Thursday, March 9, 2009
SML Lecture Hall
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Recorder: Graziano Krätli.
The meeting was attended by selectors, subject specialists and fund managers (except those at Beinecke, Walpole, Medical and Law) and focused on the review and discussion of the Call for Collections Budget Requests for FY 2009-2010.
Ann Okerson distributed an updated version of a document originally created in January. The spreadsheet presents scenarios for the buying power of YUL Collections budgets in FY 2009-2010. The document had to be updated, since the initial 5% and 6.76% reductions to the General Appropriation (GA) fund and the Endowment funds, respectively, have been raised to 7.5% across the board.
Deborah McGraw (Associate University Librarian and Chief Administrative Officer) was invited to clarify whether restricted endowment money can or cannot be carried over from one year to the next. She explained that Yale is currently facing a cash flow problem and therefore the 7.5% cut applies to all funds, regardless of income or balances generated by endowments. In fact, the University budget officers are examining carefully indentures and endowment balances, starting with those that have balances of $50,000 but, obviously, considering smaller amounts too. The philosophy and approach are that if a fund manager cannot spend the money, it becomes vulnerable. Consequently, selectors should look carefully at their endowment balances and be aware they may lose any amounts of unspent money, especially if this happens year after year. Ann mentioned a few endowments that, she noticed, have significant unspent balances and encouraged all selectors to review their funds accordingly.
In short, the University is in a difficult situation, and not even a 7.5% cut will solve its financial problems. This is the message we are getting now, but the figures and percentages may—and probably will—change. At this point, it is not clear what the University will do or what will be the budget status six months or a year; the whole financial scene is like a moving target. The Library has been told to expect another 5% cut in FY 2011.
Nanette Stahl (Curator, Judaica Collection) raised the issue of endowment money intended to fill a vacant position that, with the current hiring freeze, cannot be filled. Debbie agreed that this is a Catch 22 situation, since money that cannot be used for the intended purpose cannot be used for other purposes either. Susanne Roberts (Librarian for European History, Coordinator of Humanities Collections) asked whether fund expenditures will be looked at historically, and the answer was yes. Debbie reiterated that a continuity of unspent balances is what raises red flags in particular (although not exclusively).
Allen Townsend (Director, Arts Library) asked if we are still waiting for the end of the current fiscal year (i.e., June 30, 2009) to know what the endowment return is going to be. Debbie explained that traditionally the University makes projections in January using the figures updated for June of the previous calendar year. Therefore, the figures that will be available on June 30, 2009 will be used for projections regarding FY 2011 (which goes from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011).
During the second part of the meeting, Ann went over the "Call for Collections Budget Requests for the 2009-2010 Fiscal Year," a final version of which, incorporating any changes, will be sent to all selectors soon after this meeting.
Upon Alice Prochaska’s (University Librarian) advice, the "Call for Collections Budget Requests" letter will be brought to the next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Library Policy, to explain the planned reductions to the faculty. The meeting will be attended by members of the small group whose advice and input to Ann Okerson was instrumental in drafting the letter, and which included Nisa Bakkalbasi, Ellen Hammond, Jill Parchuck, Susanne Roberts and Kari Swanson.
Jill Parchuck (Director, Social Science Library), referring to Ground Rule #6, "Cooperative Collections Initiatives," wondered if there is an official list of materials that are not available through Borrow Direct (BD). While some traditionally non-circulating materials (e.g., reference and periodicals) are obvious exclusions, others are more difficult to figure out and explain. Ann agreed, adding that the associate university librarians for collections of the BD libraries are aware of this issue and plan to take it to the BD policy group. On the same topic, Andrew Shimp (Engineering Librarian) noted the recent extension of the borrowing term from four to six week, conjecturing that in the future BD will have to allow renewal of borrowed materials.
On the need to cancel serial subscriptions (Ground Rule #5), Nanette asked how to implement these cancellations in practical terms: Is there a list of all journals each selector subscribes to? Ann suggested she asks individual vendors, while Dorothy said that years ago her staff created an EndNote bibliographic file with journal information. Tatjana Lorković (Curator, Slavic and East European Collection) noted that Acquisition staff has been unaware of how to cancel Slavic newspapers. Debbie promised to check into this issue. Andy Shimp pointed out that cancelling an entire e-package (i.e., Elsevier) does not really solve the budget problems.
Regarding "Vendor Contact" (Ground Rule #8), Ann confirmed that she will send a letter to major vendors (e.g., largest NERL vendors), addressing price increases and seeking reductions. Julie Linden (Government Information Librarian) asked Ann if the content of the letter to major vendors will be shared with selectors. Ann replied that it will.
Andy agreed that a solution of this kind would serve the additional purpose of informing faculty about the current situation. Tanja Lorković added that it would be good if the Library administration sent a letter to all faculty members, explaining the planned collection budget reductions and how they may affect the availability of certain materials and formats. And said she will suggest the idea to Alice, although from a couple of comments reported by other area curators, it seems that faculty members do not feel the crunch yet, probably because the current hiring freeze and other salary cuts don't apply to them directly.
Julie Linden further asked whether we have a formula to figure out the overall cost (i.e., including cataloging, preparation, shelving, etc.) of individual serial titles. Ann replied that this issue was addressed a few years ago by a CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) research report on the Nonsubscription Side of Periodicals, the results of which were an eye-opener then and are still relevant today. Andy mentioned a $40 overhead cost for Interlibrary Loan materials, and asked if anybody else had other amounts. Sue Roberts mentioned that it used to be $25. Ann found forty dollars a little high and asked Graziano to check with Carol Jones (Head of Document Delivery).
meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
April 9, 2009.
Yale University Library
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