THE UC BERKELEY LIBRARY IN THE 1990s
A PROGRESS REPORT
The Library at UC Berkeley consists of the Main (Doe) Library and 20 specialized branches reporting to the University Librarian. Thirteen specialized "Affiliated Libraries", reporting to Deans or Directors, complement The Library's collections and services. Historically, the Berkeley campus has aspired to excellence in all academic program areas, and ensuring the excellence of Berkeley's library collections has been of paramount concern to the faculty. As early as 1942, the collections were judged to be among the strongest in the nation, surpassed only by those of the Library of Congress and Harvard (study conducted by the American Library Association Board on Resources of American Libraries). Subsequent studies supported the assessment of quality. Moreover, Berkeley's collections have been important to the state of California because Berkeley serves as a resource library for other libraries in the state.
While the collections are important to Berkeley's faculty, of almost equal importance is the quality of the Library's branches. The campus maintains an extensive branch library system, and each specialized branch is expected to have strong collections and provide a full range of services in a defined subject area. In the branches, faculty and graduate students expect to find an intellectual center, convenient access to collections, staff with subject expertise and services tailored to their needs.
In 1989/90, the University ceased funding of its libraries by formula, and transferred funding responsibility to the campuses. At the same time, California entered the worst recession since the great depression, creating serious funding deficits within the University as a whole. The recession combined with the shift in the funding mechanism for libraries created new tensions as The Library attempted to maintain its historical quality - a level of quality still expected by the faculty - within ever declining resources for both collections and operations. By 1998, The Library had lost more than 30% of its staff and 40% of its librarians through reductions in the operating budget, and 30-40% of the purchasing power of its collections budget through inflation. Although in many respects library services were more effective than in the past, due in large part to aggressive re-engineering, establishment of performance measures for service operations, and use of technology to improve productivity of both staff and library users, there remain many deficiencies and gaps, a number of which will affect the lives of future scholars as well as today's.
The current state of The Library cannot be captured in a simple statement. There are a number of weaknesses and threats to our ability to serve users, yet at the same time there are many strengths and successes. Berkeley's library faces the same problems and questions as do other research libraries. But the precipitous nature of the decline in budgetary resources coupled with the continuation of our (faculty and librarians, alike) aspirations to build a great research library perhaps heighten the difficulty of coming to resolution about the nature and direction of the Berkeley Library's future. The remainder of this document describes in some detail how library staff assess the strengths and weaknesses. In summary, they can perhaps be summarized as follows:
Collections: Although the historical collections are strong and well-preserved, current funding levels for new acquisitions jeopardize both current and prospective research. There is a serious need for budget augmentations, preferably in a multi-year agreement with the campus administration, but equally important is the need to find a way to educate the campus community and to make choices about which collections to maintain at research level and which to allow to fall to a study level.Strengths:
Operations: The Operations budget cannot support the current range of services that the campus community expects. Major needs for additional funding exist in two areas: Equipment replacement and facilities. In addition, there must be additional funding for support staff to keep branches and other public services operating smoothly, or, in the absence of new money, either a process for deciding which services can be curtailed, or a willingness to investigate the potential for extensive re-engineering of public service operations to reduce costs and maintain service levels.
Staffing: Berkeley's staff is energetic and committed. Yet seven years of retrenchment have caused several problems. First, the attrition-based model for personnel reduction has caused random vacancies in critical areas. If The Library is to support research and teaching adequately, some way must be found to rebuild the professional cadre and ensure that subject specialists are available to support academic programs. Second, as new staff, with new outlooks, and recent education are hired, they invigorate established staff, who, in turn, have the opportunity to mentor a new generation. These opportunities for professional renewal and mentoring have been absent from Berkeley for almost a decade. While we know that staffing levels of the past will not be rebuilt, some augmentation will be necessary for program maintenance and professional renewal.
Professional salaries: Librarian salaries within the University of California are not adequate to recruit the best professionals. Recent graduates, such as those from SIMS, have employment choices in the private sector that pay significantly higher salaries than the campus can pay librarians. If we are to be successful at recruitment and retention, Berkeley may have to explore the use of other personnel series for new hires.
Campus Environment: The campus bureaucracies frequently make innovation difficult. For example, it can often be a lengthy process to establish proper staff compensation rates, there is inadequate support for supervisors who need help dealing with personnel problems, and the processing of reclassification requests is labor-intensive and time-consuming. The technical infrastructure of campus business systems needs to be upgraded, and is scheduled to be improved through the Berkeley Financial System. But equally problematic are policies and procedures that entail excessive paper work and levels of approval. For example, purchase orders move slowly through a multitude of campus offices, and attempts to develop revenue-generating programs are stalled when they are perceived as challenges to Berkeley's norms. Library staff are committed to working with others on the campus to improve the climate for innovation and the efficiency and effectiveness of internal processes, but we face many obstacles in our pursuit of these goals.
Staff: Berkeley's Library staff have shown resilience along with great willingness to change and move forward. Massive re-engineering has been accomplished with few grievances, and many staff have found rewarding new careers within the Library through voluntary re-assignment. The staff development program managed by the Staff Development Committee and LAUC's professional travel money have assisted staff and librarians to contribute professionally and to learn new skills. To capitalize on the strength of the staff, the library needs to develop more systematic staff development programs and to establish incentives for librarians to engage in research and creative work, or to exercise national leadership.Opportunities:
Instructional Services: The Berkeley Library's teaching programs have been successfully integrated into many undergraduate courses. Our goal is to include a Teaching Library component in every undergraduate feeder course that could benefit from such a program. To accomplish this goal will require both additional staff and improved facilities.
