Thursday, March 10, 2011

SLASIAC Library Planning Task Force: Gene Lucas

Gene Lucas is the Executive Vice Chancellor, UCSB and SLASIAC chair. SLASIAC is the Systemwide Library and Scholarly Information Advisory Committee; read more about them here.

The task force was charged by the Provost of the University:
  • Greater systemwide or regional consolidation of library services and systems
  • Systemwide strategies for developing and managing both print and digital collections
  • Greater reliance on open-access materials
  • Reduced expenditure on high-priced serial publications
  • Overall use of library space
Task force members were administrators, faculty members, and ULs from throughout the UC system, plus the program officer from the Mellon Foundation and the Director of Libraries from MIT.

Context of the problems: anticipated budget reductions, increasing costs (esp. journals), employer contributions to benefits (esp. pensions), and running out of shelf space. Between 2006-07 and 2017, there's a projected drop of $52 million in the total UC library budget. The reduction in the acquisitions budget for all the UCs (21%) is bigger than the total materials budget for UCD and UCI combined. A 21% cut in the operations budget (in terms of FTE is nearly as large as the total staff of the UDSB and UCD libraries.

Cost-saving strategies include:

Shared library services (already resulting in current annual savings of $114 million per year). Not just shared digital initiatives like NGM, but shared services to conserve space: avoiding unnecessary duplication of new print materials, removing unnecessary duplicate copies in existing print collections, trying to acquire e-journals and e-books wherever possible. Removing unnecessary duplicate copies of print backfiles of journals reliably available in digital form will add as much as 13 years to capacity of existing campus and regional facility stacks, but costs money (in the millions of dollars) to implement. However, this is considered relatively inexpensive. Identifying and removing unnecessary duplicate copies of books is less effective, takes more time, probably not as high priority as removal of serial backfiles.

Shared licensing of digital collections - already saves us $55 million a year. More than 25 candidate projects are described and prioritized in the NGTS initiative.

Possible future developments: systemwide approval plan, systemwide shelf-ready processing, expansions of shared cataloging, avoiding duplication of foreign-language materials. Graph of how the system might save $52 million through 2014, in three phases.

How does this fit into the UC "Working Smarter" initiative? This is the library's contribution to Working Smarter [maybe not the only contribution, I'm not clear on this].

Next steps: next week, consult with SLASIAC. March-April: finalize interim report and submit to the Provost. March-June: consultation with Academic Senate, campuses. April-September: Council of ULs oversees additional detailed planning and analysis. Sept-Oct: Results of consultation and detailed planning incorporated in Final Report. Fall-Winter 2011-2012: implementation begins.

Issues for continuing discussion: financing (funding sources? Loan financing?) and governance. Existing systemwide bodies may need to have their roles defined or redefined, including the Council of ULs, SLASIAC, Shared Library Facilities Board, LAUC, Academic Senate Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication. New governance structures may need to be created, if required.

Libraries will be out of shelf space in 5-7 years, likely operating budget reductions of up to 21% ($52 million).

The solution: shared services to help conserve space, achieve efficiencies, continuing and accelerating the libraries' Next Generation initiatives. During 2011, consultation continues, the Council of ULs will oversee detailed planning and analysis. Continued discussion is encouraged about financing and governance.

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