Action Plan Update Meeting: Science Libraries

April 3, 2009
8:00 - 9:00 am
Grainger Commons

Meeting Agenda

  • Welcome (5 min)
  • Background (5 min)
  • Review of Major Recommendations for Science Libraries (10 min)
  • Proposed Recommendation for Action Plan (5 min)
  • Feedback on Discussion Questions (20 min)
  • Open Discussion/Q&A (10 min)
  • Next Steps (5 min)

Background

In Fall 2007, the University Library began a campus-wide discussion of the future of Library services that we have called the "New Service Models" program. As part of this program, we have held open meetings with campus colleagues, meetings with academic departments and programs, and individual and small-group meetings with faculty, students, and administrators with an interest in new approaches to the provision of Library services at Illinois. As a result of these discussions, a number of changes have been made to Library programs and facilities, including the closure of the Labor & Industrial Relations Library (Fall 2007), the integration of the City Planning & Landscape Architecture and Afro-Americana libraries into complementary Library units (Summer 2008), and the coming closure of the Library & Information Science Library (Summer 2009). Descriptions of these and other NSM projects are available on the NSM Web site at < http://www.library.uiuc.edu/nsm/>.

In January 2009, Provost Linda B. Katehi reiterated her support for the NSM program in a letter to the Dean of Libraries, but challenged us to undertake more substantive change efforts in light of broader challenges in the information environment and in the economy. She charged the Library to provide an "Action Plan" to her office by the end of the Spring 2009 semester that would allow us "to move more quickly into a new service infrastructure that will allow us to protect our core commitments to library collections and services while also allowing us to make the best possible use of our financial, physical, and human resources."

Over the past several weeks, faculty and staff from the Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSED) and Life Sciences (LSD) divisions of the University Library have met to address the Provost's suggestions related to the integration of current Science Library units into our major facilities in the Grainger Engineering and the Funk Family College of ACES libraries. The work of these groups, along with relevant background documents, can be found at < http://www.library.uiuc.edu/nsm/psed/> and < http://www.library.uiuc.edu/nsm/lsd/>.

Summary of Major Recommendations

The service program of the Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center (GELIC) will expand to include the service programs currently housed in the Geology Library and the Physics and Astronomy Library. The expanded GELIC service program will take advantage of increasing access to digital content in its liaison disciplines as well as the opportunity to serve as a more broadly defined "hub" for Library services designed to support teaching, learning, and research in the physical sciences and engineering disciplines. The expanded GELIC service program will also allow for greater sharing of resources between GELIC and remaining physical science libraries, including the Chemistry Library and the Mathematics Library.

The service program of the Funk Family College of ACES Library (ACES Library) will expand to include components of the service programs currently housed in the Biology Library, and Veterinary Medicine Library. The expanded ACES Library program will take advantage of increasing access to digital content in its liaison disciplines as well as the opportunity to serve as a more broadly defined "hub" for Library services designed to support teaching, learning, and research in traditional and emergent life sciences disciplines and interdisciplinary research programs.

Proposed Recommendations for Action Plan

Close the Geology Library and integrate its service program into the Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center.

Close the Physics and Astronomy Library and integrate its service program into the Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center.

Close the Biology Library and integrate its service program with complementary programs in the Chemistry Library, the ACES Library, and, potentially, the University of Illinois at Chicago's Library of the Health Sciences at Urbana.

Co-locate the AHS Library with a broader array of social and behavioral science disciplines and pursue service program affinities with the University of Illinois at Chicago's Library of the Health Sciences at Urbana.

Establish Library office spaces for Geology, and Physics & Astronomy that may be "embedded" within constituent departments or colleges following the recent examples set in the School of Labor & Employment Relations and the Graduate School of Library & Information Science in order to foster ongoing engagement between Library faculty and liaison faculty, staff, and students.

Discussion Questions

We are interested in feedback on the following questions related to the above recommendation as we prepare the first draft of the Action Plan for the Provost:

  1. The service framework embodied in GELIC will need to be rethought as that unit moves from being one primarily concerned with serving the College of Engineering to being one that oversees and plays a coordinating role in delivering Library services to a broader array of physical sciences. From the user perspective, what elements of the current Grainger service program should be reviewed in order to support teaching, learning and research across a broader arrange of disciplinary fields and interdisciplinary programs?
  2. The service framework embodied in the ACES Library will need to be rethought as that unit moves from being one primarily concerned with serving the College of ACES, the Department of Urban & Regional Planning, and the Department of Landscape Architecture to being one that oversees and plays a coordinating role in delivering Library services to a broader array of life sciences. From the user perspective, what elements of the current ACES service program should be reviewed in order to support teaching, learning and research across a broader arrange of disciplinary fields and interdisciplinary programs? How might this review be informed by the recent integration of Library services related to Urban & Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture?
  3. What Library services related to teaching, learning, and research across the landscape of the sciences - physical sciences, life sciences, e-science - might be supported in these reconfigured physical library service programs in ways that were not possible in the traditional departmental libraries? What Library services bridging the traditional divide between disciplines might be pursued in the digital environment?
  4. It has been suggested that the service programs of the Biology and Applied Health Sciences libraries might be integrated into more than one existing Library unit in reflecting changes to access to information in those fields, as well as changes in campus programs that have occurred since the Biology and Applied Health Sciences units were originally established. What opportunities and challenges are presented by the approach suggested above?

Next Steps

The first draft of the Action Plan will be disseminated for comment by April 10th. Comments related to this meeting, or to the Action Plan, may be directed to Scott Walter, Associate University Librarian for Services and Associate Dean of Libraries <swalter@illinois.edu>. Comments must be received by April 15th to ensure their consideration for the final draft of the Action Plan.