Library Highlights from OPG, vol. 1, no. 6
Staff & Recruitment Update:
A key priority this past year has been recruiting and filling the numerous open positions after last year’s staff retirements and organizational review. In FY 2011, the Library has welcomed twelve staff in new positions (to date):
- Andy Ashton, Director of Digital Technologies
- Amy Atticks, Library Communications and Stewardship Specialist
- Jennifer Betts, University Archivist
- Adam Bradley, Library Programmer
- Carina Cournoyer, Scholarly Resources Librarian for the Social Sciences
- Christopher Geissler, NHPRC Grant Project Archivist
- Ted Lawless, Library Applications Developer
- Rachel Lapkin, Library Materials Conservator
- Teresa Negrucci, Resource Acquisition and Management Librarian
- Ned Quist, AUL for Research and Outreach Services
- Erica Saladino, Library Associate Specialist, Bindery Repair/Conservation Technician
- David Wilson, Library Clerk I, Sciences Library
The Library hosted an all-staff reception on June 14 to welcome the newly hired members of the Library staff as well as thank the many staff who contributed to the recruitment process. In addition to the tremendous amount of work performed by the Library HR staff, 45 Library staff served on search committees, and numerous others met with candidates, attended their presentations, and provided feedback on candidates. A recruitment undertaking of this scale is truly a library-wide effort, and staff participation throughout this process has been very much appreciated.
In addition to the positions already filled, several searches and recruitments currently are underway, including:
- Digital Humanities Librarian
- Digital Repository Manager
- Director of Special Collections and the John Hay Library
- E-Science Librarian
- Library Technical Assistant I, Shelving (temporary)
- Manuscripts Processing Archivist
- Medical Librarian (half-time)
When the dust settles and all these positions are filled, approximately 15% of the Library’s total staff will have been newly hired in their positions since July 1, 2010.
With the close of one fiscal year and the beginning of a new year on July 1, OPG is in the process of developing the Library’s strategic directions and priority action items for FY 2012. Department leaders and others provided input on key priorities and anticipated challenges for the upcoming year. OPG used this information during a “mini-retreat” on June 16 to determine the library-wide directions. The library-wide directions will guide the priorities of individual departments and units, which in turn guide the goals and priorities for work performed by individual staff. The new set of strategic directions and priority action items will be posted on the Library’s web site as soon as they are affirmed.
Library Fun Facts
As many staff may be in the process of compiling statistics and year-end reports to close out FY 2011, here’s a look back at FY 2010 (the latest full year for which we have statistics) and other sources for some interesting trends…
4 millionth volume
In FY 2010, the Library’s collection passed the 4 million volume threshold. Interestingly, it took 13 years to acquire the most recent one million volumes (i.e., from when the 3 millionth volume was purchased in FY 1997). This was four years longer than it took the Library to acquire its previous million volumes — Brown’s 2 millionth volume was purchased in FY 1988.
The differences in these two sets of “millions” reflect the changes in both the publishing landscape over that time and the ways libraries serve users. For example, during the 9-year period when Brown reached the 3 million volume mark, the Library added over 63K volumes per year while spending an average of $3.8M per year on library materials. During that period, an average of 42% of the annual acquisitions budget was spent on monographs.
By contrast, during the 13-year period when Brown reached the 4 million volume mark, the Library added only 59K volumes per year while spending an average of $7.2M per year on library materials. This period experienced sky-rocketing increases in the cost of serials as well as the introduction of electronic databases. As a consequence, serials expenditures consumed a larger and larger portion of the Library’s acquisitions budget — in FY 2010, 24% of the materials budget went toward monographs, compared to 51% in FY 1988.
Of course, like any statistic, the total volume count only tells part of the story. For example, this period of time also saw significant improvements and efficiencies in borrowing and lending materials. During the “3 millionth” period, we borrowed an average of only 10K volumes per year from other libraries for Brown users. During the “4 millionth” period, this increased to well over 30K per year, and in the last five years has averaged almost 40K per year.
Without question, the explosion of electronic information and the proliferation of non-library sources for information have influenced the way users access information. For example, in 1995 (in the nascent days of the World Wide Web), Brown students checked out an average of 34 books per year each. By 2010, this number was down to 21 books per year. Today more than 90% of student searches for information begin “outside” the library at a search engine, underscoring both the “competition” that the library faces in providing students with information sources, and the need to meet them where they do their research (e.g., integrating Brown holdings into search engine results as with Google Scholar, or providing alternative discovery tools and search engines that provide easy access to Brown holdings).
Meeting users virtually at their point of need is one of the goals of the Library’s BULchat service. In the five years that the Library has performed virtual reference transactions, the service has grown from roughly 10% of the overall reference questions to 45%. (This rapid change was the result of both the increase in virtual questions along with the general decrease in reference questions overall.)
Library services that are easy, accessible, and provide users the ability to effectively perform their work will be increasingly important. A recent IMLS study concluded that convenience “was by far the best predictor across all information seeking and use measures” (i.e., people used the information sources that were most convenient). Today, “convenient” also means “mobile” as national studies show that over 60% of undergraduates have mobile devices — the incoming class of Brown medical students, for example, each will be given a smart-pad.
If you’re interested in tracking some of the more recent trends and statistics in library-land, check out OCLC’s weekly newsletter, Above the Fold.
Other Library News
The John Hay Library hosted the Open House for Brown graduating seniors with a display of materials in the Lownes Room and tours of the A.S. Brown gallery on May 26.
The University Archives participated in Staff Development Day (June 2) with an exhibit of photographs, architectural drawings, correspondence, and ephemera related to “Ye Olde Faunce House.”
Jennifer Betts participated in the electronic poster session at the Rhode Island Library Association Annual Conference (June 3) with print and electronic posters and a demonstration of the www.riamco.org website.
The Providence County eighth-graders who won the 2011 Hildene-Brown Lincoln Essay Competition were honored at a luncheon hosted by the Library on June 11, and tours of the John Hay Library were offered to attending families. The Hildene-Brown Lincoln Essay Competition forms part of an ongoing joint effort by the Brown University Library and Hildene to promote the legacy of Abraham Lincoln.
Peter Harrington’s article, “Robert Gibb (1845-1932), historical genre and portrait painter,” was published in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/67574
June 22, 2011