PART III

 SWOT ANALYSIS & A FOCUS ON

INTERNAL CIRSUMSTANCES

 

Overview

 

Strengths

 

  • Well qualified, experienced, motivated, public-service minded staff 
  • Well constructed building
  • Remote access to databases 24x7
  • USM consortia-discounted database purchases and access to all USM books
  • Cooperation with IT
  • Effective librarian/faculty liaison program

 

 

 

 

Weaknesses

 

  • Static funding that places Blackwell next-to-last among its peers in total expenditures and last in expenditures on books
  • Limited opportunity for staff development (in a rapidly accelerated environment of change—an allocation of $2,500 supports 21 staff, inc. 10 librarians) 
  • Insufficient staff (at 61% and 48% of ALA recommended professional & support positions)
  • Insufficient space for staff, collections, and instructional services
  • No storage space and split/stored collections
  • No space for the new roles that libraries/librarians are playing on campuses, e.g., group study spaces
  • No specially designated ADA area
  • Perception that the library is “uninviting”
  • Changing locations for TLN & NABB
  • Out-of-date equipment
  • Un-refurbished furniture
  • Dated, insufficient collections
  • No 5-year plan or comprehensive assessment plan, including systematic evaluation of collections
  • Dated collection development policy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview (continued)

 

 

Opportunities

 

  • NABB Center’s development (grant opportunities)
  • Greater involvement among Blackwell/ TLN/Nabb
  • Local historical societies divesting their collections (Nabb)
  • Library endowment/external funding
  • ExLibris (new online system)
  • Jstor and other archived full-text journal databases to provide archived electronic data, enhance research, and recoup collection space
  • Consortia: discount pricing
  • Technological change
  • Middle States interest in information literacy and librarians’ teaching roles
  • Compact shelving/joint offsite storage
  • Service to Wicomico community residents and area teachers
  • Digitizing original materials
  • Alternative scholarly publishing projects

 

Threats

 

  • Dwindling pool of librarians
  • Annual 10% inflation rate for periodicals
  • Instability of contents in full-text databases
  • Instability of e-media
  • Increasing dependence on e-materials and limited control over pricing structures/cost increases
  • Effect of decreased state funding on access to databases that are now free
  • Consortia: building collections not targeted to needs
  • Middle States interest in information literacy
  • Myth that “everything is on the Internet”
  • Technological change
  • Service to Wicomico community residents and area teachers
  • Staffing expertise required to manage digitizing projects
  • Economic burden of maintaining traditional and supporting alternative scholarly projects
  • Doctoral level programs
  • Negative national press evaluations (Princeton Review-one of the 20 worst libraries among the best 345 schools)
  • Restrictive copyright & licensing agreements & the complexity of managing e-resources
  • Patriot Act

 

 


 

 

Some general information indicates the library’s limitations—travel funding for 21 staff and 10 librarians is $2,500; four staff share an office designed for two; by American Library Association standards the library has 61% of the professional and 48% of support staff recommended; the NABB Center and library lack a professional archivist; not all materials can be displayed on open shelves; items in storage are now at 91% capacity; the instructional room has 15 computers for 35 students and insufficient space for seating; and the physical facility doesn’t easily accommodate features common to most new libraries and their roles on campus: a cafe, group study rooms (some with data projection), computer labs, writing labs, leisure reading rooms, media labs, ADA equipment spaces, space for tutoring activities, etc.

 

            The best picture of the library’s ability to support the University’s academic programs and mission, however, comes from a comparison to its peer institutions (see next page).


 

PEER INSTITUTION COMPARISON

 

 

Institution &

12 month FTE

Libr-arians         (#)

All Staff           (#)

Books/

Micro-forms

      ($)

Serials

   ($)

All

Expenses

$

Vols. Held (#)

Hrs.

Wk.

?s

Wk.

Salisbury Univ. 5,214

12

10

76,664

322,744

1,838,858

249,710

101

560

Humboldt State Univ. 6,869.67

17

22

452,399

475,067

3,440,970

559,893

96

750

Sonoma State Univ. 6,079.67

14.7

19.8

242,091

305,002

4,643,668

571,505

89

1,375

Eastern Illinois Univ. 10,093.33

21.33

44

515,740

467,744

4,159,618

794,469

93

1,907

Univ. of Mass.-Dartmouth

5,723.67

19

24

253,840

738,100

3,561,075

455,323

89

356

Northern Michigan Univ.

6,984.67

14

12

92,740

538,728

2,028,046

755,366

93

340

Univ. of N. Carolina-Wilmington

8,792.33

17

24

415,189

1,106,346

3,309,637

852,937

112

630

SUNY, Oswego

6,899

17.5

20

146,469

323,063

2,060,507

453,390

95

375

SUNY, Plattsburgh

5,436.33

17

13

155,361

539,500

2,047,584

302,416

96

481

Western Oregon Univ. 3,989.67

7

8.13

119,925

176,303

1,127,570

180,588

96

233

Central Washington Univ. 7,509.67

15

29.08

177,228

394,825

3,096,329

537,718

95

482

SU’s RANK

10th

9th

11th

9th

10th

10th

2nd

5th

Source: National Center for Education, 2000 data http://www.nces.ed.gov/surveys/libraries/academicpeer/


 

 

Summary

 

            Among its ten peers, Salisbury ranks last in the amount of money it spends on books and next to last in the size of its book collections. The connection is obvious.  Although circulation data are not in the table above, it’s not too surprising that Salisbury ranks 11th among its peers in the number of books circulated given the size of and support for these collections.  It also ranks next to last in total library expenditures and in the number of librarians and professional staff.  It ranks 9 out of 11 in the overall number of staff and the amount spent on serials collections.  In all of these categories, however, it is in the lower quadrant of all its peers.  Conversely, when it comes to the number of weekly service hours and number of reference questions answered in a week, its rankings are 2nd and 5th.

 

 

Conclusion

 

            The staffing, budgetary, and building constraints impair the library’s ability to re-tool efficiently, to take advantage of leadership or model program grant opportunities, or even to provide a strong level of support for existing academic programs. Decreasing state dollars, which will undoubtedly result in the loss of free access to now state-supported databases, will erode collections further.

 

            Clearly, there’s a need to raise funds targeted strategically to basic needs, but also to projects that will make the library more competitive and more aligned with the institution’s growing national reputation.  Otherwise, the library will tarnish rather than support the institution’s reputation.