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Archive for the ‘Budgets’ Category

U.S. House Drafts SKILLS Act to Support School Librarians

Posted by Editor on January 25, 2012

By Lauren Barack, January 20, 2012 in School Library Journal

Three House lawmakers introduced legislation this week that could strengthen and ensure school librarians’ continued role as educators in the nation’s K-12 schools.

Drafted by U.S. Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ.) (left), Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), The Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLS) Act, is a companion bill to a measure introduced in July in the Senate. Under both bills, school librarians would be assured a continuing role in schools as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Several key provisions in the SKILLS Act strive to better define and strengthen the future role and federal funding for librarians who work in schools. One provision states that an “effective school library program,” is a program that’s staffed by a state-certified school librarian. The act also strengthens school librarians’ right to gain access to professional development funds under ESEA. In addition, the measure sets aside competitive grants to underserved schools and districts so they can work to develop effective library programs.

“This is what we’re working for,” says Jeffrey Kratz, assistant director of the Washington, D.C. office of the American Library Association (ALA). Read the rest of this entry »

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College Librarians Look at Better Ways to Measure the Value of Their Services

Posted by Editor on April 1, 2011

By Jennifer Howard in CHE

Philadelphia

How do you take the measure of academic libraries and librarians? At the Association of College and Research Libraries conference, which began here Wednesday, presenters took up the problem of how libraries can demonstrate their value to their institutions—and whether conventional attempts to measure return on investment, or “ROI,” are any use in that campaign.

Like most of academe, libraries have been feeling increased pressure to justify themselves quantitatively. The bold title of James G. Neal’s paper—”Stop the Madness: The Insanity of ROI and the Need for New Qualitative Measures of Academic Library Success”—indicated where its author stands on the issue. Mr. Neal is vice president for information services and university librarian at Columbia University.

Return on investment “has become the new mantra of academic libraries, a relentless and in many ways foolish effort to quantify impact in the face of budget challenges and the questioning of our continuing relevance to the academy in an all-digital information world,” Mr. Neal told a packed meeting room at the Philadelphia Convention Center. “ROI instruments and calculations fundamentally do not work for academic libraries, and present naive and misinterpreted assessments of our roles and impacts at our institutions and across higher education. New and rigorous qualitative measures of success are needed.”

In a paper he described as “a polemic and a call to arms,” Mr. Neal urged libraries to take a different sort of measure–of their users, what they want and need, and how they interact with the physical and virtual resources and spaces of the library. Librarians ought to be asking, “How much did the user receive through an investment of time, energy, and resources in the resources and services of the library?” he said. He called on libraries to embrace what he called the “human” objectives. “Design for the agile rather than the static,” he said. “Start with the user and not the collection.”

After Mr. Neal delivered his broadside, a pair of librarians from the University of Colorado system presented the results of a more traditional attempt to measure their libraries’ worth to users. Read the rest of this entry »

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Four UCSD libraries to close in consolidation move…

Posted by Editor on March 30, 2011

Vaunted Scripps library will be among those targeted

By Pat Flynn

Originally published March 29, 2011 at 7:35 p.m., updated March 29, 2011 at 7:38 p.m., photo by The Scripps Institution of Oceanography library is in danger of being shuttered due to budget problems. A granite gray whale sculpture in the first floor area. John Gibbins

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography library is in danger of being shuttered due to budget problems. A granite gray whale sculpture in the first floor area.

Four University of California San Diego libraries, including that of the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, are slated to be closed and their collections consolidated into other campus libraries in a cost-cutting move.

The consolidations are being decried by students and faculty members.

Libraries: By the numbers

  • 2010 user figures for UCSD libraries to be closed:  354,000
  • Center for Library Instruction and Computer Services 93,023
  • Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies  40,657
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography  34,230 
  • Medical Center Read the rest of this entry »

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California Governor Proposes Eliminating All State Funding for Libraries

Posted by Editor on January 12, 2011

January 12, 2011 – 2:27pm — ScrewyDecimal

“California Governor Jerry Brown released a proposed budget for FY11/12 on Monday that would eliminate all state funding for libraries.

Brown’s shock-and-awe, $84.6 billion budget, which still must work its way through the state legislature, would cut state spending by $12.5 billion and include a ‘vast and historic’ restructuring of government operations.”