Technology: The Library is a leader in developing technology-based services and in digital library research and development. Continuation and expansion of our programs to foster user self-sufficiency will improve services and reduce costs. There is a need to begin to move some of the operational aspects of our digital library research and development program onto operations funds and off of soft funds, as soft funds are not as easily garnered for operational programs as for research and development.
Campus Partnerships: The Library works actively with a number of campus partners to provide services to the campus community. Although historical organizational boundaries may create barriers to collaboration, these barriers are gradually lessening, and our inter-unit effectiveness growing. Particularly strategic are our partnerships with IS&T (in many areas including: Instructional Technology, Workstation Support, Networking, Museum Informatics, Social Science Computing Labs), Undergraduate Affairs (particularly the Office of Media Services and Housing & Dining), Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, The Berkeley Language Center, and UC DATA.
Development/grants: The Berkeley library has been notably successful at raising extramural funds for collections, preservation, editorial projects, and digital library development. This program could be expanded through investment of additional resources. Raising The Library's capital campaign goal, in particular, could form the foundation for expansion of the ongoing annual and major gifts program. In the very long term, development of significant endowment could reduce the stress on the state fund budget.
Facilities: Many of The Library's facilities will require seismic upgrading in the next decade (see section on facilities for more information). These projects offer opportunities to modernize library services so that they can serve faculty and students better at lower cost. Recent construction of the Biosciences, Business, and Main Stack libraries have created improved environments for research, and are more heavily used than their predecessor facilities. The state-funded seismic correction projects do not include money for deferred maintenance nor program improvement. Yet, when undertaken in the window created by seismic projects, those investments have great payoff in improved future services.
Revenue: The Library has investigated alternatives for revenue generation. Although it seems unlikely that revenue from any of these programs will be significant in addressing the Library's funding problems, possibilities for generating annual revenues of a few hundred thousand dollars do exist, and should be pursued to the extent that they do not conflict with services to the campus' academic mission.
PLANNING AND RESPONDING TO A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT:
In January 1995, The Library established its "Strategic Principles and Objectives for The Library Budget Planning Process" (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/AboutLibrary/reports/strat195.html) to guide collections, programs and services for the subsequent three years. The primary goal of that plan was to lay a foundation for becoming the finest research library in the world. The foundation rested on three principles:
1. The Library's mission: to provide faculty, students and the public with access to collections, information resources and services which enable world class research, teaching and service. Recognizing that input measurements such as the ARL rankings do not measure library quality from the user's point of view, the plan emphasizes the intention to develop collections in close consultation with faculty and to develop new measurements of the library's usefulness to research and teaching. This goal implies a continuation of the historical commitment to quality, but with greater focus, or limits. The keys to success in achieving the goal are twofold: to gain campus consensus on those areas in which we will continue to aspire to excellence; and development of new ways of assessing quality.
2. Collections: to build and preserve one of the great research collections in the world as the primary means of enabling world class research, teaching and service. The plan emphasizes that information technology budgets and programs be shaped by collection priorities, which derive from the needs of the campus' instructional programs and needs. Information technology and resource sharing are two mechanisms through which needed items not owned at Berkeley will be delivered to faculty and students. The plan further recognizes the importance of Berkeley's role as a resource library for the state of California.
3. Funding: to emphasize effective management, fundraising for endowments, and revenue producing enterprises consistent with the library's academic mission.
Following on these principles, the three-year plan describes goals and objectives in three program areas: Collections, Research Support, and Instructional Services.
PROGRESS TOWARDS ACHIEVEMENT OF THE PLAN'S GOALS
At the outset of the period encompassed by the three-year plan, The Library had experienced three successive operations budget cuts beginning in 1989/90, and had not received regular inflation-generated increases to the collections budget since 1989. Although the operations budget reductions of $3.8M in recurring funds between FY 1990/91 and FY 1994/95 had been accompanied by early retirement incentives which reduced personnel by some 20%, the base budget was not adequate to support recurring personnel, basic supplies, equipment and equipment replacement, and facilities costs. Without budgetary relief, the Library ran the risk of running a $1.2M per year structural deficit. Thus, a precondition for moving forward with the program plan would be either significant change in the types, extent, or quality of services offered, or large-scale re-engineering to reduce the costs of operations. Moreover, during the spring of 1995, The Library learned that there would be further operations budget cut of almost $800,000 over fiscal years 1996 and 1997. In short, The Library was challenged to reduce recurring operations costs $2M over two years.
In response to this serious fiscal situation, The Library embarked on a massive re-engineering effort. Re-engineering was selected in preference to service curtailments as a first-stage effort. Preceding the re-engineering itself, four task forces (technical services, administrative services, academic services, and collections) consisting of several dozen staff reviewed the work being done in The Library and made recommendations for re-engineering and cost reduction.
Since the greatest cost savings and potential service improvements were likely to occur in Access and Administrative Services, a two-year re-engineering effort was begun in those areas. Access Services included the central technical services, interlibrary services, Main/Moffitt Circulation, the Northern Regional Library Facility, and the Library Systems Office. The objectives of this re-engineering were not only to reduce costs and improve services in the short term, but also to create a foundation on which further cost reductions and services could occur. The re-engineering project was largely successful. Technical Services was reduced in size to approximately 50 FTE (it had included more than 150 FTE just ten years earlier), services provided by vendors extensively utilized, and timeliness of processing improved. Internal re-engineering and increased use of vendor services was accompanied by a move of the technical services staff to Moffitt, where the operations were restructured into a single department and work processes completely redesigned.
