PART I

 

ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN:

EXTERNAL EVENTS INFLUENCING FUTURE DIRECTIONS OF LIBRARIES

AND RESEARCH

 

 

                                    The only reasonable paradigm for librarianship involves constant change and

                                    continuing redefinition.” Crawford, Walt and Michael Gorman, Future

Libraries:Dreams, Madness & Reality (Chicago: American Library Association,

1995):116.

 

 

·                    Persistent annual 10% journal inflation rates

Library Journal reports consistent average journal inflation rates for colleges and mid-sized universities: In 2001 and 2002 they were 11.2% and 10.2% respectively.1

 

·                    Dwindling supply of professional librarians

At the American Library Association’s 2001 Mid-Winter conference, the placement service registered 813 job openings and only 260 job seekers. Occupational Outlook Quarterly (Winter, 2000) projected 39,000 openings between 1998 and 2008 based on retirements.2   There were no fewer graduates of library schools between 2001 and 2002, simply fewer graduates applying for library jobs.

 

·                    Evolving/emerging roles for librarians

Library Journal’s cover story for February 1, 2002 (pp. 46-49) was “New Roles: A Librarian by Any Name.”  The impact on libraries is twofold: maintaining agile organizations, including opportunities to work at home, and enhancing professional development opportunities.

 

·                    Information literacy: the emphasis on librarians’ teaching function/role and on

collaboration with teaching faculty

Middle States labels the following a Fundamental Element of Educational Offerings: “collaboration between professional library staff and faculty in teaching and fostering information literacy skills relevant to the curriculum….”3   According to the Fall, 2002, The Letter, Middle States “is developing a new handbook on information literacy,” p.2.

What accreditors will look for is not a few isolated incidences of collaboration, but a stable departmental-wide effort, that information literacy programs “be developed with and integrated into existing academic… programs in collaboration with departments, rather than solely with individual faculty.” (ACRL Best Practices Initiative, Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy, Working Edition, March 2001

http://www.ala.org/acrl/nili/bestprac.html)


 

·                    Changing student populations/serving diverse populations

While greater numbers of minority students are entering and completing college,4 the dropout rate for Hispanics is rising. 5   Increased non-traditional undergraduate enrollment is also on the rise. According to a recent U.S. Department of Education report, “ALMOST 75 PERCENT of today's undergraduate students are considered ‘nontraditional,’ because of their age, their financial status, or when they enrolled in college….”6   Without special faculty effort, non-traditionally aged students, those who most need information literacy are the least likely to receive it. While the impact of population changes on resources/collections is unknown, libraries need to re-think service policies and intensify instructional efforts to serve these populations.

 

·                    Increasing Internet use by students

A comprehensive study sponsored by the Digital Library Federation and the Council on Library and Information Resources found that while the majority of faculty and graduate students relied exclusively on print resources for their personal research, “undergraduates seem more willing to rely on electronic sources.”  Friendlander, Amy, Dimensions and Use of the Scholarly Information Environment, assembled by the Digital Library Federation and Outsell, Inc. (Washington, D.C.: Digital Library Federation and Council on Library and Information Resources, version 10/14/2002, October, 2002): 5.

 

·                    Student research skills

A 2002 Harris poll commissioned by OCLC to survey 18-to-24-year-old U.S. college students who use the Internet for school-related assignments reported that most students thought Internet sites with ads provided the same quality of information as those without

ads. 7   A Pew study of 754 students ages 12-to-17 indicated that 95% use the Internet for school research, but complain that educators don’t provide help in using online resources and admit that they need more sophisticated Internet literacy training. 8,9

 

·                    E-services/e-xpectations

Users exposure to start-up, evolving, and innovative e-services raises expectations for how libraries provide information. There are expectations for 24x7 access to library databases, e-reserves, simultaneous access to multiple resources, additional software to simplify data capturing for footnotes/ bibliographies in papers, and connections between institutional portals and library services.  At the very least, libraries need to acquire the time/expertise to study the value/cost of online, interactive services such as e-reference10 and to plan for established technologies such as Ariel software that allows interlibrary loan materials to be digitized for transmittal to the desktop (some libraries will not even lend articles to libraries lacking this technology).

