Future of UCDavis Libraries

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1. Reference

a. Need to identify the population we are serving recognizing that there are different needs for each e.g. instruction for on-campus undergrads vs. information for community members throughout the state of California; patrons throughout the world

b. Need to define the reference service; for example does it include outreach functions as well as service to individual users.

c. Currently an evaluation/assessment program for reference has been sketched out that includes surveys at the reference desk and a plan for focus groups. After some delays this program is scheduled to resume in May 2010. Some issues for the evaluation effort include:

  • identifying user needs and behaviors and their variations between campuses
  • differentiating between the wants that users express and the needs that we can identify as professionals
  • making full use of the data collected on user behavior; details tend to be compressed or eliminated in the way that the data is compiled
  • a more sophisticated analysis of the data is necessary

d. The defining development of the last couple years in reference has been a reduction of service points in which the government documents, information, and bioag desks have been closed and their staff consolidated at the former hss desk which now serves as the reference desk of the Shields Library. Some discussion remains on the extent to which this has been done at the other branch libraries. Issues regarding consolidation are:

  • driven by budget reduction to compensate for attrition now and in the near future
  • reduction in demand for reference depending on which numbers are used
  • lack of availability of librarians to users
  • inefficiency in terms of increased off-desk reference
  • dilution of subject expertise
  • lack of responsiveness to subject users

e. Alternatives

  • chat reference - working with remote campuses not efficient; staffing issues pose a barrier to more service

f. Optimal future:

  • relating reference service to the overall mission of the library and university
  • more elaborate training for reference personnel
  • exploration of technologies for remote reference such as chat reference and online tutorials and guides
  • an expectation of a new hybridization of reference with instruction, access services, and other units
  • restoration of subject-specific service points


2. Relationship with Information Providers

a. Need to question the relationship between librarians and vendors

  • the role of finances
  • interface design
  • types of pressure to be deployed on vendors to gain better service and products; working on the advisory board of a product can be fruitful, and such collaborations are an alternative to negotiations.
  • Davis has a large cluster of liaisons with vendors
  • additional usage data from vendors necessary

b. The distributed model at both the library and the particular vendor can cause challenges. For example, the parties who are involved in the negotiation are often different than those who have direct experience with user interaction, or, on the vendor side, are involved with development of the product.

  • the interest of universities and database providers does not coincide and needs to be better understood; vendors want more money, libraries want better service
  • the role of open access materials needs to be considered: free vs. good; a tendency for quality sources to be disregarded in favor of free ones; Google, Wikipedia; lack of permanence and control of resources; the details of the Google digitization effort are relevant

c. The role of instruction in promoting web sources through source evaluation techniques is important for users

d. The trend in this area appears to be towards outsourcing with its pluses and minuses

  • implications for the future of interlibrary loan

e. Optimal Future: More influence with database vendors to provide user-friendly products at lower prices. Single interface for all databases. Finding role for ILL in future when more material available as e-books and restricted. Need to preserve fair use. Work to turn the University into more of an information provider through e-scholarship e.g. journals, research units, and conferences. Marketing of these products is important. The university can produce textbooks and instructional materials for students, and the library can assist with best practices.


3. Personnel

a. Outgrowths of the budget crisis

  • more work is expected in the same time interval as before
  • subject divisions are being eroded

b. New relationship between librarians and non-librarian staff; e.g. "library professional" is a super LA-5

  • work needs to be done on succession planning and mentoring
  • An issue is to consider at what point it is necessary to rehire as opposed to reassign positions within the library
  • retraining and retention should be explored as much as possible before the (financially undesirable) choice of a new hire

c. New opportunities for professional development of staff.

  • Request P.I. status for librarians as many grants for AF employees are not accessible as P.I. status is required before applying for the grant (travel grant).
  • pathways for coursework and additional degrees
  • manage tension between generalist/specialist

d. Optimal Future: As the lowest-staffed library in the UC system, Davis needs an increase in personnel to preserve the level of expertise necessary for a post-doctoral institutions. The current system of consolidation and reduction of personnel results in bad referrals and inefficiency. Regardless of the ingenuity in doing more with less, there is a level of staffing, we can't below without a critical loss in quality. More support needs to be given for staff to pursue formal training and certification.


4. Technology

a. communications technology: e.g. libguides, Second Life, chat reference, Skype (bibliographer groups), Facebook, YouTube,

  • new hardware to support communication and mobility (headsets, microphones, webcams for live video, choice of laptop vs. desktop computer)
  • training & technology support for new project initiatives and content creation: opportunity to explore the use of new and old technologies in a "sandbox environment" to foster our in-house creativity, collaboration and peer-to-peer learning (requires rethinking of budget and time allocations, initiated by librarians with systems support)
  • security/permissions issues stand in the way of using some useful technologies; (these restrictions, in some cases, originate at the campus level)
  • social networking may not be relevant salvia to the library's future; publicity tools not reference
  • tutorials limited by rapid change of databases which make them irrelevant; tutorials may be viable if limited to major resources or perhaps as links to tutorials by vendors
  • library chat for each reference desk: needs to be localized to campus rather than current 24/7 which brings in questions throughout the system; chat should incorporate text messaging
  • Next Generation: inadequacy of Next Generation interface; overwhelming resource which floods the user with information; retain local catalog with local notes, easy search of UCDavis titles; improved accuracy/precision of a local catalog
  • access is an important area of technology that proves to be barrier to students. Retrieval of results should be made as easy as possible

b. preservation/archiving technology: currently lack infrastructure to support digitization (produce, access), onsite; increased coordination necessary with CDL