Main/Moffitt Circulation services were also restructured, systematic projects to improve record quality and collection security were implemented, and costs reduced. The Library moved into the new Main Stacks in the fall of 1994, and this move enabled circulation services to be performed more efficiently. However, at the same time, the use of compact shelving made sweeps, reshelving, and shelf-reading more difficult. The Library worked collaboratively with other campus units to implement online connections between its automated system and the Campus Accounts Receivables System (CARS), eliminating the need to transmit paper-based forms for overdue and replacement bills.
Interlibrary Services were reorganized from several units into a single department, and much of the work automated. During this process, costs for borrowing were reduced 13.8%; those for lending were reduced 26.6%. Turn-around time for Berkeley is 21% faster than is the mean turn-around time for peers.
Administrative Services were re-engineered, and numerous functions eliminated or reorganized. For example, three building management units were consolidated, the library supply room reorganized and reduced in size, transportation and mail delivery services consolidated, architectural staff eliminated, mailroom operations restructured and number of deliveries reduced, secretarial staff reduced, accounting and general ledger functions in Acquisition and the Library Business Office consolidated, and the position of Library Buyer eliminated. The Library has just initiated a second phase of administrative restructuring, with a focus on improving processes and systems.
Although the staff FTE were reduced significantly during the two years of the re-engineering projects, there is still considerable pressure on the operations budget. The two largest "unfunded" expenses include equipment replacement at some $650,000 per year, and expenses related to seismic work. Without budget relief for these two items, additional re-engineering of library operations must be done, or service reductions contemplated. Although there will be continuing incremental efficiencies in technical services, it is not likely that we can recover large savings during the next three years. Project costs for Main Circulation's record upgrading and security projects will be completed this year, resulting in 1-1.5 FTE savings. And implementation of some new, automated, features to make users more self sufficient will have small beneficial effects on recurring operations expenditures. Nevertheless, in the absence of operations budget increases, The Library must reduce staff by another 20-30 positions in order to be in a stable fiscal situation. There is as yet no consensus within The Library, nor on campus, on how to realize these savings.
One proposal would be to re-engineer functional areas across all library services, including both Main and branches. But this idea presents two difficulties. First, the savings cannot be accurately estimated without pilot efforts, only one of which (involving the Physical Science Libraries) has begun. But more problematical is that re-engineering in branches and public services outside of Main Circulation and Interlibrary Services is controversial and challenges branch autonomy. A second way to cut costs would be to reduce services across the board, or selectively. But attaining consensus on how to cut is difficult, and frequently causes dissent outside of The Library as well as within. Because of the transition to a new librarian, decisions regarding priorities for operations funding will most likely be postponed until the next University Librarian is in place. Pending decisions about programmatic priorities, almost all services are scheduled to take across-the-board cuts of 4.75% in each of the next two years.
The following sections provide a status report on The Library's achievement of the goals in its three-year plan. Technology underpins many of these goals; thus The Library's technology strategy is described in its own report.
The "Library's Strategic Principles and Objectives for The Library Budget Planning Process" (January 1995) had as its highest goal "to continue to build and preserve one of the great research collections in the world as the primary means of enabling world class research, teaching and service." In the period since the establishment of the plan, there have been a number of important developments in the Library's collection development activities. Chief among them has been the need to address materials price inflation which remains significantly greater than the general inflation level of the economy, averaging 10-12% per year in the case of our serials holdings. It is important to note that the campus has provided significant relief for a part of the Library's lost purchasing power, in the form of (A) a three-year commitment of $940,000 per year (non-permanent) increases to the materials base budget, (B) through two consecutive annual (non-permanent) allocations of $250,000 for digital library acquisitions, and (C) a $310,000 (permanent) augmentation to the materials budget in FY 1998 to offset partially the need for serials reductions. Nonetheless the cumulative effect of these temporary and permanent augmentations has never completely offset the loss of purchasing power to inflation, and this has necessitated a serials cancellation project in both spring 1996 and spring 1997, with the prospect of another serials cancellation project in spring 1998. Simply put, the Library finds itself in a cyclic pattern of being forced to reduce its acquisitions of new materials each year (chiefly through serials cancellations, given the already-precarious level of support for monographs in many scholarly disciplines) by an amount equal to the difference between the level of library materials cost inflation and any additional campus funding (both permanent and temporary) which is intended to offset it. The allocation of specific funds for digital acquisitions (B above), however, has at least temporarily allowed the Library to make significant progress in building its digital content during the past and present fiscal years, as detailed below.
In short, we have not achieved our objective of "continue[ing] to build one of the great research collections in the world as a primary means of enabling world class research, teaching, and service," particularly in collecting traditional printed materials. Since the late 1980s we have reduced our serials subscriptions globally of materials from all provenances - including purchases, exchanges, and gifts - by more than 20%: from over 100,000 titles to fewer than 80,000 today. Moreover our level of monographic collecting has suffered even more precipitous decreases over the same period. Without a firm commitment from the campus to fund at least some portions of inflation-driven cost increases for library materials, and a multi-year budget planning cycle to allow us to develop longer-term strategies to manage the collections budget, including both print and digital resources, it is unlikely that the objective of maintaining a great research collection can be achieved. Even the addition of significant new resources of privately-raised funding and new revenue-generating initiatives which we envision do not appear to be capable of offsetting the effects of inflation at the levels which have become customary during the past decade.