 

·                    E-resources: a higher level of managerial complexity

With print libraries purchase materials and own them.  Even this simple process brings with it copyright, budget, use, and storage issues.  Electronic alternatives don’t alleviate those issues, they increase them. Added to print copyright issues are digital copyright issues, and many of these are between the author and the publisher and aggregator, not the library. Libraries owning journals can make and lend copies of articles within

 

copyright restrictions; libraries leasing access to journals may or may not be able to provide the same service based on vendor contracts.  Dual systems for gathering print and e-usage data need to be maintained and merged.  Collecting e-material usage is complicated: the quality of and procedures for accessing data vary vendor by vendor. The ability to negotiate licensing agreements with vendors, keep track of these, enforce them, to manage and provide access to collections in such an evolving environment, and to forecast costs with constantly changing vendor pricing models has led many libraries to establish new positions: E-Resources Librarians and Catalogers, Database Contract Managers, etc.

 

·                    Disappearing data: the downside of “access vs. ownership”

One of the great complications of e-resources is that, more often than not, they are leased, not purchased.  Libraries rent information, and vendors rent access from publishers who sell to the highest bidder.  In September, 2002, Maryland System libraries scrambled to find another means of access to the Baltimore Sun because Lexis-Nexis lost the rights to include it in its Academic Universe database. In a leasing environment, what you have access to today may disappear tomorrow.

 

There are other downsides. Some vendors add titles to existing packages and raise prices. Others allow access to titles held by consortial members,11 only if libraries maintain existing print subscriptions.  And e-vendors are not always stable. NetLibrary, the largest vendor of e-books to libraries, after declaring bankruptcy was eventually rescued by OCLC. 12 

 

·                    Another disappearing act: the issue of archiving

The ephemeral quality of e-information, here today, gone tomorrow, raises concerns on three fronts: what should libraries expect to see for their dollars, what data do they need to archive (make available on a permanent basis), and are dollars available to balance collections needs among print, e-access, and archival access to e-resources? What are the implications if the dollars aren’t there?

 

While silver halide microform has a proven shelf life of 100 years, there is no guarantee for the longevity of e-data--either that existing formats will continue/be portable to new ones or that existing ones won’t need re-generation.  Electronic technology has multiplied rather than solved the dilemmas of preservation. Paper made from wood pulp can grow brittle and flaky in 50 years, but a floppy disk can start to lose data in 10 years or less. Optical disks may last a century with ideal manufacture and storage conditions, but otherwise may ‘delaminate’ in a generation.”  13   Congress considers these issues urgent enough to have appropriated $100 million in 2000 to the Library of Congress to develop a national program of digital data archiving.  

 

·                    Print vs. electronic resources

For libraries, there is no vs. in the issue of print and electronic resources. On a basic level, as well known library commentator Walt Crawford points out, “The Library of Congress continues to acquire new print materials faster than it digitizes old ones.”14 

 

There is no profitable, practical way to transform all written information into electronic form, nor is it reasonable to assume that what isn’t transformed is unimportant.  Carole Wedge, principal architect for SBRA, a premier library architectural firm, comments: “College libraries have historically been driven by print materials growth.  Still we haven’t seen any decline in print resources.  What libraries need now is effective integration of various media…so that they are all equally accessible and can be used in conjunction with one another….”15

 

·              Future of books: e and otherwise

Companion to discussions about e-books is the notion that, as e-books become more prominent, print books become increasing obsolete. In the future, libraries will continue to collect both, print books for leisure reading and long-term scholarly purposes and e-books for current reference titles and for disciplines where currency is paramount.

 

The sanest guidance on this issue comes from long time commentator Roy Tennant from the California Digital Library: “Current e-book hype notwithstanding, there are still many purposes for which they are not the right solution.” 16

 

·                    E-media

Of more immediate long term concern to libraries than e-books is the growing role that media will play in creating and providing access to visual information.  It influences spatial layouts, infrastructure, hardware, services, and staff training, which is why architectural firms building new library facilities hire media consultants to inform facilities planning.

 

ACRL’s brochure, A Student’s Guide to Evaluating Libraries in Colleges & Universities tells prospective students when evaluating library facilities to ask, “Are multimedia production facilities available for your use.” 

