2011 Fall Assembly

LAUC-B 2011 Fall Assembly
Morrison Library
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
8:30-10:00 a.m.

MINUTES

I. LAUC-B Chair Nick Robinson called the assembly to order.

II. Welcome from Beth Dupuis, Associate University Librarian

  • Gives thanks to all of those present for all that we’ve done. Important to recognize our accomplishments to demonstrate our value to the university and to renew ourselves.
  • Moffitt renovation: 60% increase in undergrad enrollment since Moffitt was built 40 years ago. In October, two focus groups with 20 undergraduates. Lots of interest in participating; library student workers were not included. Initial survey gathered input about their library use. Nearly all students favored a wide range of libraries, choosing where to go based on their purpose or mood that day. Students love libraries – especially library spaces. Moffitt may be dim and worn but is also considered critical to them. Lots of thoughts about libraries and collections. When asked about their experience with librarians, the students were pretty quiet. One student explained she thought she should be learning to be self-sufficient and not rely on others for help. In a time of rising tuition costs, students think that libraries should be getting more of their money. We need to be more visible and engaged with the students on campus, ensuring Cal graduates understand the fuller role of libraries and librarians.

III. LAUC-B Membership: Welcome to new LAUC-B member Micaela Agyare and a goodbye and thanks to former LAUC-B members who have retired or resigned: Retirees: Isabel Stirling, Allan Urbanic, Elizabeth Byrne, John Gallwey; Resignations: Daniel Hensley, Jeanne Gahagan, Theresa Stanton; Temporary positions ended: Marjorie Bryer, Amy Croft, Sara Ferguson, Elia Van Lith.

IV. LAUC Statewide Assembly: There will be a single LAUC Statewide Assembly hosted by UC Santa Cruz in the spring semester. The Assembly may be held at the UCSC Extension facility in Santa Clara.

V. LAUC-B Committee Reports: Committee reports have been sent via email to LAUC-B members. Additional reports from some committees were given at the assembly:

  • Report from Rita Evans, Chair of CAPA:
    • Rita thanked former CAPA chair Brian Quigley and the recent outgoing members, Brian Quigley, Jane Rosario, and Virginia Shih. She also thanked the continuing and incoming members of CAPA.
    • Over the past year, CAPA reviewed 33 cases, including five promotion reviews and two special reviews. They also reviewed six position announcements and participated in two interview processes for new positions. A more detailed report will be out soon and it will include data on how often CAPA and Tom Leonard agreed, among other information.
  • Report from Nick Robinson, Chair of ExComm:
    • Nick began by thanking the current members of ExComm: Sue Koskinen, Susan Edwards, Jeff Loo, Dana Jemison, Kai Stoeckenius, Jennifer Nelson, and Susan Xue, as well as CAPA Chair Rita Evans and LAUC Statewide Secretary Lily Castillo-Speed. Nick also thanked former LAUC-B secretary Shannon Supple for taking the minutes of the Fall Assembly in Jeff’s absence.
    • Among ExComm’s recent work are submitting comments from UC Berkeley on the Library Planning Task Force report, and writing and circulating a memorandum on peer review standards in an era of increased workload. There is still time to send comments on the memorandum to Nick.
    • ExComm is reviewing a fall 2007 survey on diversity and retention of librarians and considering a follow-up survey to gain current perspectives on working as a librarian at UC Berkeley.
    • Nick offered hearty congratulations and thanks to the organizers of the very successful LAUC-B conference, Fiat Flux, and gave special thanks to co-chairs I-Wei Wang and Margaret Phillips. If you are interested in helping to plan the next LAUC-B conference, in 2013, keep your eyes out for a call in 2012.
    • The Distinguished Librarian Award committee will begin their work in the spring, chaired by Sue Koskinen. Contact Sue if you are interested in joining the committee.