The result of this disequilibrium will translate into a continued weakening of the collections, in some cases to levels which will clearly not support first-class research and teaching programs according to traditional criteria. While all research libraries face these problems of expanding publications and constrained collections budgets, Berkeley's situation appears to be worse than the norm. That is, Berkeley's Library is slipping relative to its peers in funding for library acquisitions. The implications of the deterioration in Berkeley's ability to acquire research collections are that the library will be increasingly unable to support campus research from its own resources, and that it will become less and less attractive as a partner those cooperative activities and programs that rely on some degree of parity in collection strength. Traditionally, Berkeley's strongest partner in cooperative collection development has been Stanford. But Stanford has made much greater investments in its collections over the past seven years than has Berkeley. And the Stanford campus supports many fewer academic programs and faculty than does the Berkeley campus (in fact, Berkeley has PhD programs in more areas than any other research University). Thus, there is a risk that Berkeley's demands on the Stanford collections may, over time, outstrip Stanford's willingness to lend, particularly if Berkeley's collections cannot sustain research-level quality in areas of Stanford faculty's research interest.
Alignment of the collections with the campus' academic priorities. The "Strategic Principles and Objectives" outline a number of areas in which the Library seeks to evaluate and improve its performance in providing information resources to users. One of the most important is to align collections more closely with campus academic priorities. If setting library collections and service priorities is difficult, it is even more difficult to establish campus academic priorities, at least in a relativistic way. At Berkeley, every academic discipline, department, and program aspires to excellence, and therefore desires library collections of similar calibre. So long as there is no campus consensus about which collections The Library should emphasize, and which might be less-comprehensively built, it will be difficult to do other than distribute new collections budgetary resources, or inflation-driven cuts, across the board, and this strategy would guarantee mediocrity across the board. Despite the absence of a list of priorities for collection building, The Library is working to develop data and programs that may assist in differential allocations within the collections budget.
Cooperative collecting activities. The Library's cooperative collecting activities have continued to gain momentum over the past two years, and these programs involve sister institutions around the country and around the world. The Library recognizes the importance of continued emphasis on cooperative collecting ventures, and will pursue its efforts to identify and collaborate with appropriate partners in acquiring all types of materials appropriate for our users.
Collection evaluation. In making resource allocations, The Library is undertaking to develop evaluative measures to determine the relative (numerical) size of individual academic programs on campus as a starting point in addressing the question of allocation of library resources by discipline. Mere numerically-driven ratios and formulae, however, are by themselves an inadequate means of allocating library resources, since different general categories of disciplines use and require library resources in vastly different ways. The question of interdisciplinarity also plays a pivotal role in evaluating library funding allocations to various subjects, as does the notion of what a "baseline" or minimal level of support is appropriate for even the smallest graduate program which the campus supports. The Library's Collections Advisory Group (CAG) is grappling with the difficult question of aligning library collections spending with campus priorities, and is gathering the objective data on academic programs at this time. In the coming months CAG will present a formal analysis of the problem to the Library Planning Group, with some suggested options to produce representative reallocation. It is then expected that the Library will bring this information to campus administrators and to the faculty through the Academic Senate's Committee on the Library for their review and recommendations.
Library Impact Statements. A second desirable objective is the creation of library impact statements for new academic programs and changes in existing programs: the Library remains in a reactive role in regard to new programs because there is no channel of communication to allow it to evaluate the needs of new programs in advance of their adoption, and once in place the Library is expected to fund resources for new programs from existing revenue sources. What is needed at the campus level is a formal step prior to the approval of new academic programs which would allow the Library to estimate the fiscal impact which will be created by the library needs of the new program, and a clear statement from the campus detailing the means by which these needs will be financed.
Strengthening communication between librarians and faculty members is another chief objective. Extensive communication has been necessary in planning and carrying out the serials cancellation in spring 1997 and that which must be scheduled - in the absence of assured campus funding to offset inflation - for spring 1998. But this is communication of a negative sort, designed to help library selectors do as little damage as possible through required serials cuts, and it is not as valuable as the kinds of positive communication in which faculty tell librarians in very specific terms what is needed for their research and teaching activities. Although strong communication links exist in some and perhaps many fields, there is no systematic program in the Library to assure that each organized research unit is treated in a uniform and efficacious way in surveying its Library-related needs.
Performance measures for library collections. Another initiative towards developing data on which differential resource allocations can be made is the development of performance measures for library collections. Through a planning grant from the Council on Library Resources, we are conducting a pilot project to develop a set of qualitative and quantitative measures for evaluating the performance and costs of research library collections and other types of information services. The purpose of this study is to develop measures that might routinely be used to allocate scarce resources. The pilot project has four major components.
First, through survey methodology, faculty and graduate students in seven departments are being asked to describe how they use the library. For example, questions ask in some detail: What collections do they use? How frequently? What is their pattern of use of digital resources? Do they use document delivery services? Do they use reference services? What unmet needs do they have? The pilot survey was developed during spring of 1997, and distributed to users this fall. The surveys have just been returned, and will be tabulated during the next month.
Second, quantitative measures of library collections use are being developed. These measures measure the frequency and intensity of circulation use of subsets of the collection as well as non-use. Subject categories of the collection, reflecting the Library of Congress classification schedule are mapped to academic programs. The academic programs can then be assigned to the general areas of Science Social Sciences, and Humanities. Circulation statistics within each call number range are counted. The resulting usage statistics show how collections are being used at three levels of measure: subject, academic program, and general area. In addition, use patterns of faculty and graduate students in specific disciplines can be measured, leading to better information about the types and range of library collections actually used, beyond those encompassed in the relevant Library of Congress classification. The use data will be compared to the data from the surveys to assess differences in patterns of use among the disciplines studied, to correlate actual and reported usage, and to form the basis for longitudinal assessment. Usage data can be employed in storage decision as well.