 

·                    Consortial relationships/projects: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Given limited budgets, most libraries would not have been able to enter the digital age without consortial buying and centralized contract negotiation. Group purchases drive down costs.  Since purchases are group decisions, however, individual libraries may not end up with the databases they need.  Example: SU would benefit from a historical newspaper package; the health libraries that are part of the system have no need for such data.  Conversely, individual libraries may end up with databases they don’t need, confusing patrons who are looking for direction in the library’s collection.  Consortia are both a step forward and a loss of autonomy that minimizes a library’s ability to define its own collections clearly and create a stable informational environment since group purchases are re-negotiated on the basis of group needs and resources.

 

·                    Affording it all: diminishing state dollars & the Maryland Digital Library

Diminishing state revenues pose two difficulties.  First, while libraries stretch existing dollars to acquire both electronic and print--without budget increases--they undoubtedly fall behind in one or the other.  Existing budgets don’t support new formats except at the

 

expense of existing ones. The Research Libraries Group frequently reports its members’ inability to maintain print resources adequately and the consequent effects that has on interlibrary loan and the research value of their collections. In 2002 a New York-based research firm recorded the largest drop in academic library book spending since 1993 (www.primaryresearch.com). The drop occurred at a time when the 2002 Bowker Annual, (p.548) reported the following: “American book title output reached a new high of 122,108 titles in 2000…. This total represents an increase of 2,751 titles…over the 119,357 titles reported for 1999…. Preliminary figures for 2001 would appear to indicate continuing growth….”

 

Dwindling state resources have another effect.  The Maryland Digital Library initiative, partially state-supported and comprising representatives from all Maryland higher educational institutions, had aims of providing statewide access to electronic resources, creating a union catalog of library holdings, and providing leadership in state-wide digitizing projects. Funds supported the first aim only; now, even that is in jeopardy. The SU library currently has free access to MDL databases such as the OED, Project Muse journal titles, and others.  Unless other means of support are found, continuing access to those files is uncertain.

 

·                    Combating the myth: it’s all on the Internet and it’s free

Given the wealth of information and the relative ease of accessing it on the Internet, the notion is that libraries don’t need buildings and that existing ones don’t need books.  By logical extension, universities don’t need libraries, and what isn’t on the Internet isn’t worth having.  What’s missing from this grain of truth is just one thing: truth.  AskEric is a wonderful, free service to teachers, but online access to the full text of the Eric research reports costs real dollars. The following hard-hitting remarks by Technologist Jim Taylor are funny, but the problems of believing the myth aren’t: limiting funding for intellectual content and not adequately preparing students to do research well.

 

 

“’The Internet will make breathtaking amounts of information easily

accessible and virtually free.

            But quantity does not equal quality. …It can cost $1 million to

produce an educational CD-ROM, and even more to publish a textbook.

The same content will not appear overnight on the Internet courtesy of

the shoemaker’s elves…..…

            The school lunch program feeds millions of students every year.

No one tries to save money by sending the students out to scrounge in

the dumpsters behind restaurants and fast food franchises. Likewise, we

            should not expect teachers and students to scrounge for free instructional

tidbits in cyberspace.  The lunch lady doesn’t work for nothing.  Neither

will the Internet.’”17


 

·                    Curricular changes

New curricular commitments to international programs and diversity issues and considerations of doctoral level programs have significant resource implications for libraries. Some databases have international versions that incur additional costs, and minority and gender studies also require specialized databases and print resources.

 

·                    Town-gown issues

Historically, the SU Library has offered borrowing, reference, interlibrary loan, and printing services to a broad base of constituents including Wicomico County residents, area school teachers, etc.  Demands for these services increase: Eastern Correction Institute employees, Sojourner Douglas students, Worcester and other county residents.  The library also offers instructional sessions by appointment for area high school classes. With the exception of a modest $5 per each Wor-Wic student who registers to borrow materials, services are free. By contrast, UMES serves its students, faculty, staff, and alumni only and provides borrowing privileges to others for an annual $25. fee.

 

Sustaining existing outreach services and meeting new ones necessitates a commitment to either support that role or address the negative effects service changes may have on town-gown relationships.

