logo ULC Annual Report 1995-96

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Charge

The University Library Committee (ULC) reviews, consults on, advises, plans for, and receives reports and recommendations on the performance of library services, automation, budget, administrative structure, and allocation of resources. Responsibility for keeping the faculty informed of major issues and for creating opportunities for the faculty for the faculty to discuss priorities also falls to the committee (see Faculty Policies and Procedures 6.46 B).

Challenges

Funds available to the library are declining while costs are rising much faster than the rate of domestic inflation. Most other libraries in Wisconsin's category are enjoying budget increases, but the UW library has had to curtail monograph acquisitions, stop certain journal subscriptions (and not subscribe to many new serials), cut and consolidate library services, and slow the progress of purchasing certain electronic library materials. This retrenchment threatens the library's position as one of the primary research libraries in the country. This is the case at a time when an authoritative survey of faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students shows that their overwhelming priorities are completeness of the collection, a more comprehensive electronic library, and added library hours.
Among other strategies, the library is making the CIC libraries' collections more complementary, speeding inter-library loans, and screening new serials so that especially promising ones will be available despite the budget problems.
It is critical that faculty are informed that, unless the budget situation improves, hard choices will need to be taken that will detract from the library's stature. These budget difficulties must be made more public, even at the expense of causing alarm among the university community and prospective students and faculty about the diminishing quality of the collection. Since it is more costly to rebuild a collection after a lag, opinion leaders, administrators and legislators must be aware that this practice makes little financial sense.
Among the issues the ULC has grappled with in the time period covered by this report, four emerge as particularly important:
  1. Maintaining the excellence of the library collections and enhancing access to materials not held on campus;
  2. Keeping up with growth in demand for electronic services;
  3. Seeking ways in which the complexity of the campus libraries can be simplified through consolidation of collections, staffs, or functions; and
  4. Addressing intellectual property issues and their impact on libraries.


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Last modified July 7, 1998

University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries
Office of External Relations
Comments or questions to: Deborah Reilly , Coordinator

UW-Madison Fac Doc 1213 - 6 May 96. ID: 19960506-1213.2. .