In addition, journal use studies have been implemented in all branches. Based on pilot studies in Engineering and Biosciences, branches used portable barcode readers to count items to be returned to the shelves through return or sweeps. The data are uploaded monthly, analyzed, and made available on a spreadsheet. These data can be used for serial cancellation projects, and also contribute to our knowledge about how intensively particular kinds of collections are used.
Third, using a one-time budget supplement from the campus, several document delivery pilot projects have been designed to test acceptability of document delivery for materials in lieu of collections.
Fourth, cost data are being gathered to help guide future decisions about ownership of vs access to scholarly information.
Data from the study will be used to help communicate information about the use of library collections to the campus community. It is hoped that concrete data will assist us in making decisions about how to allocate our collections budget among various disciplines. A second benefit may be to reduce the fear that digital information may be replacing print information to the detriment of research.
The Digital Library. Although the state of Berkeley's traditional collecting of printed materials is not positive given the goals of the "Strategic Principles and Objectives," the situation with regard to digital library materials is considerably more positive. Thanks to two consecutive special budget allocations from The Vice Chancellor in Fiscal Years 1997 and 1998 to acquire digital content, the Library has added more than two dozen discrete full-text and A&I databases in Internet-accessible form and over 100 more through the local CD-ROM network. The digital library supplement has enabled the Library to provide very significant electronic content to our users in virtually every field in which it is available and for which we maintain a collecting interest.
It is important to note in connection with campus digital library initiatives that funding for digital content is by and large not at the expense of traditional print collections, as the special nature of The Vice Chancellor's Digital Library funding demonstrates. In terms of the overall collections budget, approximately 97% of collections funds are used to support print collections and other "traditional" formats of scholarly materials such as microcopies, maps, sound recordings films; only about three percent of collections funding is spent on materials in new electronic formats.
In addition, the Library will benefit from content acquired through the UC-wide California Digital Library. The CDL will fund the difference in cost between the print resources currently acquired by UC libraries and their digital equivalents as the latter come to market. A difficulty with this funding strategy is that it depends on campus funding for inflation and content-driven price increases that might be included in a multi-year contract. Moreover, the CDL itself has no guarantees for inflation-driven budget increases; thus the same kinds of funding uncertainties and deficits in campus budgets inhere in the CDL as well.
Conservation and preservation. The Library has prided itself in the quality of its conservation and preservation program, the largest and most comprehensive in the western United States. Unfortunately, shortfalls in the collections budget, compounded by retrenchments in operations, have resulted in a diminishment of the program. Most pressing is the lack of adequate funding for repair and replacement of damaged materials in the printed collections. We are now unable to preserve all of even those heavily-used materials which require treatment each year merely in order to allow them to be circulated, and we have had to abandon systematic preservation efforts for less-used materials unless specialized grant funding for designated projects can be raised. As a subset of conservation issues, the Library has allocated funds from the bill replacement fund to purchase new copies of materials to replace these lost items; the impact of this change is that for the first time in a number of years the Library has had a substantial source of funding to replace missing items ($100,000 in this fiscal year). A long-term goal must be to restore some of the lost institutional funds to the preservation program. In addition, creation of endowment, and renewed emphasis on grants must complement these institutional funds. One success has been improving the security of Main Stack collections. Through a three-year funding effort, all materials will have security treatment by spring 1998; and the Library security program of entrance and exit control complemented by roving guards has had a noticeable effect on theft and damage from food or abuse.
Scholarly Communication. Recognizing that the collections funding problem is not merely reflective of funding problems within the University of California, but also a symptom of widespread economic problems in scholarly publishing, The Library has actively sought to investigate possible new roles for itself as an agent of scholarly communication. The Library and the University of California Press share two grants, totaling almost $1M, from the Mellon Foundation to explore new models of library/press cooperation, and the potential for exploitation of digital technology to address the cost crisis in scholarly publication. This project, called SCAN (Scholarship from California on the Net) will enable the press to make selected journals and monographs available online, and will entail careful economic analysis of the costs and potential revenue implications of this transition.
In a second project, The Library collaborated with the Computer Science Department to transfer the NCSTRL collection of computer science technical reports from its status as an R&D project, to an operational program within The Library. These two projects have elucidated the difficulties of and potential for changing scholarly communication. In SCAN, the traditional processes of peer review and editorial investment have not changed; thus the costs of creating online publication are an add-on to the costs for creating print. However, in NCSTRL, there is no peer review, and no editorial function. The costs of initial creation of the digital content is low because texts are received in machine-readable form from the authors; and costs of maintaining print inventories are eliminated. It is not clear that The Library plays a critical role in scholarly publishing of the SCAN type, but there is obvious potential for us to facilitate dissemination of scholarly information outside of the traditional peer-review system.
In summarizing The Library's collecting activities since the development of the "Strategic Principles and Objectives", it is necessary to observe that, while specialized funding has allowed us to make real progress in capturing digital content for our users, even the addition of significant sums from the campus in FYs 97 and 98 for print collections has not allowed the Library to maintain its historical rate of acquisitions during that period. And there has been no attempt to recover any of the serious funding erosion the collections experienced over the period 1989-1996. With the notable exception of our digital collections - which, it must be stressed, were not built at the expense of our print collections, but with specially-designated "new" campus funding - the state of the Library's collections in spring 1998 is notably weaker than in spring 1995.