VI. Guest Speaker: Professor Elaine Tennant, Director of the Bancroft Library

  • Jim Spohrer introduced Professor Tennant.
  • Professor Tennant began by noting that the last time she talked to LAUC-B, it was as
    chair of the Academic Senate library committee at a time when they were focused on open access planning. Now she emphasized that she comes to us humbly as a neophyte in the world of libraries and asked LAUC-B members to join her in conversation.
  • Upon beginning her post as the new Director of the Bancroft Library, Professor Tennant wanted to better integrate the Bancroft into the teaching mission of the campus. She found, however, that it is already well integrated but awareness is low. How can we improve awareness of what libraries do, especially in lean economic times and with limited staff? The libraries are in the cross-hairs of public opinion. Though we keep the libraries open and accessible, library hours are limited – Bancroft, for example, is not open on weekends or in the evening. How can we make better use of public outreach? We can do this with better coordination of our message. One initiative is to seek opportunities surrounding the upcoming Ansel Adams exhibition, which is a centerpiece for a variety of events happening statewide in 2012.
  • Professor Tennant’s priorities for her time at Bancroft include addressing her concerns about library staff. Human resources seem to be most endangered and least attended to as the libraries take continuous financial hits. The public we serve does not see this because we have continued and expanded our outreach missions even with limited staff. When a vacancy occurs, the job disappears or the job tasks are parceled out and given to people who already do too much, rather than promoting a more junior person from within. Everyone is pushed beyond efficient performance. Professor Tennant has been investigating raising external endowments to support vacant positions. If we can get one or two chaired curatorships in place, it would encourage the practice more broadly within the UC Berkeley library community.
  • Professor Tennant is concerned that library staff are overworked and being asked to do more and more. She wonders if we can slow down a little bit, even temporarily, and take a moment to reflect on how our jobs have changed over the past 15 years. What are we doing better now than what we used to do? What important work are we no longer able to do? How can we feel good about what we do, at least some of the time? She is planning to have the Bancroft staff discuss these questions in a self-study in the spring semester. Is there a way to better support each other and find satisfaction in what we are doing? She emphasized that staff should take advantage of the development opportunities available to them, attend the meetings we wish to attend, and take advantage of the resources available. Can we take care of ourselves as we take care of the public we serve?
  • She disagrees with the view of Bancroft as an elitist institution. Rather, she sees Bancroft as having a lot to do with other libraries on campus, and the largest difference is that Bancroft collections are funded differently.
  • Professor Tennant then asked the assembled to join in the conversation by sharing concerns and asking questions. Comments and questions from the audience included:
    • Endowments supporting staff are possible and already on campus (e.g., the Robbins Collection). Professor Tennant noted that there is not much difference between raising an endowment for a curatorship and doing so for a professorship.
    • Even taking time to care for ourselves is a time management concern. What would a process that would enable us to reflect on what we do look like? The better we are at our jobs, the more invisible we become, especially given seamless delivery of digital materials. Professor Tennant is concerned that staff are being worn out such that we cannot continue our role as an essential link in the chain. She believes it would be a good thing for LAUC-B to take up this issue for the good of us individually and for the good of the libraries.
    • Professor Tennant was glad to hear Beth report on undergraduate students’ positive feelings about libraries, but she is concerned about their perceptions of staff. We talk a lot about libraries as space but what about libraries as people? Professor Tennant has not seen planning for libraries as function and as spaces on the Berkeley campus. Perhaps it would be inconvenient to do a comprehensive study, particularly when some perceive “little used” library spaces and places where institutes and other units can be placed. We must remind people of the many services and resources provided by our libraries.
    • One concern expressed by the Academic Senate library committee is the loss of deep subject expertise as library staff retire. Professor Tennant agrees that the number of selectors is diminishing as they are not being replaced in a systematic way. It has been going on for so long that we are just about in deep crisis. She is concerned also about not having an AUL for collections. To her, it sounds like we will be outsourcing selection functions, which is a problem for one of the top libraries in the world. We are part of a ten-campus library system and campuses have different perspectives about shared collections. How is Berkeley’s voice heard amongst these perspectives? Professor Tennant has not been part of these discussions yet but her initial reaction is that, in the long run, we will probably need to do more external fundraising to maintain Doe Library at a high level, as the Bancroft Library has been doing for quite some time. There must be better education of the donor community and further outreach to library users to improve their understanding of libraries’ roles in delivering information to them. Library Development Director David Duer noted that donors know and give because they understand how important the libraries are at UC Berkeley. He added that three different reunion classes have told him that they want to give to the libraries instead of to the general CalFund. Reunion classes have already contributed to the Mark Twain Papers Project and the Preservation Department. Donors are convinced and committed, but we should deal more honestly and openly with our current donors. We need leadership to inspire them. David noted that if we can raise money for the Moffitt renovation from alumni who graduated before it was built, we can do anything!
    • Nick explained that he wants LAUC-B to find a way to express that we are providing an essential service to the teaching and research mission of the university. Even with state divestment, we know that there are choices available to us about allocating funds. Nick asked Professor Tennant how LAUC-B can build alliances with the faculty to do so. Tennant notes that the Academic Senate library committee is the right body for this, and the current group is quite active. Though, she noted that the library committee is often silent when they must take action. Professor Tennant agrees that prioritizing fund allocations for libraries needs faculty buy-in. Currently, there are very few faculty appointments within the library but she believes that having more would benefit us. Bringing faculty capacity to the libraries since Academic Senate members can make things happen within the libraries that might not otherwise get done.

VII. Nick thanked Professor Tennant and adjourned the assembly.