Wednesday, May 5, 2010

UL's Corner: Merced

R. Bruce Miller, University Librarian

1. Reference
What constitutes reference services when all users ask Google and are satisfied with the results? Why would anyone go to the library for reference help? How can we become more involved in developing more sophisticated, semantic-based online access to scholarly information?

2. Library relationships with information providers
Some information providers exist in order to make a profit. Others are non-profit and seek only to cover expenses. Regardless of motivation, the costs are real. We are in a symbiotic relationship in which there is no gain in forcing a provider out of business and that is not sustainable if the library faces costs for which there the budget is insufficient. How can we ensure, for the information providers, that necessary business costs are met and that profits are commensurate with value received and, for the library, that allocated funds can be used for the greatest benefit for our users?

3. Personnel
Increased outsourcing and greater reliance on end-user self service reduces the need for library staff who do routine and repetitive tasks. Those who do work in the library must be highly capable and empowered professionals. How should we develop existing staff and librarians to better prepare them for increased professional responsibility?

4. Technology
Essentially all incoming freshmen own a laptop and most of them also have smart phones. Within a few years, all of our constituents will have mobile computing capabilities that enable full access to the resources of the library, any time and any place. In this context, what is the role of the library in providing technology?

5. Collections
The complete content for the bulk of our journal collections is effectively online. Within a few years, the majority of our monograph collections will also be online. Additionally, our users will have online access to large quantities of scholarly monographs not held within the UC Libraries via HathiTrust. With such ready access to this vast amount of materials, will users abandon use of information resources within the UC Library Collection that are not online? If yes, what should we do differently?

6. Buildings/Facilities
If all users have personal computers with ready access to the Internet and library services and information resources are available online 24/7, why will any users come to a library building?

7. Library campus roles
Librarians comprehend the issues that surround complete life-cycle curation for digital assets. What is the role of the library in working with faculty and students before, during, and after the creation of digital scholarly information resources?

8. Library networks
“Network” is a very broad term that could include OCLC, professional associations, consortia, and even individual professional relationships. One can make a case that the value of a network is directly correlated with provision of access to information resources. How can we weave together myriad information resources that reside in balkanized information systems so that the end user can easily seek information and still be reassured that their search has been thorough?

9. Organizational Cultures in libraries
See comment and question above in 3. Personnel.

UL's Corner: Irvine

The UC ULs and library directors have offered to share their thoughts on the nine topic areas that have defined out discussion of the future of librarians and libraries at UC, and the UL's Corner will post the contribution of the campuses as they come in. The LAUC Committee on Professional Governance would like to thank the ULs for their participation. This edition comes from Irvine thanks to:

Carol Ann Hughes, Associate University Librarian, Public Services

Deborah Stansbury Sunday, Associate University Librarian, Administrative Services

1. Reference - As statistics for reference desks drop and e-reference
grows, at what point should we stop drop-in reference desk assistance
and depend on electronic means?

2. Library relationships with information providers - How do we
demonstrate that their current pricing models are counterproductive in
terms of keeping us, their customers, able to control costs effectively?

3. Personnel - How do we build capacity across existing staff without
overburdening them?

4. Technology - To what extent/at what rate do libraries need to
incorporate social networking capabilities into our services in order to
maintain relevancy to our community of users?

5. Collections - How do we assure that we have the right amount and
kinds of space for both physical and electronic collections?

6. Buildings/Facilities - How can we best be persuasive in the campus
conversation about the scarcity of prime real estate on central campuses?

7. Library campus roles - How do we convey the "value proposition" of
libraries to faculty beyond that of a 'buying club' (which is their
growing perception of us according to the recent Ithaka report.)

8. Library networks - How do libraries leverage our membership in
multiple networks to get a satisfactory return on investment?

9. Organizational cultures in libraries - The culture of most internal
library functions is changing as the work changes, but at a difference
pace in different units. How can we best help staff develop
complementary goals and help them keep moving collaboratively across
units as these changes occur?

UC Irvine Libraries [LAUC-I] "Academic Librarians & Our Future"

Pauline Manaka

LAUC Irvine is hosting the semi-autonomous Southern California Regional Meeting of UC Librarians on Friday May 6, 2010, from 10:00a -3:00p. This is in order to continue the dialog on the future of academic libraries and library professionals. The planning of the event is led by Dana Peterman, LAUC-Irvine chair, and a supporting cast of Kristin Andrews, LAUC-I chair of the Academic Librarianship Committee and Becky Imamato, LAUC-I chair of the Program Committee. There has been a great deal of input and support by other members of LAUC-I, Bob Johnson, Mitchell Brown, and from the LAUC Committee on Professional Governance, myself and Matt Conner. For details, please refer to the website,

At the University level, two committees relating to the library, with membership of faculty, library staff and administrators were appointed. The library and the university have been working together to discuss planning for the future in general, but also to appointment an interim library director. A “Planning for the Future of Libraries” report was shared and discussed with library staff; and the appointment of an interim acting library director is due shortly.

Some of my thoughts about the future of academic libraries are influenced by a quote from Rene Descartes, “I think, therefore, I am”[1]. This reassures me that some of the changes ahead, are needed, and can be greatly influenced by the decisions that evolve from our communication, no matter how uncertain things might be right now. The reports generated from the November LAUC Northern California Assembly, the upcoming UC Irvine meeting and subsequent discussions will have a meaningful influence, only when we challenge ourselves accordingly! Whatever the outcome, change is inevitable, and we are better of working as a part of the change process! For those who will be attending the meeting on Friday at UCI please contact Dana Peterman if you wish to serve as a recorder for a discussion group. Please send Dana questions on this, if you need further information. Looking forward to seeing you!