Full article here

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Puzzled by Patron-Driven Acquisitions

Posted by Editor on November 13, 2010

By Barbara Fister November 11, 2010 9:45 pm EST on Inside Higher Education

The buzz at the recent Charleston Conference (and practically every other recent conference at which academic librarians have gathered) is a combination of new formats and a new collection development philosophy, shifting from print collections with titles chosen by librarians and faculty to making thousands of e-books available and letting the purchasing choices be made by “patrons”–an old-fashioned term for library users of all stripes, a large contingent of which are undergraduates writing “research papers” that are mostly papers synthesizing other people’s research.

(Though one might think the “research paper” that has little to do with genuine research should have disappeared sometime after 1982, when Richard Larson famously skewered it as a “non-form of writing” that gives authentic research a bad name, but in fact this kind of expository writing from sources is more prevalent than ever. But I digress.)

This new way of building collections emphasizes speed and choice, things that are popular these days. No need to wait for interlibrary loan; just click on the title in a large shopping mall of e-books and you can have what you want right away. One model that’s popular is to enter the e-book options into the library’s catalog. Browsing for a short period of time is free; browsing for a longer period is treated as a rental and the library pays a fee; and if a book is “rented” four times, the library automatically purchases the book.

As some have pointed out, librarians don’t have a terribly good record of acquiring books that are actually used. Why not let patrons take a whack at it? At our small undergraduate library, a disturbingly high percentage of books have never left the shelf, and decades later are still there, dated and in most cases useless except as historical artifacts. (Yes, we’re working on weeding; it’s painfully obvious how many mistakes were made.) And faculty selection isn’t necessarily better. Most libraries have shelves full of books on a topic that was Professor Poindexter’s passion, but which hasn’t been taught since …read entire post here.

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IMLS Report Shows Progress Toward Improving Collections Care

Posted by Editor on October 5, 2010

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s museums and libraries, has released Connecting to Collections: A Report to the Nation. The report describes how IMLS engaged dozens of public and private partners to reach thousands of museum and library professionals with resources and technical assistance to care for endangered collections.

IMLS launched Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action in 2007 in response to A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections, an IMLS-supported report that documented grave threats to the treasures museums, libraries, and archives hold in trust for the public. Connecting to Collections has included a national tour including four U.S. cities and Washington D.C.; an international summit; the distribution of nearly 3,000 sets of essential texts on collections care; the awarding of more than 60 grants for statewide collaboration on collections care; and the creation of American Heritage Preservation Grants (AHPG). AHPG is a partnership between IMLS and the Bank of America Foundation that has so far provided 107 grants to museums, libraries, and archives for specific conservation or preservation projects….read more and download the report here: http://www.imls.gov/news/2010/100510.shtm

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Several articles found at this ARL, CNI and SPARC Test Site

Posted by Editor on September 23, 2010

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Libraries fight for improvements

Posted by Editor on September 15, 2010

By Rob Capriccioso, in Indian Country Today

Story Published: Sep 15, 2010, Story Updated: Sep 10, 2010

WASHINGTON – Like a lot of libraries nationwide, tribal libraries are struggling. Books are lacking, roofs are leaking, and the Internet is broken. Indian students this back-to-school season tend to be suffering most, while tribal educators continue to spread the word on the need for improvements.

The importance of tribal libraries to the cultural and educational fabrics of tribal nations cannot be overstated, according to tribal educators. Beyond their primary role as centers for information, tribal libraries often have missions to strengthen cultural identity and Native language revitalization, promote intergenerational activities, and serve as research centers for tribal citizens.

Despite the critical community roles they play, a report published this year in the Library Student Journal found that dilemmas facing tribal libraries are numerous and daunting. The report noted that it is often difficult for tribes and tribal colleges to retain quality staff at some facilities due partially to recruiting shortfalls facing remote reservation areas.

“Many tribal librarians do not have the master’s degree that other professional librarians have,” said Sandy Littletree, a program manager of the School of Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona.

“While it is true that many of these librarians do an excellent job of running their libraries and providing these essential services to the community, it also means that many tribal librarians are hired without some of the fundamental skills that their colleagues at other institutions may have.”

Beyond the staffing concerns, lack of money, by far, is the main problem.

“The biggest issue facing tribal college libraries, and most other colleges and universities and libraries in general, is funding and budgetary constraints,” according to the LSJ report by Lisa Shamchuck of the University of Alberta. “Funding usually comes in the form of federal obligations from treaties, legislation, regional and local laws, private donations, tribal sources and grants, all of which may be unpredictable.”

