Thursday, May 8, 2008

Positioning the Academic Library for the 21st Century: a New Model of Library Centrality. Thursday, May 8 8:30

Positioning the Academic Library for the 21st Century: a New Model of Library Centrality. Thursday, May 8 8:30

Susan Parker, Ph.D. Deputy University Librarian and CFO UCLA library. Research interest: the role of the academic library
Susan C. Scrimshaw, President, Simmons College, formerly dean of the U of IL at Chicago School of Public health. Research interest: gender, ethnicity, race, culture and their impact on public health.
This series on library advocacy is underwritten jointly by MLA and ACRL.

The 16 second elevator speech. If you had an administrator all to yourself for 16 seconds, what would you discuss: Budget, How busy the library is, Library is the heart of the University, How to improve outcomes.??????

What does Library is the heart of the University mean to YOU. What does it mean to your administrators. Does it transfer enough to realize actual resource support???

THE CENTRALITY of the LIBRARY is a value The Library contributes so fundamentally to the success of the University that it is absolutely central

1. Hackman’s research : Power and centrality in the allocation of resources in colleges and universities; Hackman, Judith Administrative Science Quarterly; 1985 Vol. 30, p61-77, 17p. She divided University units: Core and Peripheral and assessed How well units connected with the mission

2. Grimes’ 1998 book: Academic Library Centrality; Grimes, Deborah Jean; 1998, Chicago : Association of College and Research Libraries.

Susan Parker’s own article: She and 6 others surveyed 6 public institutions, interviewed 6 University Presidents, 6 University provosts: “What does Library is the heart of the University mean to you?”
Attitudes of Presidents and Provosts on the University Library. By: Lynch, Beverly P.; Murray-Rust, Catherine; Parker, Susan E.; Turner, Deborah; Walker, Diane Parr; Wilkinson, Frances C.; Zimmerman, Julia. College & Research Libraries, May2007, Vol. 68 Issue 3, p213-227, 15p; (AN 25301281) EBSCO persistent link Cited References (5)
Authors: Lynch, Beverly P.1; Murray-Rust, Catherine2; Parker, Susan E.3; Turner, Deborah4; Walker, Diane Parr5; Wilkinson, Frances C.6; Zimmerman, Julia7

Parker et al. FINDINGS on the Centrality of the Library @ the University
Metaphor. heart of the University
Standards and Technology. Information literacy instruction/ technology
Mission: connection of the library to the university’s mission. Does that factor in funding? Parker claims there is a DIRECT
Research allocation: does favorable or unfavorable benchmark marks with other instituion affect
Indicators of Centrality:

One provost: “Library is the LIFEBLOOD”
It’s the psychological center of what it means to BE the University”
A Marketing Slogan. Something the Library Director
It is time to upgrade the criteria and look at libraries in a different mode

Top 3 indicators of Centrality in Parker’s study
Other values
6. QUALITY OF SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITY (and by extension, its community)

This suggests a new model of Centrality:
Increased visibility for the library in service to the University
Outside funding
Develop strategic goals that reflect the larger university mission and its values
Collaboration within and without the institution. Other units, other colleges, academic departments, individual faculty

A 2008 study by Judy Luther (President, Informed strategies) is well worth reading
White Paper
· University Investment in the Library: What's the Return? A Case Study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2008, by Judy Luther, President, Informed Strategies ( HTML PDF)
Focus was on grantwriting. The study actually came up with a monetary “return on investment”

· Describe the library’s measurable contributions to the institution. Circ statistics etc. Lately, add electronic resources/information literacy to the mix of statistics.

· Determine and understand what the university values
o Examples at UCLA: Faculty retention, research grants, demonstrable impact on the institution & community
· Speak clearly and compellingly about the library’s contribution toward enhancing or furthering those values
o SOME libraries even hire lobbyists. Umass has a parttime lobbyist.

A CONVERSATION between Scrimshaw and Parker ON “WHAT IS THE LIBRARY???”

Traditional view. The library was a place where physical items resided, were collected, cataloged, preserved.
Modern view.
Clients LEARN how to access, but also get HELP in accessing. Faculty and students guided strategic access.
The library is the GATHERING part of the campus. For study, to discuss together. Meaning: gathering rooms with access to resources, quiet reading spots with comfortable chairs. This has big implications for the architecture.

STRATEGY – for working with Administrators. Advice from Scrimshaw:
Find a way to get key decisionmakers to have an EXPERIENCE in the library. Reports don’t cut it.
· Reference engagement
· Information literacy
Find excuses to show archives and access.

Question for an Scrimshaw as a University President: What impacts your decisions about funding the library? What influences resource allocation?

More requests than money. What criteria do I use in allocating money to the library?
· Inflation in subscription maintenance
· Incremental services: adding to collections (documenting the impact would be great, however, how can one measure the increase in student productivity, faculty productivity?)
· Role of the librarian. Look at where the conversations are held? Library Director should report to the provost table with the deans who are competing for the same money.
· Look at data points: use student satisfaction surveys, LibQual, use Benchmarking with sister institutions.

How can libraries be protected in tough budget times? A Question for President Scrimshaw.

In budget reductions, some institutions protect library resources. UIL @Chicago did. Scrimshaw supported digitizing art resources for example as a strategy. Access to information needs to be protected for the good of ALL the instructional efforts on campus and off.

Comments from Scrimshaw
Antiquated libraries need to be redesigned to accommodate the new paradigm, listening VERY CAREFULLY to the user community. The Simmons library: people have coffee, it’s abuzz with energy and activity.

What about Information Literacy? How should libraries set themselves up to make an impact?
Provide “short courses” for faculty and students tailored to specific literacy skills.

Question for Parker re: her team’s research conversation with Presidents and Provosts: Most surprising comment by a College President: “You people are badgering me for money all the time..” Scariest moment. Obvious that the President had not experienced the library, did not personally use.

What was the Best Elevator speech either Parker and Scrimshaw have heard?
· Staff member chased Parker into the elevator, gave her an idea on paper about how we can deploy our workstation resources and save $50,000.

· 2 days ago Scrimshaw met archivist who is cataloging Martin Luther King’s papers @ BU, talking about the incredible power of the letters… how it made her feel to see and hold a letter from Medgar Evers to Martin Luther King. Powerful moment for Scrimshaw to see what the long lasting contributions of librarians/archival work to scholarship for the future. Worth the money!

ADVICE: There are costs to partnering, but it’s often well worth it.


1 comment:

poirier said...

I attended and loved this presentation. Do I have permission to comment on it in my own blog? Since you did such a good job covering this session, my blog entry would be more a brief summary and my own intended action step. Thanks!
--Maureen Perry, University of Southern Maine