 

·                    Fewer corporate grants

Diminishing profits limit corporate support for worthwhile educational/technological

projects.18   The most immediate impact on the library would be on the Teaching Learning Network, particularly the Verizon studio, which is supported solely through corporate gifts.

 

·                    Buildings of the future

Libraries built solely as storage facilities with service desks and a reading room will no longer capture the changing information environment or meet students’ needs.  Most new facilities include “space for networked conference rooms, electronic presentation rooms, lounge seating with Internet connections, electronic classrooms, faculty/student/ technology development spaces, collaborative work and study spaces, teleconferencing spaces, and 24-hour cafes, computer labs, and group study rooms.” 19  Many others include student services, tutoring, and writing labs.

 

While newer buildings include books and more, making decisions about where collections should be and why need to be made in advance of building planning. Compact shelving and remote storage facilities (the MSD libraries are initiating a study of the latter) affect building size, service quality, as well as teaching mission.

 

·                    Outsourcing

Private organizations began to outsource library staff functions in the mid-to-late 90s.20

In many ways, outsourcing is a natural byproduct of the e-age, which increased the need for teaching/public services librarians. To meet that need, some libraries assigned technical services librarians to public services, then outsourced technical services.

 

In the same timeframe virtual universities appeared, some unaffiliated with existing universities.  They generated a market for self-contained virtual libraries, some wholly separate and commercial.  A variety of reference services, bundled collections, and research writing enhancements are now marketed by companies like ebrary, Questia, Jones e-global library, etc. sometimes to institutions, mostly to students directly.

 

A second potential implication of commercial organizations entering the educational business and creating online training packages is their potential competition with other venues for faculty development.

 

Libraries haven’t warmed to these companies because compared to university libraries their resources are scant, they appear to encourage last-minute, incomplete research, and they duplicate services universities already provide. The lesson they offer libraries, however, is that it may be time to think out of the box and offer students research-enhancing software that allows them to focus on the intricacies of the research process rather than the mechanics of capturing and formatting citations.

 

 

·                    New learning-centered assessment standards

In 2000 the Association of College and Research Libraries, a Division of the American Library Association, revised its approach to measuring performance, moving from quantitative inputs and outputs to the measurable effect they have on student learning (http://www.ala.org/ acrl/guides/college.html). Other academic ALA divisions are following their lead.

 

The transition is difficult for libraries, which have limited means of gathering data on the effect of libraries on learning, and it is made more so because states and institutions continue to rely on the quantitative data of earlier standards. They have not incorporated the newer approaches to assessment into their own planning and budgeting processes.  The new standards are more in line with regional accrediting bodies’ evolving emphasis on outcomes and learning and depend on peer comparisons rather than set formulas. 

 

·                    Digitizing/E-theses

“Thirty-four percent of academic libraries responding to a recent national survey by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) reported digitization activities during the past year.” 21   The richest potential source for digitization, apart from tracking URL’s

in the online catalog, is the primary, original research materials housed in the Nabb Center. One of the main funding tracks for the IMLS, the major federal funder of libraries and museums is preservation or digitization projects.

 

Digitization is not simply a historical effort to preserve and make accessible manuscript materials.  It’s also an opportunity for institutions to create information resources and joining league with non-commercial publishing ventures. The Network Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/) is one such alternative scholarly publishing venture. Members often require their students to submit electronic

theses/ dissertations.  The institutions then publish them, maintain them on local servers, and contribute to a central online catalog.  For SU, publishing undergraduate research this way might enhance the university’s eminence and simultaneously attract prospective students.

 

·                    Alternative scholarly publishing ventures/scholarly communication processes

Scholars and librarians, reacting to exorbitant price hikes for periodicals, have begun to “take back” the scholarly communication process. While the taking back takes many forms—details follow—the effect on libraries is increased costs, i.e. the need to support new ventures and to provide faculty with access to them as well as to the resources they’ve come to rely on.

 

            Redefining Peer Review: The Faculty of 1000 (http://www.facultyof1000.com/start.asp)  includes 1,400 biologists. They volunteer to recommend the two-to-three most valuable papers they’ve read and comment about why those paper’s are important.  Scientists can subscribe for $50 or institutions for about $1,500 to access the service, which provides recommendations only, not the texts.

