced an initial draft which was amended and expanded during the discussion that followed.  The following vision statement was developed:

Mission: International and Area Studies

The mission of the International and Area Studies unit is to facilitate the pursuit of knowledge through user-focused services and collections, and to support the international strategies and programs of the University of Illinois.

Vision

The vision of the unit is to be University's gateway to the world of information and scholarship about international and area studies.  The gateway will connect the knowledge that is crucial to developing global competencies through the study of global concerns and transnational issues as well as the study of distinct nations and regions.
We envision this new service point as one that builds upon and develops the excellence of each of the component units, while enhancing opportunities for collaboration and coordination among the Library's area and international studies units, and providing a single physical service point and web presence for library users whose needs may draw upon various library collections and the distinct expertise of area and international studies librarians.
The success of the unit will depend upon a continuing commitment to strong collections and specialized staff.

Characteristics of the International and Area Studies unit

  • Focus on outreach activities, including a liaison librarian for each of the University's international programs
  • A designated subject expert for each component of the new unit
  • Strong instructional programs that support global competencies and research in international and area studies
  • Collections that meet the needs of faculty, scholars, and students
  • Use of technology to support and maintain a strong virtual library and to provide access to unique language-related software

Then the discussion moved to the letter addressed to Paula Kaufman by the Title VI Center Directors.  Al Kagan stated his support for the letter.  This was followed by a discussion of the letter's contents and whether the committee's work performed so far has not addressed adequately the needs of Title VI centers expectations.

Further, the importance of the following issues to the new unit was discussed:
--maintaining strength both of collections and services
--the need for the new unit's commitment to visibility (expressed among others via a strong virtual presence)
--the need for a strong outreach component and liaison initiatives directed at a broadly defined campus community
--the need to provide instructional services

Then the discussion turned to the subject of maintaining identity ('branding') of the units considered for merger into the new international and area studies library. However, it was raised that the discussion should be about the identity of the new unit, not the identity of each component of the new unit.  Critical elements for the new unit include outreach activities, subject specialists, collection, and instruction.

 The discussion continued around the arrangement of the reference collection of the proposed unit (i.e. whether the collection should be split by geographic area/country, or whether it should be arranged in one call number sequence).  Regarding the arrangement of the collection the following issues (among others) were raised:

--Ensuring the collection fits a broad approach envisioned for the unit
--The importance of planning the composition and distribution of the collections in a tiered fashion, i.e. having the most crucial materials on hand while keeping in mind the possibility of the larger reference collection which may be established in room 200, as well as the Retrospective Collection planned for deck 5 of the Main Stacks
--The necessity of creating aids for navigating the reference collection


Following that a following recommendation was proposed and passed:

There should be a visible physical space for core reference collections for each of the University of Illinois International Programs and Studies units.  (Vote 10 in favor, 1 abstention).

The issue the housing and display of current periodicals of each of the individual libraries was raised, but it was deemed to be mostly an implementation issue, contingent on space allocated to the new unit.  

Then the committee moved to respond to the questions posed by Scott Walter.