At this time, the campus faces a critical juncture. Will we, through continuously declining collections budgets vis-à-vis peer institutions, redefine the Library as a set of collections less capable of supporting research for academic programs on the campus; or can ways be found for Berkeley's collection to remain among the premier collections in the world? If the former, there are serious questions about the library's ability, over time, to rely on the collections of other institutions. Berkeley's faculty place very great demands on library collections in a panoply of disciplines, and there are very few libraries in the country with collections strong enough to support this demand. Will Berkeley's partners continue to supply us with resources if our ability to reciprocate declines? And will the information suppliers begin to charge for this access in order to moderate demand on their own collections? The answers to these questions are unknown.
While the picture for collections is serious, there have been many successes in the Library's research service programs despite continuing reductions in the operating budget. Many of the improvements have resulted from more sophisticated use of technology, others from reconfiguration of facilities and reorganization of staff. At the same time, there have been reductions in reference desk staffing, and the results of clustering for administrative efficiency remain to be determined.
Access. Technology has provided significant opportunities to improve access services throughout the Library. Most sweeping was the introduction of Pathfinder, The Library's web-based online catalog. Pathfinder provides online access to information about Berkeley's holdings and also contains hyper links to Internet resources and Z39.50 links to Melvyl and similar databases. It has significantly more powerful search capabilities than its text-based predecessor, GLADIS. A valuable Pathfinder service is the ability for users to see online inventories of materials they have charged out, and to renew them online. Formerly, patrons had to come to a circulation desk to get an inventory, and renewals required a telephone call or visit to a desk. By spring 1998, overdue and recall notices will be sent via E-mail rather than postcard, eliminating the delays of the campus mail system, and reducing postage costs.
The UCB Library Web continues to develop and to improve. In large part through the Vice-Chancellor's $250,000 digital library supplement, several hundred electronic journals and dozens of electronic reference and indexing and abstracting services are available on the Web, linked to both the Pathfinder catalog and to Library home pages. Like most libraries' webs, the Library's web reflects the organization of The Library itself. Thus, where to go to find needed information is not always clear to the user. A high priority is redesign of the web to correspond more closely to the questions that the user might ask rather than to the organization of the traditional library. In addition, new organizational principles to bring together related information, to help the user filter and sort information, and to navigate the web, must be explored. The Public Services Advisory Group has launched a web redesign, and the Digital Library Research and Development Department is looking at ways to employ metadata to achieve these goals. In addition, The Library, Information Systems and Technology, and Undergraduate Affairs are developing a project proposal to design a web specifically tailored to undergraduates' information needs.
In 1997/98, information about the holdings of the Northern Regional Storage Facility became available through Pathfinder, overcoming a decade and a half of inadequate bibliographic access to there resources. The inclusion of NRLF records in Pathfinder will, by spring 1998, allow patrons to initiate their own online paging requests from the remote storage facility. (Currently, patrons must submit handwritten requests at Library circulation desks.)
Access to interlibrary resources is also being improved. Not only has turn-around time for interlibrary borrowing and lending been improved, this spring The Library will introduce electronic delivery of articles to the user's desk-top via the web. Developed collaboratively by Interlibrary Services and the Library Systems, this system will allow UCB faculty to request articles electronically and then retrieve digitized copies of those articles at their homes or offices. The process starts with an authentication step and is followed by a faculty member=s requesting an article through Pathfinder. Once the article is retrieved by ILS, it will be digitized on a Minolta "face up" scanner and stored on a web site. An E-mail message including a URL that can be used to retrieve the article will then be sent to the faculty member. The system will also be used to deliver articles from the Northern Regional Library Facility. The web-based delivery will eliminate the time-lag created by paper mail, and, in the case of Ariel documents, will eliminate paper altogether.
The oncampus docuement delivery system, BAKER, is using the same technology to provide online user-initiated document requesting and web-delivery.
Reference and Research Services. The decline in staff caused by operations budget reductions has had serious implications for reference services. Through three successive early retirement incentive programs, and subsequent staff attrition, hundreds of years of professional expertise has been eliminated from The Library, and there are no longer enough people available to maintain former levels of service at all service points. Although active programs of user instruction and use of technology to create online tutorials and guides may partially substitute for reference assistance, the loss of staff and expertise has been noticeable.
During 1996-1998, The Main/Moffitt Libraries closed two of its general reference services: that in Moffitt, and the General Reference Service in the Main Reading Room. General Reference Services for the Main Library are now concentrated in the Information Center, which leads into the new Main Stack. The service includes 40 library workstations through which a growing corpus of digital reference resources is available and about 7,000 volumes of heavily used printed reference materials. This service is staffed largely by highly-trained library assistants, although specialist librarians also serve a few hours per week. For the most part, however, subject specialists are available through appointment rather than on the general reference desk. The end result is lower-cost reference service, but perhaps compromised in its ability to serve the specialized researcher. We must, in the next year, devise methodology for assessing the quality of this new service, and for gauging user satisfaction.
Taking advantage of seismic correction projects in the Main Library, librarians have worked closely with faculty to create specialized library spaces that have the qualities that faculty and graduate students value in the branch libraries, but that either reduce or do not increase costs. The first such facility was the Government and Social Sciences Information Service, inaugurated in late fall 1994 in the former Loan Hall. Combining services formerly part of the Government Documents and Collection Development and Reference Services Departments, this new service provides reference and research services, study and consultation space, convenient access to selected core journals, and a repository for graduate reserve readings.
Similar planning efforts have defined two additional services, to open within the next two years: The Humanities Reference and Research Collection and the International and Area Studies Service. These two new facilities will provide services tailored to the needs of these scholars, core collections, and spaces for quiet study and group consultation. The adjacency of these new spaces to the Government and Social Sciences Information Service will provide opportunities for fruitful exchange of ideas among scholars in different, but related, fields and subfields.