 

            New E-Journals: In 1999 the Association of Research Libraries formed SPARC to change scholarly publishing (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition).  In 2001 SPARC teamed with University of Arizona Library and a UA faculty member.  “Upset over the pricing and access policies of Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, published by Wiley/LIS, Hagedorn resigned his position as editor, and in March of 2001, the Arizona library debuted Hagedorn’s The Journal of Insect Science (JIS), a peer-reviewed e-journal available to all users free of charge.”22   While this title is free, other SPARC efforts resulting from this effort such as the BioOne database are not.

 

·                    New technologies

Change associated with emerging/developing technologies is by now almost commonplace.  Libraries expect legacy online systems to appear, to be adopted, and to change their procedures as a result.  It’s possible that XML may eliminate the mainstay of all library automation: the MARC record.  And as medical schools adopt PDAs as the computing tool of choice, tablet PCs make the computing footprint smaller, and wireless networks continue to mature, instead of selecting the one technology that will transform the future it’s probably better to commit to an ongoing readiness to assess and adapt.

 

·                    Distance education

Although Salisbury University may have no stated intention of emphasizing distance education, many institutions continue to report increased enrollments in e-programs.23

If SU’s emphases change over time, distance education would significantly challenge existing library budgets, staffing levels, resources, and technology to meet the quality of service that accrediting bodies require.24


 

·                    Mentoring: classroom effects

The long term desired effect and benefit of  the TLN/FDC mentoring program is that it introduces new technologies into the classroom.  The library will need to support many of those. Current mentoring proposals, which include use of PDAs and digital video, indicate that providing students with production space and equipment, lending them equipment, and supporting their use of it is more of a present rather than a future need.

 

·                    Local historical societies: divesting collections

Depending on volunteer efforts and lacking trained expertise in managing/preserving collections and artifacts, local Eastern Shore historical societies are searching for institutions to continue their good work. To Salisbury’s credit, those groups contact the Nabb Center. To date, the Center’s received inquiries from Wicomico, Somerset, and other small historical institutions.

 

·                    Security issues—people & equipment

In the past, libraries dealt with problem patrons, floods, fires, leaking pipes, state laws addressing confidentiality of borrower records, and appropriate use of computers.  The post 9/11 world creates a new set of concerns and heightens some old ones. The Patriot Act now gives authorities broad access to once confidential records, and this April police seized 26 computers from a Wisconsin public library after an off-duty officer found sexually explicit photos in a restroom waste can. 25


 

 

 


PART II

ADDITIONAL/SUPPORTING EVIDENCE OF EXTERNAL TRENDS

 

Journal Inflation Rates

1.         Kathleen Born and Lee Van Orsdel, “41st Annual Report, Periodical Price Survey, 2001”

            Library Journal (15 April 2001): 53-58.

Van Orsdel, Lee and Kathleen Born, “42nd Annual Report, Periodical Price Survey, 2002”        Library Journal (15 April 2002): 51-56.

 

Going digital—several libraries try explicitly to buy digital journals only—doesn’t control expenses.  It is likely to increase them (see Access vs. Ownership below).  The benefits are better service to students/faculty and potential space savings.

 

Dwindling Supply of Professional Librarians. 

Although evidence of the dwindling supply of professional librarians is partly anecdotal, it is clear from actual job searches that fewer candidates are applying for available positions and that some jobs are harder to fill than others, particularly those in technical services and technology areas.

 

2.         Van Fleet, Connie and Danny P. Wallace, “O Librarian, Where Art Thou?” Reference &

User Services Quarterly 41 #3 (Spring 2002): 215.

 

St. Lifer, Evan. “the Boomer Brain Drain: The Last of a Generation?” Library Journal

(1 May 2000): 38-42.

