December 10, 2020 Meeting of Area Studies

Time and Location of Meeting

December 10, 2020

Agenda Details


Area Studies Division Meeting

December 10, 2020


Online Zoom Meeting

  1. Sign up for Note Taking
  2. Discussion
    1. David Ward and Sara Holder review the charge and planned work of the UGL/Main Library Integration Working Group. See:
  3. Accolades and Announcements
  4. Approval of the Minutes from November
  5. Antonio Research Presentation
  6. Reports
    1. Kit – CDC


Minutes Details


Area Studies Division Meeting

10 December 2020

10-11 am

Present:  Mara Thacker, Steve Witt, Atoma Batoma, Bob Geraci, Jan Adamczyk, Katie Ebeling, Kit Condill, Shuyong Jiang, Joe Lenkart, Laila Houssein Moustafa – Guests:  David Ward, Sara Holder

  1. Sign up for Note Taking

            Kit agreed to take the minutes for the meeting.

  1. Discussion — David Ward and Sara Holder review the charge and planned work of the UGL/Main Library Integration Working Group (

            David Ward said that this working group is now called MUGLI (Main/UnderGrad Library Integration) and that the process of integrating UGL into the Main Library runs parallel to (and separately from) the Library Building Project, which is currently on hold.

There is a steering group plus four subgroups that have just been formed, with written charges.  Mara, Joe, and Antonio are on various subgroups.  The four subgroups are:

  1. Logistics & Operations (= circulation & collections – subgroup members include Mary Laskowski and Tom Teper)
  2. Instruction
  3. Consultations and Programming
  4. Study Spaces & Other Spaces

The subgroups will complete their reports by April, followed by the steering group’s report in May.  Construction on the special collections vault in the current UGL space will begin in June or July 2022, so UGL must be completely emptied out by approximately April 2022.  Many moves, therefore, must be made in 2021.  Most of them will be to the Main Library building, but other destinations (MPAL, Grainger, etc.) are possible for certain collections and services.  Sara Holder added that the work of the subgroups will be intense due to the short time frame.

Atoma asked about what features of UGL would be ending up where.  David responded that the working group is in contact with virtually every departmental library and library unit regarding possible plans.  To make up for lost instructional space in UGL 291 and elsewhere, for example, ACES 509 is slated to be repurposed.  As another example, the Media Commons/film studio will be moving to the basement of Grainger.

Katie asked about the plans regarding the Mortenson Center, currently housed in UGL.  David said he’s talked to the Dean about it, but that they are still developing plans, since it is not adminstratively part of UGL.

Steve asked about physical collections in UGL that IAS contributes to, specifically the comics and the DVDs/media, wondering where they will be housed.  David deferred to Mara, who said that none of the new physical locations are really set yet, but conversations are happening, including conversations about reassigning UGL collections funds to different fund managers.  David added that the working group subgroups will be deciding what goes where, and that certain collections (graphic novels, gaming collection, etc.) will need to still be browsable.  The graphic novels may go to Communications or LLL, for example, and the gaming collection may go to SSHEL.

Joe asked about the administrative aspects of this project and where UGL staff will be reassigned.  David responded that there are about 20 FTE faculty, staff, and APs in UGL, plus graduate assistants and others, and that they will be reassigned based on the functions they perform and where there is a current need in the rest of the Library for more people performing those functions.  There will also be retraining for UGL civil service staff, but based on their own input, that will not necessarily dictate where those staff will end up.

David added that he, Sara, and the whole working group are taking a very practical and flexible approach given that the timeline is short and UGL must be emptied in time for vault construction to begin.  The focus is on practical steps to maintain services and access that they provide now.

Joe pointed out that the New Service Model changes were supposed to be assessed afterwards, and wondered if MUGLI would be assessed.  More urgently, he also wondered if there was still time to test out and pilot new ideas before moving forward with them irreversibly.  He also stressed that integration of UGL with the Main Library and other library units could happen from many directions.  David responded that they are moving forward piece by piece as things fall into place.  The Media Commons/film studio’s move to the basement of Grainger, for example, is already underway.  He said that “we want to minimize the pain points” and noted that as a library we rarely get major projects like this right on the first try.  It is important to remain flexible.  If there are problems in 2022-2024, for example, there should be an opportunity to fix them in 2024-2025 as Archives, RBML, etc. move out of their current spaces and into the remodeled UGL.

Mara expressed concern about the large physical space that undergraduate students traditionally occupy in UGL – does the Main Library building even have enough space to accommodate them all?  She also asked about outreach to undergrads that currently occurs only through UGL (edutainment, etc.).  She emphasized the need to “roll out the red carpet” for undergrads in the Main Library so that they don’t perceive this process solely as things being taken away from them.  Undergrads have a really close connection to UGL.  Sara responded that the Consultations & Programming subgroup that she and Antonio are heading up will be addressing those issues.

David added that “we are kind of burying the lede here – the look and feel of the Main Library will change significantly because of this.”  There will be no longer be a UGL unit after this is over.  The Main Library is confusing and unwelcoming for undergrads, and MUGLI wants to fix that, not make it worse.  He said that this whole process could also be an opportunity to soft-pilot new Library Building Project initiatives and changes.  MUGLI wants input from everyone, but the subgroups had to be kept small so that they could meet frequently over the next year and a half.  The subgroups will be having open sessions which civil service staff and APs will be especially encouraged to attend.  There are some civil service staff and APs on the subgroups, but input from many more is desired.

IAS is well represented on the subgroups.  For that reason Steve suggested that reports from MUGLI become a regular feature of IAS and ASD meetings, an idea which was supported by others.

  1. Approval of the Minutes from November

            Steve moved to accept the minutes with one small change, Atoma seconded, and the minutes were approved.

  1. Antonio Research Presentation


  1. Reports

            CDC:  Kit encouraged everyone to think about ASD’s response to the anticipated FY23 budget cuts before our special meeting on that topic, which is scheduled for January 21st.  Tom is open to responses from the divisions.  The more well-considered and reasonable our response is, the better chance it has of being accepted.

  1. 6. Accolades and Announcements

Steve said that Lynne Rudasill is interested in a 0% research professor appointment in addition to her emeritus status so that she can continue her research, and asked if ASD would support that application.  Mara responded that the Dean said that Lynne had already requested that appointment via Lucretia, so ASD may not have to do anything further, but that she will check on it and let everyone know what she finds out.

Joe asked everyone to sign up to write posts for the IAS blog, Glocal Notes.  Posts can be short (approximately two paragraphs).  Steve suggested that we write something about the continued accessibility of our collections and services during the pandemic, given the unflattering article that recently appeared in the Daily Illini.  Mara suggested that we promote that blog post to our respective Centers when it is done.  Steve asked everyone to send him a brief note about something we’ve done to maintain and/or enhance access to our collections and services by Monday [later changed to Tuesday] and he will compile everything into a blog post.

Mara and Bob suggested that we reschedule Antonio’s research presentation for January and move Bob’s research presentation to February.