In the branch libraries, staffed reference desks have been eliminated in all except the largest branches. To meet demand for reference services in the northeast quadrant of campus, we are considering a proposal to create a Physical Sciences Reference Center in the Engineering Library. This center would serve Physics, Chemistry, Math, Astronomy, Statistics, and Earth Sciences - clientele who are no longer served by individual staffed reference desks. This proposal has not yet been discussed with affected faculty.
Because of the decline in staff, it has frequently been difficult for branches to assign appropriate levels of staff to the work that needs to be done. Thus, librarians may help with circulation tasks while support staff provide information services.
Based on a recommendation from the Academic Services Planning Group, a Physical Sciences Libraries Cluster was established pooling staff and student resources for the Math, Physics and Chemistry libraries. The Earth Sciences/Maps library will be added to the cluster in 1998. The primary goal is to preserve and increase the amount of academic staff time available for the design and delivery of research and instructional services. A secondary, but key goal is to retain the specialized qualities of these units: subject expertise and knowledge, sense of place, the "friendly face at the desk". Other goals of the clustering are to reduce the uncertainties connected with reduced staffing; to increase organizational flexibility to meet the demands of constant change, shrinking resources and growing user demands; and to foster innovative solutions and approaches. A third goal is to drive down the cost of support services. Staff in the branch cluster are supervised by a cluster leader who has provided remedial training and built the support staff into a team. After a year, it appears that this type of clustering may create some economies of scale and can assist the smaller branches by providing expertise and resources to ensure that necessary work gets done.
A similar clustering plan is proposed for the Social Sciences and Professional School branches. Pending selection of a cluster leader, these branches have experimented informally with a number of staff rotations, cross-training, mutual support agreements and "traveling" processing staff. Other ideas are to approach these services on a Library-wide basis, and to collaborate with central Technical Services and Circulation departments to increase the staffing available to the smaller units.
Although these clustering and re-engineering ideas have been successful to some extent in reducing costs and providing reliable coverage during hours of opening, there are simply not enough staff available to perform all necessary work in the number of branches and other public service units that the Library maintains. In addition, there are a number of subject-specialist vacancies that cannot be filled until staff reductions in other areas bring the operations budget into balance. Thus, the goal of developing staff allocations and management structures that permit librarians to focus on academic responsibilities and that ensure that the basic work of the branches is carried out effectively remains to be fully met. Moreover, emerging user demands for improved network-based services challenge librarians to invent new ways of providing services to students and faculty. While still of vital importance to scholars and students alike, no longer is reference the sine qua non of library service. The next century may require that the librarian also be more actively engaged in teaching, provide intellectual leadership in the development of interactive online services, and form partnerships to foster scholarly communication. Defining the role of the librarian at Berkeley is a vital challenge that must be tackled with at least as much alacrity as have been the re-engineering challenges of the 1990s.
The Library's goal is to ensure that instruction in the use of information resources is an integral part of the curriculum and campus life at Berkeley. In the past five years, since the inception of the Teaching Library in 1993, the number of group instructional sessions and students reached has exploded. This renewed focus on group instruction follows an all-time low for library teaching, after three years of early retirements in which remaining staff had been reassigned from the undergraduate library and instructional activities to focus on collection development. Unfortunately, the decrease in staff devoted to teaching coincided with a burgeoning of electronic resources and increasing need for students to have guidance in their use. Berkeley attracts the finest undregraduates, but California ranks fiftieth among the fifty states in support for school libraries. Therefore, many entering students have little familiarity with libraries, and no experience in finding, evaluating, and using information resources.
As a result of renewed, enthusiastic, support from top library administration for teaching, not only did the Teaching Library increase its audience, but group instruction library wide in all disciplines dramatically increased. In 1993, The Library reached about 10,000 people through group instruction. By 1996/97, that number had doubled to more than 20,000. Teaching and classroom instruction remains a primary function in branch libraries as well as in the Teaching Library. Two-thirds of the instruction in the library system takes place through branch libraries. Despite this vast increase in students reached through the instructional program, demand continues to outstrip our ability to provide courses.
In order more fully to realize our instructional program, The Library, in cooperation with campus partners (including the Instructional Technology Program of Information Systems and Technology, Undergraduate Affairs' Office of Media Services, and the Dean of Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies) has proposed a complete renovation of Moffitt Library. As yet unfunded, the program is gradually evolving through smaller investments in renovation of the physical facility. But there is still a need to bring together scattered campus services into some new programs along the lines of those in the undergraduate libraries at Stanford or Washington. (For the Moffitt Proposal, see Instructional section of the binder). The Library has also worked with academic departments to include instructional and computing laboratory space in close proximity to branch libraries. Successful programs of library instruction and drop-in computing now are in effect in the Bioscience and Business Libraries.
The Library's instructional objectives are as follows:
1. Every Berkeley undergraduate must become skilled in selecting and using information, whether print or digital.
To achieve this objective, Librarians and staff work closely with each other and with faculty to integrate library assignments with course work. In many cases, staff have been successful in adding an "information resources lab" to lower division courses: for example, History 7B; Political Science 1; Biology 1B; Environmental Design library instruction to students in architecture, city planning and landscape architecture; Business/Economics Library's specialized Lexis-Nexis instruction for all business graduate students; and the Chemistry Library's instructional program for the Minerva Crossfire system.
In addition, Internet classes have burgeoned from one gopher class, to three levels of drop-in web classes offered each semester and in summer. And, in rethinking the web, staff are also exploring how to teach via online tutorials.
Specially targeted instruction aimed at special groups of students through programs such as Undergraduate Research Apprentices, Miller Scholars, McNair Scholars, Re-entry Program, etc. are rapidly growing, and provide an ideal opportunity to work with the office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies to introduce students to the library at the beginning of their college experience.