 

Evolving Librarian Roles

Changes in information delivery, technology, and higher education create opportunities for librarians to assume new, often leadership roles in effecting and managing change. At the same time, however, the rate of change breeds burnout.  That issue has been addressed at length for public services staff, who no sooner complete instructional materials explaining the use of a database to discover that the vendor, without advance notice, has restructured it. —Sheesley, Deborah F. “Burnout and the Academic Teaching Librarian: An Examination of the Problem and Suggested Solutions,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 27 #6 (November, 2001): 447-51. Affleck, Mary Ann, “Burnout among Bibliographic Instruction Librarians,” Library & Information Science Research

18 # (Spring, 1996):165-83. But it’s equally true for all staff.

 

With responsibility for information literacy on a programmatic level, microcomputers, Web pages, intellectual property issues, new venues/technologies for scholarly communication, digitization projects, shared e-collection development—all new tasks—library staff and related staffs at TLN and the Nabb Center are subject to the same burnout.  Even investigating options takes time that doesn’t exist, as does planning to

 

 

implement some vital changes.  At a time when new energies are essential, providing ample time/support for professional development is critical.

 

Information Literacy: Emphasis on Librarians as Teachers

3.         Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education. Middle States Commission on Higher

Education, p.34. 

 

“If we are to be serious about improvement in the teaching-learning cycle, then it appeared to me that the library ought to play a pivotal role, particularly since we say that the library is central to the educational mission.”  Mignon, Adams, “The Role of Academic Libraries in Teaching and Learning: An Interview with Harold Simmons,” C&RL News (July/August 1992): 442.

 

            Boyer may have overstated the case—“Students should be given bibliographic instruction

and be encouraged to spend at least as much time in the library—using its wide range of

resources—as they spend in class,” especially given the changes in how research is done.

Yet his landmark study points out the negative effects of a disconnect between the

library and the classroom, the failure to tie library resources into the fabric of teaching.

Boyer, Ernest L. College: The Undergraduate Experience in America. New York, Harper

and Row (1987): 165.

 

“The usual educational division of labor, confining the librarians to do the retrieval of the

resources and the course instructor to the pedagogical use of those resources, just won’t work.” George Allan, Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus at Dickinson College

Allan George. “The Art of Learning with Difficulty,” in Future Teaching Roles for Academic Librarians, Ed. Alice Harrison Bahr (New York: Haworth Press, 2000): 16.

 

“…integrating librarians’ functions and services into the undergraduate learning experience may prove a fertile area for future growth.” Friendlander, Amy, Dimensions and Use of the Scholarly Information Environment, assembled by the Digital Library Federation and Outsell, Inc.(Washington, D.C.: Digital Library Federation and Council on Library and Information Resources, version 10/14/2002, October, 2002):19.

 

Changing Student Populations/Serving Diverse Populations

4.         Young, Jeffrey, R., “Minority Enrollment Continues to Rise, Report Says,” Chronicle of

Higher Education 49, 5 (27 September 2002): A54.  

 

5.         “Hispanics Enroll in College at High Rates, But Many Fail to Graduate,” Black Issues in Higher Education 19, 16 (26 September 2002): 9.

 

6.         Evelyn, Jamilah, “Nontraditional Students Dominate Undergraduate Enrollments, Study Finds,” Chronicle of Higher Education 48, 40 (14 June 2002): A34.


 

Student Research Skills

Because information is so easy to access over the Internet, the assumption is that students comprehend the research process.  The facts speak otherwise. Whether online of off (print environment), the fundamentals remain the same: knowing how the tools work—

 

how search engines are different or print indexes code journal titles, how to cite print or Web sources, how to identify exactly what a tool does or includes, which is no different from the print or Web version of Psychological Abstracts. Evidence is slim that students understand what they’re finding, why, or whether it’s any good.

 

7.         OCLC White Paper on the Information Habits of College Students. OCLC (Dublin, OH

 2001): 4.

8.         “Students Prefer the Internet for Research,” C&RL News (October 2001): 972.

9.         “’Digital Disconnect’ Study,” Library Hotline 31, #34 (26 August 2002): 1.

 

E-services/-xpectation

10.       “Virtual Reference Takes Off,” American Libraries (August 2002): 86.

 

The wisest advice I’ve read comes from Joseph Janes, founding director of the Internet Public Library. “The one thing you shouldn’t do is run off and buy or license live reference software next week, unless it’s the result of a lot of thinking and planning to determine the best service for your community, your users and their information needs.”