Answers to Scott Walter's March 4th Questions

  • does the group envision the "Linguistics" aspect of ML&L being part of the new service program?
    • Theoretical linguistics should be part of ESSL and linguistics which is part of language studies and dictionaries should be included in the new unit.
  • does the group have any vision for the integration of aligned service programs whose primary home will remain in other units, e.g., International Documents, EU Documents?
    • We do not recommend integration at this time but recommend strong liaison and cooperative relations
  • what is meant by use of the phrase "special area of the unit," i.e., are you referring to a program area that should continue to retain the services of an identified subject specialist, or are you referring to a physical space that is designated within the IAL as being focused on individual program areas (Africana, Slavic, etc.)?
    • "Special area of the unit" is each of the University of Illinois International Programs and Studies units (program area).
  • Are European Union Studies currently supported solely in an "embedded" mode similar to Global Studies, or is there a physical unit (e.g., ESSL) that should be alerted to this proposal before it becomes part of the open discussion? 
    • Work is shared between the law library and ESSL
  • How does this plan for the future of International and Area Studies public service align with the recommendations already accepted and under way in terms of consolidating and coordinating technical services programs in the current Area Studies units? 
    • One of our initial assumptions was that the technical services recommendations would be implemented.
  • How do the recommendations regarding staffing for the new unit reflect both the changes related to technical services and the opportunity to identify potential re-allocations of staff positions? Surely, there are economies of scale to be found in a single unit coming together from multiple current units. While we share your commitment to subject specialists to provide professional expertise related to the use of international materials, as well as your commitment to sustaining the Slavic Reference Service as a highlight of the IAS program, we assume that there are opportunities to achieve savings in areas such as student wage budgets and staff positions (that may be re-deployed to other critical Library needs, in whole or in part). 
    • We do not feel able to answer this question at this point.  The current levels of staffing do not reflect the needs, i.e. lack of Latin American and Caribbean, European, and Korean specialists. Unit heads and others will need to be consulted before this question can be answered.
  • Does the team have any suggestions for timeline or staging? Can this move be staged in any way, or is the sense of the group that the entire move must be completed at once? I can imagine, for example, a relatively painless "closure" of LACL in May, and the transfer of the locus for LAC support to Modern Languages until the new space is ready for the new unit (esp. as there is no collection to move). Staging will definitely be part of the Action Plan, so we urge you to give some thought to this question.
    • When the administration decides on the space that will be available and appoints a unit head this can move forward.

Regarding others specifics in your recommendations, we offer the following:

  • Regarding the proposal to incorporate the Modern Languages & Linguistics Library into the new unit, we note that there is an overarching direction toward looking anew at the stewardship of special collections across the Library, and there is an opportunity here to bring Kolb-Proust together with like special collections units as part of this new service model.  
    • We agree that Kolb-Proust should be part of special collections and understand the conversation has already begun.
  • Regarding the proposal to locate the IAL on the 2nd floor, we note that the space currently occupied by Library Advancement cannot be moved until suitable alternative space is found on either the 1st or 2nd floor of the Library. It is imperative that we maintain an appropriate and accessible space for this critical Library function. This may require us to "phase into" the full vision for the new unit and its programs. 
  • Regarding the description of service programs and needs, we note that the Main Library already houses a brand-new instructional facility in 314 Library. It is highly unlikely that we would look to re-invent that resource in a unit within the Main Library. In general, it would be helpful to see how IAL programs would integrate or take advantage of centrally-supported resources, as opposed to focusing on supporting all service program needs within the boundaries of the new unit. 
  • In regard to the question of "vision" noted above, we would again challenge the group to articulate a bold vision for the future of Library services related to international and area studies materials and programs that sets a new course for the future, rather than being limited to articulating how the current service programs might move into new physical (and virtual) spaces. How would this nexus of expertise in the use of international materials complement subject expertise in other units that also support the study of the world outside U.S. borders, and how would it complement broader Library service programs that demonstrate the Illinois commitment to global competence and international engagement, e.g., the Mortenson Center, outreach programs aimed at international students?

Recommend cooperation, collaboration, and liaison with all library units that have international components.  For example, the Mortenson Center might continue as the library's liaison to International Engagement and Protocol, a role they currently fill, and work closely with the new unit on these activities.

This part of the discussion was followed by a series of recommendations which were proposed and adopted:

  • There should be a liaison from the new International and Area Studies unit to each of the University of Illinois International Program and Studies units.  (9 in favor)  
  • We recommend that the unit cooperate, collaborate, and liaison with all library units that have international components. (9 in favor)
  • We recommend that ABSEES not be included in the International and Area Studies Unit (9 in favor)
  • We recommend that when a unit head has been selected for the implementation consultants may be needed to facilitate the process.  (9 in favor)
  • We recommend that another, smaller group including some members from the original team should now take on the implementation of the group's proposal.  (9 in favor)  

Further, Lynne Rudasill's letter was briefly discussed.

The meeting was adjourned with the understanding that any further discussion this week will be conducted via email.