2. Determine the information competency levels of our students, and support user research.
Evaluation and user research are important parts of the instructional program. The Library's User Research Coordinator has conducted information literacy surveys of graduating seniors in social sciences and humanities to determine the skills of our students. We wanted to learn what they knew or did not know upon graduation so that we could focus our instruction on strengthening skills they lacked. In addition, each class, whether course-integrated or drop-in includes an evaluation component.
The User Research Coordinator is taking responsibility for carrying out the CLR-funded Performance Measures Project to develop a set of qualitative and quantitative measures for evaluating the performance and costs of research library collections and other types of information services.
3. Support instruction by creating improved seminar/training facilities.
Following the seismic strengthening of Moffitt Library, the Library received a minor capital improvement grant to build out three instructional rooms in the new corners created by seismic shear walls. These seminar/training rooms have been enormously successful; The Library anticipates adding another stack of classrooms in the near future. As mentioned above, creation of instructional spaces in all libraries is a long-term goal, and one that will be fostered through the seismic renovations to be carried out in four libraries over the next few years.
4. The Information Gateway has transformed the former Moffitt Reference area.
The Gateway was created through a generous gift from Pacific Bell. This gift brought the campus network and broad bandwidth into a previously "dumb" building in fall 1997. The Gateway, with its staffed help desk, introduces undergraduates to the world of information resources available to them, helps them learn how to search for information, navigate the Internet, evaluate and filter information, and find appropriate print resources. High-end workstations provide access to the online catalogs, abstracting and indexing services, full-text databases, the CD ROM network, and the Web. Immediately adjacent to the Main Stack collection of 3.5 million volumes, the Gateway serves as the portal to all of Berkeley's information resources, as well as a referral point to other services within The Library and on campus. Moffitt Library is open long hours (most nights until 2:00 am; 24 hours during finals), making this students' favored site for late-night library study and research.
5. Support graduate students in the Humanities.
Through a partnership with the Center for Studies in Higher Education, The Teaching Library, the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, and Dean of Humanities, we developed a model of how departments and disciplines can integrate new technologies into teaching and research The Library supports this program by training graduate students to create web pages and use software and by providing them with collaborative space and equipment to further the development of courses and departmental web pages.
6. Support undergraduate use of multimedia.
Campus courses and programs that depend on media are rapidly increasing, and therefore so is the demand on The Library's Multimedia Resource Center in Moffitt. In support of media programs on campus, the Multimedia Resource Center has created a sophisticated web-site that complements its extraordinary collections. As yet unrealized are several goals:
Expand space for use of audio/visual and other mixed media collections. A small expansion of the MRC is scheduled for summer, 1998. Eventually, we hope to extend the Center to encompass at least one-half of the first floor of Moffitt.7. Online course reserves.
Build a multimedia demonstration and production laboratory which students and instructors can use to create integrated audio and visual works through instructional computing technology.
Create facilities and services to help faculty integrate multimedia and electronic technologies into their teaching and course assignments. The services in these new labs would be provided through a collaborative program, including staff from IS&T's Instructional Technology Program, Undergraduate Affairs, and The Library.
The Library intends to implement an online course reserve service. This service will have the dual goals of improving access to course reserves and reducing operations costs. During the past year, the Chemistry Library began an experiment focussed on homework solutions. In this project, faculty and teaching assistants were taught to use of turn-key software package and given access to scanners for digitizing homework pages. The project was a success, and next year, we will expand the use of the system to additional courses in other departments.
Through a generous gift from the Haas Foundation course-reserve sound recordings from the Music Library are now available online through the campus network. The online music reserves system eliminates costly manual processes for music reserves by a self-service form of listening. This system can now be used for all other kinds of audio services, and The Library and the Berkeley Language Center are engaged in a pilot project to put lectures online. As the digital reserves system was being designed, The Library also automated the processes through which faculty submit reserves requests.
8. Faculty Seminars.
The Library's Instructional program is not limited to undergraduates. An important priority continues to be to help scholars keep up-to-date with new resources in their fields.
The Library Graphics Office is a part of the Teaching Library, and its goal is, whenever possible, to instruct through effective signage.
Berkeley's Library finds itself under stress from the same environmental factors that stress all research libraries, including declining resources, technological change, increasing demand, and growing questions about the appropriate role of the library and the librarian in the digital age. The response of The Library has been positive in many respects: for example, fund-raising, instructional services, improved user services, active participation in cooperative collection development, formation of productive collaborations with other campus units, strategic implementation of technology, and re-engineering of "back room" functions. At the same time, the rapidity of the decline in resources for both collections and operations has been greater than for most other research libraries, and this funding problem has exacerbated the tensions inherent to all research libraries.
In the expectation that funding will be stable for the next few years - or perhaps even increase in certain strategic areas, primary of which is the collections - The Library should look forward to improving its ability to communicate and work with the campus community to establish a program of collections and services that will meet current and future needs of scholars and students alike. The establishment of productive dialogue is essential, for it is not possible to return to the funding and service models of the early 1980's, and regardless of the funding available, there are critical questions about how the Library can best support research and teaching, what the role of librarians in the next century should be, how priorities can be set, and how to balance the needs of many different user groups. These are not easy questions, but questions of great moment for the campus, and it is only through constructive collaboration and debate that approaches to establishing campus consensus can be reached.
Copyright © 1998 by the Library, University of California,
Berkeley. All rights reserved.
Document maintained by: A. Moen
Last update 2/19/98. Server manager: Contact