Thursday, January 15, 2009
SML Lecture Hall
2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Recorder: Graziano Krätli.
Today’s CDC Plus meeting was dedicated to the impact that the current economic conditions will have on the Yale University Library's collections budget and to start a conversation on how to best implement the required cuts. The meeting was open to all selectors and fund managers and attended by many of them. The topics of the meeting pertained to YUL's general collections, which are allocated centrally; they were not targeted at cost centers such as Forestry, Beinecke, Walpole, or Medical. The Law Library is part of a separate administrative campus unit and will receive its own guidelines.
Alice Prochaska (University Librarian) introduced the meeting with a few words on the state of Yale’s collection budgets and their place in the larger context represented by the current economic scenario across campus. As announced in December, the University will implement a 5% percent budget cut across the board. This will not result in the elimination of faculty positions, although faculty salaries will be subject to the same restrictions that will apply to all other staff positions.
This is the first time that the general University collections budget will be cut for economic reasons. Four or five years ago the Library's General Appropriation (GA) was reduced by 5%, but this reduction was not applied to the collections budgets. (On a couple of occasions in the last decade, the YUL general collections were reduced by $500,000 each, as part of a buying-power reconciliation.) This time will be different. As a result of the University's 25% endowment decrease, the following reductions will take effect: (1) the collections GA budgets will be cut by 5%, a decrease of around $300,000; and (2) the collections endowment budgets will see a 6.75% reduction, approximately $900,000. These reductions will take effect as of 1 July 2009 and may be repeated in future year(s).
Alice showed a 2007 PPT slide that compares ARL data on six peer institutions (the University of Chicago, Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton and Yale) and shows that Yale spends more on library materials than its peers, while spending somewhat less (with the exception of Chicago) on staff. She suggested this indicates a leaner, more efficient staff. YUL purchases as much as 70% of its materials overseas. A significant percentage of these materials are acquired in developing countries, which may not produce much in terms of electronic resources but are rich in gray literature and other unique information resources. Because of this, Yale is an important source of scholarly information on international topics in North America.
In the past few years, Yale's ability to build and maintain its first-class international collections has been increasingly challenged by the steady decline of the U.S. dollar's purchasing power. Given the economic downturn and some of the past years' currency problems, Yale selectors will have to think carefully about acquisitions (especially when considering the purchase of an item we already own in a different format) and how patrons access and use information, at the same time exploring and implementing further opportunities for resource-sharing.
Debbie McGraw (Chief Administrative Officer) reported that a total amount of $4.6 million needs to be cut from YUL's budget, and we must identify enough areas to focus on and expenses to cut. One such area is travel, which will be reduced by at least 50%; another is vacant positions (currently about 35), which will remain unfilled. In conclusion, Debbie reminded the group that this is not going to be a short-term fix, and there may be more cuts next year.
Ann Okerson (Associate University Librarian for Collections and International Programs) introduced the "brain trust" group she charged with assisting her in the task of developing a process to follow as the Library reduces its collections budget. The group comprises Ellen Hammond (representing the Area Curators), Kari Swanson (Science Libraries), Jill Parchuck (Social Science Libraries), Sue Roberts (Research Services & Collections/Humanities in general) and Nisa Bakkalbasi (Electronic Collections).
Ann then shared a spreadsheet that shows the 5% (GA) and 6.75% (Endowment) cuts might affect individual collections in FY 2010 as compared with FY 2009. This spreadsheet, created by Nisa Bakkalbasi (serving an additional role as analyst) does not intend to fix amounts to be cut for each fund. Ann clarified that different funds will receive different cuts, just as in the "good years," different funds receive different levels of allocation (sciences receiving generally higher percentages each year and humanities generally lower). On the positive side, fund managers will be able to move money to the next year, which should help a bit. However, only
specifically indentured endowment funds can be carried over – general endowments and GA cannot.
Sue Roberts (Librarian for European History, Coordinator of Humanities Collections) noted that on the spreadsheet, under Sterling RSC, there is an "RSC" that nobody in her department seemed to recognize. Debbie replied that the spreadsheet does not list funds but categories, and Ann promised to look into it and identify what RSC stands for.
Tobin Nellhaus (Librarian for Drama, Film, Theater Studies) asked how restricted endowment funds figure in this scenario, and Ann replied that they will be treated as any other endowment fund, i.e., reduced by 6.75%. There is the possibility that the 6.75% number may increase.
Ellen Hammond (Curator, East Asia Library) asked if the preservation funds are meant to include only binding expenses or also reformatting. Ann replied Preservation funding is inclusive of binding (monograph and serials), de-acidification and re-formatting. Ellen further asked if the usual procedure of getting endowment allocations at the beginning of each fiscal year and then an adjustment in October or November would continue. Debbie replied that the November adjustment generally comprises a rollover of any unspent funds. Yes, this adjustment process will continue as always.
Finally, Ann showed a "Two Case" scenario, providing examples regarding the impact on buying power of Yale Library collections budget reductions for FY 2009-2010.
Nisa then discussed the content of two charts she created to show the currency value of the USD against 11 foreign currencies (Chart 1) and the currency-adjusted value of $10,000 indexed to 2005 (Chart 2). Using the same amount, the second chart shows the increase or decrease of the U.S. dollar purchasing (depicted as a mid-level horizontal line) in relation to the same foreign currencies. Ann pointed out that an increase of the dollar purchasing power against a specific foreign currency (i.e., the euro or the British pound) may offset some of the planned 5% cut.
The two currency charts generated a number of questions from selectors. Ellen Hammond asked why a 5-year trend was chosen. Nisa replied that she has figures relating to both a 2- and a 5-year period; she and Ann decided to use the latter because it offers a longer time span and a more conservative trend.
Jeffry Larson would like to see the figures adjusted according to the precise mix of foreign currencies we use for collections purchases (i.e., euro and British pound). Sue Roberts asked whether it would be possible to generate a table that lists foreign currencies by collection areas (i.e., how many euros, how many pounds, etc. spent for Science materials, and the same for other libraries and collection areas). Ann replied that it could be done but would require quite a lot of work and we are not staffed to invest this level of effort. She and Nisa will review what can be usefully prepared.
Ann stressed the need to plan how this and any future information to be generated on these issues will be communicated to librarians and to our constituency (faculty, patrons, etc.). She will post on the selectors’ mailing list the ideas for possible cuts and cost-saving initiatives that have been suggested so far, and invited all to contribute to this ongoing brainstorming. The more ideas we receive, the easier it will be to act effectively and wisely.
This topic will be continued over the next weeks, as the Call for Budget Requests is prepared and the allocations move forward – and the reductions are planned.
meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.
March 9, 2009.
Yale University Library
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