  • benefits to a shared workflow in cataloging and preservation throughout the system
  • shared cataloging (CDL) being overwhelmed; need improved coordination between campuses; revamped so that process expedited with equal contributions; a SWAT team approach necessary to deal with backlogs

c. Instructional technology

  • Endnote offers opportunities for new involvement with research practices
  • use of clickers under consideration

d. optimal future: local catalog, improved infrastructure to support digitization; shared cataloging; mobile versions of catalog and small mobile applications to support general library research (undergraduates)


5. Collections

a. system vs. local collections

  • books need local/core collections; system-wide collection for journals only
  • approval plans under review; trend in libraries is to evaluate usage of print monograph similar to electronic resource review; changes in scholarly monograph publishing may signal evolution of approval or blanket plan to something more patron-driven for time of need for certain categories of material
  • analysis of unique aspects of collection especially regard to the lack of permanence in digitized collections
  • the representation of local holdings at the network level is important and needs further attention
  • one price of a consolidated system-wide collection is a more robust delivery structure for materials so that patrons are not delayed in getting access

b. reduce local footprint

  • cannot reduce the footprint but must expand to support growth of programs at the university and larger volume of publications; ebook vendors are not available for this purpose; the local collection needs to be able to support growth.
  • On the other hand, SOPAG collection space planning report claims that no more space is available. Libraries need to reach a 0% growth rate within five years to fit within available space. Long-term plans call for de-duplication of system holdings.
  • cuts have already put significant strain on preservation and binding. More money and personnel will be needed in future to maintain the materials that we have.
  • campus-produced digital collections will require a major reorganization of technical services. Such a reorganization will have to happen anyway to incorporate technology and streamline workflows.
  • technical services would benefit from and contribute to a smoother operation by working in closer cooperation with subject bibliographers.

c. optimal future: Physical constraints require a streamlining of collections throughout the system, but local collections should be shaped to support growth of programs on campus as much as possible.


6. Buildings

a. consolidation

  • space already tight before the proposed closure of PSE
  • while the Davis libraries have not reduced hours in response to budget cuts like other UC campuses, the hours are already low; they should be restructured to match times of student use

b. Rearrangement of space

  • information commons forming on the first floor where there are no reference desks
  • work on a comfortable, attractive space
  • partnership with other entities to support a visual media commons (space, hardware, software, librarians and technical assistants) integrating media access and creation with media literacy topics taught by librarians.
  • more group study rooms are necessary and more outlets for laptops
  • fundraising: the building can provide sources for funds with the sale of merchandise, food, and space rentals for outside events.

c. optimal future: preserve the space that we have and redesign for efficiency to enable enhanced study environment for students and sale of products to generate funds for the library.


7. Campus Roles

a. Instruction

  • UWP instruction
  • integrated courses, subject specialists
  • Re: Search Start paper consulting service
  • classes for Learning Skills Center: STEP, term paper workshops
  • orientations for new students and graduate students in all departments
  • online tutorials and other tools under development
  • EndNote to teach research and citation management at all levels.
  • subject specialists given new freedom to design subject guides.
  • tech services can promote understanding of digital infrastructure

b. Outreach

  • liaison work
  • marketing
  • advertising with fliers/ads to dorms
  • reference service
  • campus committees: academic federation committees, campus administrative advisory committees, LAUC
  • webpage: blogs
  • consulting: technical services (meta-data, preservation); archives/special collections; business cooperations with campus units on matters of budget

c. Optimal future:

  • continued robust activity in existing areas
  • sponsored seminars with academic focus; cultural events
  • library research awards: writing contests
  • formalizing/institutionalizing instruction with credit classes,
  • technology: mobile bulletin boards in library lobby
  • expansion into new areas of service: EndNote to improve research skills


8. Library Networks

a. ILL UCs

b. shared cataloging within UC

c.national cooperative cataloging

d. UCs repository of research programs in the state by act of legislation

e. CDL participation in national/international digitization

f. expansion outside of organizational boundaries to regional operations e.g. to include CSUs, other consortia

g. chat reference - national/international networks

h. networks to include public libraries, community colleges

i. Networks are driven by cost savings and have adverse effects on local institutions. As an example Google Books does not digitize anything with individual copyright. Many networked efforts pose problems in areas of preservation, omission, poor-quality of work

j. Optimal future - continued expansion in scale and cooperativity of networks with attention to preserving local specificity of collections.


9. Organizational Cultures

a. Communication issues with library administration

  • Structure of library bureaucracy needs to reexamined; the library management contrasts with the rest of academia in remaining static while deans and department heads rotate
  • There needs to be improved lines of communication
  • Quicker responses
  • administration counterclaims: communication efforts ignored, need two-way communication with timely input to administration in the spirit of the Principles of Community; difficult, unavoidable decisions should not be cause for shooting the messenger
  • dangers of toxic self-perpetuating culture of negativity and inaction among librarians/staff
  • free-form committees offer advantages over rigidly agenda-driven ones
  • previous discussion indicates an information bottleneck in the practice of filtering communications from administration to staff through department heads; suggested remedies were to publish all minutes and to use notation clearly indicating action items, this has been unevenly adopted.
  • need to consider ways to create an innovative environment that is proactive and encourages a sense of creativity and freedom to explore solutions to our challenges
  • need to find ways to cultivate library community for example through social events such as ice cream socials and planned retreats

b. Communication with systems

  • claims that Systems restricts access to technology and does not respond adequately to requests
  • counterclaims that Systems acts to maintain security and must deal with technical challenges that are not apparent outside

c. Optimal future

  • Improved communication with regular face-to-face meetings among parties involved e.g. Systems representation on RISC.
  • A "Velvet Revolution" of an improved communal culture with frequent social activities