CAPRA MEETING, MARCH 13, 2009
Attending: Alan Calder, Kane Gillespie, Bill Godfrey, Norman Goodman, Joan Kuchner, Daria Semegen, Irene Solomon, Alan Tucker, Larry Wittie, Jane Yahil
Guest: Chris Filstrup, Dean and Director of Libraries
The meeting started at 2:35 P.M.
Presentation by Dean Filstrup on the collection budget for the libraries
Dean Filstrup provided the committee with a table that detailed the funding available to the libraries and its expenditures for Fiscal Year 2008-2009. In discussing these data, he noted that library materials for the sciences are almost completely in electronic form and seems to be serving that community well, though there are still some problems of availability of needed materials. A large part of the libraries’ funds go to support “Science Direct” (from Elsevier), which tends to meet the needs of the sciences rather than those of the Humanities, the Arts, or the Social and Behavioral Sciences. In fact, in response to a question, Dean Filstrup estimated that he believed that the ratio of library expenditures for the sciences compared with those for the Social and Behavioral Sciences was about 80/20. The contract for Science Direct is negotiated through SUNY and the cost to the campuses is based on usage. As the campus with the greatest usage, Stony Brook pays a large share of these costs.
Though expensive, Science Direct does seem to meet a need since there are about 300,000 articles downloaded annually from this site. With about 300 journals in this category, the average cost per journal is about $300. However, next year the cost of Science Direct will increase by about $500,000, further reducing the funds available to purchase monographs. Dean Filstrup pointed out that there is little leverage apparent at the highest levels of state government to put pressure on Elsevier to reduce the cost to campus libraries.
Undergraduates have access to many electronic databases, and this appears to meet the students’ needs quite satisfactorily. However, graduate students and faculty are more likely to use journals, of which there are about 4,000 to 5,000 that are paid for.
The major problem the library faces is in its monograph collection. The predominant share of the library budget is spent on journals, which typically have an 8-10% annual inflation rate. The leftover funds, ranging from $200,000 to $1,000,000 (often closer to the lower end), are used to purchase monographs, which typically support course needs more than research and scholarship. While they certainly rely on journals for their scholarly interests, monographs are of essential importance to research and scholarship in the Arts, Humanities, and the Social and Behavioral Sciences.
In a discussion of the comparison of the budget of Stony Brook’s libraries with the other University Centers and with those institutions affiliated with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the campus doesn’t fare well. Buffalo has budget that is 50% greater than Stony Brook’s budget, and while the campus is not bad off in these comparisons with respect to journals, it is at the bottom of the ARL rankings for investment in books.
In response to a question, Dean Filstrup reported that the four University Centers will share responsibility for purchasing key books from most if not all of the major University Presses. Stony Brook, for example, will be responsible for purchasing books from the University of Chicago Press. Each campus will initially purchase one copy these key books, but may increase that number if there is sufficient demand. These books would then be available to all the campus through interlibrary loan. Right now, it was pointed out, about half of our interlibrary loan requests are directed to institutions outside of SUNY.
Staffing takes up about half of the library’s budget. Currently, there are about 90 FTE staff members in the libraries. If Dean Filstrup has to pare $500,000 from his budget, as is being requested, it will probably require cutting staff. Though he did not have the exact budgetary data for staff with him, Dean Filstrup indicated that he would be willing to provide these data and discuss them with CAPRA at a future meeting. There was some mention of the fact that part of the problems that the libraries face is due to understaffing.
The Stony Brook Libraries, Dean Filstrup mentioned, gets back a smaller share of Indirect Cost (IDC) funds relative to other universities. It was pointed out that faculty are allowed to request funds for their library needs in grant proposals, though this is not always done. There has been some discussion with the Vice President for Research about increasing the allocation of IDC funds to the libraries, with no noticeable effect so far. Since Provost Kaler has been interested in reviewing the formula for allocating IDC funds, this might be an appropriate time to raise the issue of using a reasonable portion of it for the needs of the libraries. Also, there is mounting interest within the campus administration for developing new Masters’ programs. The committee believes that any new programs that are approved should include a source of funds to meet its library needs.
Due to perceived space limitations, the question was raised as to whether the libraries maintain older editions of journals and monographs. Dean Filstrup pointed out that Stony Brook’s Libraries are Libraries of Record and thus do maintain older journals and monographs, either in electronic or physical form.
There was a brief mention of the library budget for Southampton, which Dean Filstrup included in the table he provided to the committee. In general, Dean Filstrup indicated that he believed that this was beneficial to Stony Brook University.
Finally, it was mentioned that the library does get donations of books that it may not need and also has a number of unnecessary duplicates. These books are put on reduced sale on the 3rd floor of the Melville Library.
It was agreed that CAPRA should play a role in trying to facilitate the library obtaining the budget, especially for monographs, that it needs to be effective force for quality education, research, and scholarship at Stony Brook University. To that end, Norm asked for volunteers to consider our discussion today and to put together a report that would be a recommendation from this committee for ways to meet the library’s needs. Susan Liberthal and Irene Solomon agreed to take on this task.
Larry Wittie’s report
After Dean Filstrup left, Larry Wittie provided the committee members with a 10-page handout of the annual expenditures of state funds for the past three years for departments and schools/colleges. Because of the lateness of the hour, there was only a brief discussion of the handout, during which Larry described the information it contained. With this considerable database, it would be useful if committee members would send Larry any questions about the allocation of resources that they deem important that might be answered by an analysis of these data.
The meeting ended at 4:10 P.M.