Miguel Figueroa, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Diversity and Spectrum, said 54 percent of rural libraries face flat or decreased operating budgets for 2010, according to the organization’s studies.

This funding crisis has tangible impacts on some of the most essential of services; 73 percent of rural libraries reported they are the only provider of free public computer and Internet access in their communities, but nearly 70 percent of rural libraries reported that they have too few public access Internet workstations; 62 percent reported there will be no additions to their public workstations in the next year; 70 percent reported they have no plans for replacement of the current workstations they have, and 61 percent of rural libraries reported that cost is the most important factor in their decision about adding computer workstations.

Figueroa said tribal libraries, which often serve communities of 2,000 to 3,000 or less, tend to experience among the most severe funding challenges of all rural libraries.

Jurisdictional issues complicate funding matters for some tribal libraries, added Littletree. “Tribal libraries often have no ties to state library agencies or other library systems, which means that not only is their funding limited, they also have less support and less visibility in the profession.”

The lack of visibility means that many of the nation’s top library advocates and policymakers have little insight into the problems facing some of the most struggling libraries in the country.

The advocates who are out there, including the leaders of the American Indian Library Association, are working overtime to improve the outlook. The group of tribal professionals, which holds business meetings twice a year and publishes a regular newsletter, is currently led by president Jody Gray. She and past president, Loriene Roy, are currently among the most well-known of tribal library supporters.

Even though the picture is bleak for many tribal libraries, especially in the current economic climate, there are a few bright spots to celebrate, including new funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal grant-making agency.

In its latest round of grants, announced Sept. 7, IMLS said out of 46 applicants nationwide, 17 Native American tribal communities were chosen to receive $2,030,562 in Native American Library Services Enhancement grants – 10 of the grantees were first time awardees.

Projects planned by awardees are expected to further the cultural underpinnings of the tribal library movement. The Cherokee Nation, for instance, is working to establish a “Virtual Library of Cherokee Knowledge,” which is designed to provide Cherokee citizens and the general public access to a comprehensive digital repository of authentic Cherokee knowledge related to the nation’s history, language, traditions, culture and leaders.

IMLS, which is the primary source of federal funds for the nation’s museums and libraries, also announced that 24 of 35 applicants would be receiving funding through the 2010 Na-tive American/Native Hawaiian museum services grant program. The projects chosen for funding will receive a total of $1,023,857.

Mamie Bittner, deputy director of IMLS, said the agency keeps a close eye on tribal institutions and their needs.

“Like with most tribal issues, there is no ‘standard’ or ‘average’ library. They run the gamut. The one thing that they do have in common is a commitment to lifelong learning while aiding in the preservation of Native cultures.”

She added that one of the most exciting parts of working with tribes for her involves convening tribal library representatives to discuss and share information about how to solve the problems.

“One interesting comment we heard at the last convening was that tribes are using 21st century tools to preserve Native cultures and stories.”

The need to get more tribal library projects funded continues to be a top issue of priority for many advocates who say that improved grantwriting is needed across the board.

“The grantees who received the grants will enhance their tribal communities’ ability to provide much needed resources for their people, and I would encourage other tribal communities to apply for these funds,” said Willard Sakiestewa Gilbert, a National Indian Education Association leader and professor at Northern Arizona University.

Gilbert hopes that those who have yet to receive awards take the time to review successful applications, and keep trying for future success. Examples of recent grants are online.

Along those lines, Bittner noted that at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Association of State and Local History in Oklahoma City, there will be a “tribal track” especially for tribal libraries and museums to help them talk about and work on such issues.

The next deadline for Native American Library Services Enhancement Grant applications is May 2. Senior Program Officer Alison Freese can be reached at (202) 653-4665 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (202) 653-4665      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or afreese@imls.gov with any questions.

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Open Access and the Library’s Missing Mission

Posted by Editor on August 19, 2010

By Barbara Fister August 18, 2010 9:15 pm, in http://www.insidehighered.com/

Dorothea Salo has an interesting post at the Book of Trogool. She wonders about the mission of academic libraries, and about one paradox in particular: Can libraries support the open access movement by reallocating funds from paying for content to providing support for open access publications, or does that somehow go against the library’s mission to support its local clientele?

