For the past two years, the College Libraries has been struggling to find a materials budget model that allows flexibility for purchasing needed materials across all types of information, and ensures that the library collections are balanced and adequate for all academic programs. Traditionally we have used a formula based on FTE, credit hours, industry standard book prices and circulation statistics to allocate funds for monographics (e.g. books, videos, scores, and sound recordings) for each major discipline. Allocations for periodicals and databases have not been formula based, as many of them are interdisciplinary and not easily assigned to one discipline. Since periodical and database purchases tend to consume the bulk of the library materials budget, the monographic allocations consists of remaining funds after subscription based materials have been paid.
Gathering the data needed for the monographic formula (student FTEs, weighted credit hours and circulation data) is extremely time consuming and while on the surface appears to be an equitable approach, it has proven to be not the best approach. Circulation statistics generated for fiscal year expenditures from 2008 to 2012 demonstrated that for some disciplines, monographs were frequently used (up to 71%) while for others disciplines, monographs were rarely used (as low as 27%). Details are in the spreadsheets below. It has been clear that for some disciplines, we were allocating and spending monographic funds for materials that are not needed or used.
The College Libraries needs a more flexible and more effective budget allocation process that allows for purchase of periodicals, research databases and monographs that support student information needs.
The information gathered from the faculty survey will be used to inform library faculty as we design a new budget model. The new budget model will be based on student information needs driven by research assignments and occasionally by their curiosity, rather than the more traditional model of assigning specific dollar amounts to each discipline.
The College Libraries tries to communicate with faculty in many ways. We know that some methods work better than others, and we are always looking to improve our methods. The liaison program is intended to allow departments to funnel information needs to the library via designated liaisons in each department. This works well for many departments, less so for others. We will be meeting with departments in the next few months to discuss the new budget model. One of the questions we will be asking is: How are the communication channels are working?
Other ways we communicate: Library Luncheons: Department Chairs and Liaisons are invited to a luncheon each semester to hear about library developments and issues (the new budget model was on the agenda at the last Spring Luncheon). We send bi-annual newsletters. We ask faculty to participate in surveys. We send beginning-of-the-semester emails, and we chat with you in lunch lines and at happy hour. Some faculty meet with librarians for information literacy classes and for help identifying resources for student assignments. Knowing that communication is a two-way street, and knowing that not everyone has time to read newletters and emails, what methods work best for you?
Sorry no spreadsheet!
Emily Singley is a Systems Librarian at Harvard University. Her November 2014 blog post "How College Students Really do Research" aptly summarizes the most important and latest studies on student research behavior.
Research Consultation Appointments 2008-2014
Students often opt to make a research consultation appointment when their project is complex and requires more time and attention than they might get at the Reference desk. Where a reference transaction might take ten to thirty minutes, the consultation appointment takes two or more hours (meeting with the student plus prep time).
*Both these years had instances where faculty widely promoted having a consultation as a "requirement".
Q. Can faculty make purchase recommendations for videos and databases for use in the classroom?
A. Materials purchased for the library collections are intended for student use. While materials purchased for the library collections may be used in the classroom, materials will not be acquired exclusively to serve as instructional resource materials. Costs for educational videos can be quite high and would consume the monographic budget if we were to support classroom teaching needs. In addition, since library materials circulate, we cannot guarantee that library materials will be available on the day a faculty member wants to show a video in class. For classroom viewing, departments should consider renting the video if it is intended for a single viewing, or purchase it to ensure it is available on viewing day. Costs for research databases are simply too expensive to warrant purchase for exclusive use in the classroom. Determining the appropriateness or affordability of materials for classroom teaching is not the purview of the College Libraries.
Q. Can faculty make purchase recommendations for materials to support their research?
A. Materials purchased for the collections must be intellectually appropriate for and related to the undergraduate and graduate programs at Potsdam. While faculty research interests often mesh with student research assignments and interests, the level of the intellectual content needed for faculty research is not generally accessible to students. While the College Libraries is committed to supporting the undergraduate and graduate programs at SUNY Potsdam, we are not a research library, and do not have the resources (budget, staff or space) to build collections that have the depth and breadth needed for faculty research. However, we ARE committed to supporting faculty research endeavors through Interlibrary Loan.
The second step of the New Budget Model process is to meet with each department to share the survey results, to discuss the information needs of students and to solicit feedback from faculty regarding library collections and services. If any faculty member would like to meet privately with any member of the collection development team (or the whole team), we would be happy to accommodate. Contact one of us below:
Marianne Hebert firstname.lastname@example.org 315-2617-3308
Nancy Alzo email@example.com 315-2617-3317
Holly Chambers firstname.lastname@example.org 315-2617-3312
Carol Franck email@example.com 315-2617-3310
Edward Komara firstname.lastname@example.org 315-2617-3327
Patrick Patterson email@example.com 315-2617-2328
Jenica Rogers firstname.lastname@example.org 315-2617-3328
Abby Smith email@example.com 315-2617-3311
If you are being prompted to open the MS Excel files as MS Word, it might be a problem with your browser settings. You can change the settings for how your brower handles different applications in your browser preferences. For example, here is how to change the settings for Firefox: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/set-how-firefox-handles-different-file-types
Another option is to look for the file in your downloads folder. Double click the .xls file, and it should open in Excel.
There are so many browsers and systems configurations, that it is not practical to provide solutions to them all here. For further assistance, contact Marianne Hebert firstname.lastname@example.org (267-3308). We can send the Excel spreadsheets as .pdf, but for the spreadsheets with multible tabs, each tab is saved as a separate .pdf file. A spreadsheet with 9 tabs will be saved as 9 separate .pdf files. The spreadsheet with 50+ tabs will be saved as 50+ files.
The question was: Students often tell us that they aren't allowed to use "the web" to complete their assignments. If you give assignments where you don't want students to use web resources (i.e. the free web), is it allowable for students to use library resources that are web-based? Which of these web resources are allowable for your assignments?
Here is what respondents said: