UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON LIBRARIES
April 8, 1999
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 a.m. the Morris Inn by Chairman Harvey Bender. Also in attendance were John Adams, Kelly Gritten, Roger Jacobs, Philip Johnson, Alan Krieger, Larry Rapagnani, Laurence Taylor, Jennifer Younger, guest Joanne Bessler and secretary Melodie Eiteljorge.
The minutes of the meeting of March 4, 1999 were approved as written.
Director's Report: Younger thanked those members of the group who served on the Foik Award Committee. She announced that the graduate student cluster is now in operation on the 11th floor of the Hesburgh Library.
Renovation Update: The architects for the renovation were scheduled to visit on April 12 and 13. Younger reported that they would meet with the expanded Space Planning Committee and some campus administrators. At this stage they are trying to get a sense of how many square feet are needed for various functions. She noted that Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott were hired to develop the master plan with later determination to be made on the building renovation project.
Johnson asked if there is any chance that we could expand the Hesburgh Library building. Younger replied that this is not an option. Bender asked if it might be part of the planning process to say that there simply is not enough physical space in the building and that we must consider physical expansion. Younger agreed that this might be a possibility.
Rapagnani suggested that, if the physical space is not sufficient, we should consider expanding to other areas of campus. In some ways we are already doing that with the branch libraries.
Jacobs raised the issue of expanding into space that is currently occupied by other offices. In regard to that, Bender asked what percentage of the building is occupied by non-library offices. Younger responded that she would check on that figure and report back at the next meeting.
In regard to the 14th floor, which is usually used for public relations events, Adams suggested that the press box in the stadium has now taken over much of that function.
Rapagnani asked about the future of the computer cluster. Younger replied that we will work collaboratively with OIT in exploring options on location, size, etc. We are also looking at the possibility of more study rooms.
Bender asked if it is fair to state that all the branch libraries are overcrowded. Younger replied that this is true, with the exception of architecture. The committee is making the assumption that branches, particularly for the sciences, will have a steady rate of growth and that the overflow will go to the Hesburgh Library. This results in additional pressure. Adams noted also that there has been a tremendous growth in faculty. He feels that to some degree digitizing will help.
Johnson asked about off-site storage. Younger responded that this is something we expect to emerge as a future option for expansion.
In planning for a 15-year period, which would take us to 2015, Jacobs noted that the standard prediction for growth in libraries has been 100% every 16 years. Yet our estimates are lower than that. He suggests that either we have a high expectation that we can digitize and discard, or our predictions are wrong. Younger agreed we will need to monitor annually the physical growth in collections and to evaluate trends in electronic archiving of journal literature particularly. Secure electronic archiving is expected to decrease the rate of physical growth.
Adams asked if off-site storage refers literally to off campus or whether it would be on University property. Younger replied that it would probably be on campus, possibly north of Douglas Road.
Jacobs noted that we already have some examples of off-site storage with branches transferring material to the Hesburgh Library. The law library, however, does not have that experience. He asked Adams about the disadvantages and impact of transfers in the branches.
Adams replied that sometimes it can be significant in disrupting planned activities. Generally, one develops the habit of photocopying what he thinks he might need in the future. It impacts graduate students in particular. Bender noted that it also varies according to discipline. Taylor noted that going to the Hesburgh Library for material is different than having it in dead storage.
Budget Update: Younger next reported on the 1999-2000 budget. The University has reorganized funds from the Colloquy. We have allocated for five new faculty positions and some staff positions. In addition, Human Resources worked with the Libraries on a market survey and adjustments were made in some staff salaries.
Currently there are four searches in process. The first is to fill Maureen Gleason's position since she will be retiring at the end of June. Others are: financial operations manager, rare books librarian, and systems librarian. There will be a fifth search for a social sciences numeric data position.
Confidentiality of Library Circulation Records Within the Notre Dame Community: This issue was raised because of a complaint from a faculty member regarding circulation records. Younger explained that the American Library Association (ALA) is active in this in two areas: access to information and a code of ethics for libraries. ALA's policy is to maintain total confidentiality for all library circulation records.
Bessler reported that this issue came up nine years ago. At that time there was a long-term policy of sharing circulation records because of a history of informality at Notre Dame. When circulation records were in print form, they were very accessible and people were accustomed to that level of access.
When the issue was raised in 1990, it was brought to the University Committee on Libraries (UCL) for discussion. Bender recalled that those discussions were very thorough. Bessler explained that at that time the committee recommended that we change our policy to one of total confidentiality to conform with ALA policy. However, as we prepared to implement the new policy, there were a number of complaints, particularly from branch library users, who preferred to continue to share information. As a result, there was a compromise. A new policy was implemented stating that anyone who wished to have their records kept confidential, even within the Notre Dame community, could do so by submitting a request to the circulation department. Never have records been given to anyone from outside the University. The new policy was widely publicized at the time, and flyers were kept posted at all circulation points.
That policy is still in place. However, many people, particularly new people, are not aware of the policy. There have also been occasional oversights.
Bender observed that it seems complaints have been infrequent under the new policy and that in general the compromise was successful.
Gritten noted that people coming here from other libraries would expect confidentiality since that is the ALA standard.
Taylor suggested that one possibility might be to switch the default of the policy. Thus, those who are willing to have their records made available to other members of the University community would alert circulation to tag their record as such. Bessler stated that this is an interesting concept and agreed that it has merit.
Jacobs agreed that he would support changing the default. However, he feels we should consider how many people would be inconvenienced by the switch. In the law library, the staff calls patrons if someone wishes to retrieve a book rather than giving out the name. Jacobs observed that we would not want patrons to give books directly to another user.
Gritten noted that currently charges are not assessed for someone who does not submit to a recall. Younger replied that she is aware of this but that it is temporary because of the new system implementation. She noted that we are in the process of refining the recall process. One question is whether or not people read e-mail, since sending notices electronically is very efficient.
Krieger stated that the desire to share information is not specific to the branches. In theology, for instance, a number of people are chasing a small number of copies of some material. He is sympathetic to complaints, but he feels we should be cognizant of the impact in switching the default. We would need to provide a great deal of publicity.
Bessler noted that a number of approaches might be needed, including more aggressive retrieval for recall.
Because this is a complex issue, Bender asked that library representatives conduct some further study and bring their findings back to the committee. This could include surveying policies of other schools. Bessler agreed that she will bring back a report by May. Meanwhile, she will inform the faculty member who made the complaint that the committee is in the process of reviewing the policy.
Younger reported that we are now a member of the Northeast Research Libraries Consortium (NERL). In response to an earlier suggestion, she will write a brief white paper on the value of this consortial relation to publish as an addendum to the minutes.
Gritten noted that some computers in the Hesburgh Library no longer link directly to outside catalogs. Bessler replied that it is possible to link but the route is different. This was done intentionally so that certain computers would be designated for use of Aleph. She will look into this, however, and determine what action should be taken.
Younger reported that the University of Iowa and McGill University Libraries have selected Aleph. Representatives from Cornell have scheduled a visit to look at the system.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:45 a.m.
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