I should back up a moment and define some terms. Most academics are now familiar with the Open Access movement, an effort to make scholarship free to all rather than intellectual property owned by publishers and only available to those who can pay for it or are affiliated with institutions that will purchase it on their behalf. Many libraries have supported open access by providing the technical infrastructure and human support for archiving materials in institutional repositories. These local archives make various kinds of digital publications created by the institution’s faculty, staff, and students available to the world. Salo, author of a famous article about why institutional repositories fail to thrive (with the memorable title, “Innkeeper at the Roach Motel“), has challenged libraries to be more strategic about repositories, rather than operate on the “build it, and they will come” philosophy. We know from experience that doesn’t work.

She is frustrated when she hears librarians say that if they had to cancel a journal to put funds into open access, they would be betraying their clientele, because the library’s mission is to serve their community, not the world. The political reality is probably more of a hurdle. Canceling a journal to support a new initiative will cost a library significant social capital, even if the journal is rarely consulted. But many journals are now bundled into “big deals,” so canceling a single journal isn’t even an option. It’s all or nothing, even if most of the journals in the big bundle are of no interest to anyone at a given institution.

These Big Deals are a huge headache. True story: we recently faced a $12,000 increase in cost for one journal database when its publisher decided in the middle of an academic year to discontinue a Not So Big Deal. We had to go with the Giant Economy Size Deal that cost close to $40 K or cancel our subscription entirely. We asked what it would cost to subscribe to just the handful of journals we really needed. They came back with a quote of $90 thousand. I am not making this up. Since we really needed those journals, we ended up with the Giant Economy Size Deal, even though we really couldn’t afford it.

The fact is, in the Big Deal era we aren’t really using our resources to build a collection around what our local community needs. We’re accommodating those expressed needs by subscribing to journals we don’t want or we’re buying one article at a time for users, with the library getting nothing out of the transaction but the bill. The most recent Ithaka survey of faculty confirms that libraries are increasingly being seen as the purchaser of information, but not a communal resource or a cultural institution. We are in danger of becoming no more than a purchasing office for disposable goods.

Salo questions the short-term wisdom of building an institutional repository, then starving it of staff and adding to it only things that are easy to acquire but which won’t help solve the financial crisis caused by escalating journal prices. As she puts it, “we can keep feeding the same broken system in hopes it will become less broken. … Or we can place some longer-term bets, with the explicit understanding that some of them will turn up losers.” Her conclusion: “I’d rather place the longer-term bets, myself.”

I agree. It’s hard to take any access away from our students and faculty. But hey, they’re used to it. At my college, we’ve had to sit down with the departments three times in the last ten years to decide which journals to cut. That’s what happens when your budget doesn’t keep up with increasing prices and you’ve already cut all the fat.

The fact is, we’re no longer in control of our mission. We can’t tailor our collections to the specific needs of our clientele; publishers won’t let us. Rather than wait for the whole thing to come crashing down around us, we need to take a good look at where we’re putting our resources. Right now a huge percentage of our library budgets go to renting temporary access to walled gardens planted by publishers who decide what grows there. This is not sustainable. It’s not a responsible use of resources. We need to work with those who create knowledge to find a model that serves all of our needs and not just locally, but globally.

I’m looking at you, faculty. Are you ready to help us figure this out?

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How to Build Alliances-from Roy Tennant in LJ

Posted by Editor on August 17, 2010

July 13th, 2010 in http://blog.libraryjournal.com/tennantdigitallibraries

If you’ve heard me speak, you may have heard me promote the idea of reading outside of librarianship. I don’t just recommend this, I do it myself. A couple things I read (well, skim and then read selected bits) are Fast Company and Inc. Something I came across in Inc. the other day provides useful advice not just for businesses, which is their core market, but for libraries as well.

Called “How to Build Business Alliances,” if you just substitute “library” for “business” it strikes me as pretty good advice for establishing alliances in the non-profit sphere as well. Here’s the outline:

  1. Selecting a partner:
    • Don’t settle for more of the status quo.
    • Think long term.
    • Investigate reputation.
  2. Cutting a deal:
    • Draw the big picture.
    • Establish subjects and a timetable for the talks.
    • Make sure everybody buys in.
  3. Making it work:
    • Plan the decision-making process.
    • Meet all your partners.
    • Find a champion.

Don’t miss the sidebars on “How to Share Ideas” and “Put it in Writing”. Altogether a very fast read but still a good blueprint for establishing an effective alliance. In these days of financial challenges, I think libraries should be seeking to do just this wherever possible.

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