University Senate

July 3, 2000



Annual Report of the Libraries and AcIS Committee: 1999-2000


This year began with a discussion of the hiring of Deputy Librarian Patricia Renfro, who by all accounts had been chosen from a very selective pool of applicants. Everyone agreed that the selection process had been excellent, and all were looking forward to Ms. Renfro’s arrival in April.

The Committee also discussed, at some length, the problem of food and drink in the Library. It investigated whether the problem was due to the café in the Library or to outside food and drink. It was discovered that the problem of food and drink actually increased when the café was closed. The Committee commented on the problem of enforcement saying it was very hard to try to get people to change their behavior if there were no consequences to their actions. The Library will attempt to combat the problem in a different way: instead of claiming food and drink is harmful to the books it will attempt a strategy of asking people not to eat or drink in the Library out of concern for others who are using the Library.

The Committee discussed a concern of graduate students that there were not sufficient quiet, locking vestibules for prolonged study in the Library. The Committee acknowledged that this was a problem and that the compartments in Butler on floors 7, 8, and 9 were known to be in need of renovation. However, these areas were not due for renovation until 2004. The capital plan of 2002-03 will consider their renovation.

The graduate students also raised the issue of whether there was some way to renew books without having to physically carry the books back to the Library. The Committee saw that this was a problem, though they could not come to a solution. Although several alternatives were discussed, none seemed compatible with both the Library’s existing systems and available labor power.

In addition the Committee discussed, at length, the New Media Center and its capabilities, especially in helping to create faculty homepages. The Committee thought the center had an interesting proposal of having a faculty member trained over the summer, with pay, to help design the curriculum related web sites in his/her department. Although it was questioned if there was any faculty member who would be willing to devote the time necessary.

The Committee then discussed the discrepancy between the facilities of departments, some having their own technical support staff who could design or help design these faculty websites. However, it was realized that this was fundamentally a problem of resources. It was generally agreed upon that an effort should be made so that every course is listed on the web, with a short description and/or a syllabus, though there was some doubt to whether or not this already existed. It was agreed that if faculty wanted to create a website with capabilities exceeding this basic structure it should be their own prerogative to create it, with the help of the New Media Center and should not be mandated.