Janes, Joseph, “Live Reference: Too Much, Too Fast?” Netconnect (Fall 2002): 14.

 

Disappearing Data: The Downside of Access vs. Ownership

11.       Foster, Andrea L. “Second Thoughts on ‘Bundled’ E-Journals,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (20 September 2002): 1.

 

12.       Young, Jeffrey R., “Judge Approves Sale of netLibrary's E-Books to Nonprofit Library Group, “The Chronicle of Higher Education 48 #20 (25 January 2002): A31.

 

Another Disappearing Act: The Issue of Archiving

13.       Tenner, Edward, “Taking Bytes From Oblivion, “ U.S. News & World Report, 132 #10 (1 April 2002): 66-67.

 

            OCLC is taking steps to preserve cataloged Web sites and other organizations are addressing the issue for specific types of data such as e-theses; however, the most significant aspect of this for libraries is cost.  Currently, Jstor, and OCLC’s Electronic Collections Online offer archived journal files.  The former charges a large initial fee to full holdings, v.1- as well as an annual access fee, excludes the last three-to-five years of each title, and sells pre-set bundles of titles by broad academic subject area.  The latter provides access to current issues and backfiles on a title-by-title basis, which entails annual access fees based on the number of subscriptions.  In both cases, data remains available to institutions—it doesn’t disappear—but getting to the data that’s owned

 

 

requires an annual payment.  Each new title or collection added to each incurs additional charges.

 

Print vs. Electronic Resources

Carlson, Scott, “Do Libraries Really Need Books,”  http://chronicle.com/weekly v48/i44/44a013101.htm

 

14.       Crawford, Walt, “paper Persists: Why Physical Library Collections Still Matter,” Online

22,1 (Jan. –Feb. 1998): 42-48.

 

15.       Morris, Jeff, “The College Library in the New Age,” University Business (October 2002):

28.

 

E-books

16.       Tennant, Roy. “The Emerging Role of E-Books,” Library Journal (August 2000): 38.

 

Although e-books are touted on a regular cycle, the unbridled enthusiasm needs to be tempered by realities: NetLibrary, the largest vendor of e-books to libraries declared bankruptcy, and in 2001, Princeton, Random House, and Time Warner bailed out of the e-book business, the former two just one year after entering into e-publishing.“E-Book Aftermath: Three More Publishers Fold Electronic Imprints,” NetConnect

(Winter 2002): 4. 

 

Combating the Myth: It’s All on the Internet and It’s Free

17.       Taylor, Jim, “The Myth of Free Education on the Internet,” Technology & Learning 17,

            7 (April, 1997): 42.

 

Fewer Corporate Grants

18.       Greene, Stephen G., “Belt-Tightening at Two Foundations Puts the Squeeze on

Charities,” Chronicle of Philanthropy 15, 1 (10/17/2002): 11.

 

Buildings of the Future

19.       Bahr, Alice Harrison. “Library Buildings in a Digital Age, Why Bother?” C&RL News 61, 7 (July/August 2000): 590.

 

Outsourcing

20.       Ebbinghouse, Carol, “Library Outsourcing: A New Look,” Searcher 10, 4 (April 2002):

            63.

           

In 1996, the Hawaii State Public Library System stunned the professional community by outsourcing--not cataloging, which is more common--but collection development.18  A year or so later they reversed that decision. C.K.,“Hawaii PL Outsources Collection Selection to B&T,” American Libraries 28, 5 (May, 1997): 4


 

Digitizing/E-Theses

21.       “Digitization Activities in Academic Libraries,” C&RL News 63 #8 (September 2000):

634.

 

Scholarly Communication

22.       Albanese, Andrew Richard, “Revolution or Evolution,” Library Journal (November 1,

2001): 49.

 

 
Distance Education

23.       “SUNY Online Education Enrollment Doubles,” Black Issues in Higher Education 18, 8

(7 June 2001): 21.

 

24.                          “Libraries Challenged,” CQ Researcher 11, 42 (7 December 2001): 1009.

 

Security Issues

25.              Flagg, Gordon, “Library Computers Seized by Police,” American Libraries 33, 4 (April

2002): 21.


 

 

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.