With Thanksgiving over and done, thoughts turn to the upcoming holidays. Like many of you, I see the holiday season as a time of gift giving and giving back by helping those less fortunate or in need of specialized services. I like the practice of donating to a favorite charity in lieu of a gift. For many years, my mom and I supported the white tigers at the Cincinnati Zoo in memory of my grandmother. But increasingly I’m committed to supporting the needs of our local community and have chosen United Way as the main means for doing so.
2014 is a year of many anniversaries, including the centenary of the beginning of World War I. Tomorrow is Veterans Day, also known as Armistice Day marking the end of World War I in 1918, when hostilities ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This afternoon from 4:30-6:30 pm in Libe Café, Olin and Uris Libraries will host an event to commemorate the centenary of WWI—Perspectives: Readings from the Fields of War.
Two interesting reports published recently take special notice of the proliferation of mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) and their implications for academic purposes. The first one is the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report, which launched a specific library edition in August 2014, http://www.nmc.org/publications/2014-horizon-report-library. It examines trends, challenges, and emerging technologies as they impact academic and research libraries.
Take One: October 20, 2014 (What does the Appeals Court’s reversal in the GSU Ereserves case mean for Cornell?)
On Octocber 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the earlier District Court decision in the Georgia State reserves case (see June 4, 2012 Take One http://staffweb.library.cornell.edu/node/3015). The Circuit Court’s ruling does not represent a victory for the publishers plaintiffs: Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Sage Publishing. Rather the Court has sent back the case for further proceedings consistent with their findings.
As the Library strives to facilitate the scholarly conversation in our fast-changing world, we need up-to-date information about our users’ needs and a sense of their perceptions of how we are doing. Although we have done a variety of user studies on specific issues, we have not had a broad-based, library-focused user survey for nine years. Now it’s time! This Thursday, October 2nd, we are launching a survey of all faculty and teaching staff.
This week we celebrate the 32nd year that the American Library Association has sponsored Banned Books Week. This annual event highlights threats to our right to read, a freedom embodied in the First Amendment to the Constitution. It gives me immense pride that libraries have been at the forefront of those committed to protecting that right, which has two important aspects. The first is providing access to materials that document all political and social stripes.
Below is the letter that went out to all faculty on September 5th updating them on important developments in the Library. These semi-annual emails are designed to supplement the liaison contacts with faculty that occur on a regular basis. Our hope is these letters keep faculty informed but also serve as the means for engaging them with library staff, perhaps even sparking new conversations. I’m pleased to report that I received a number of emails back from faculty, thanking us for the exemplary service and offering suggestions on a number of topics—most notably on the open-access front.
I’ve had three strong mentors during my professional life. The first taught me how to step up and embrace my job as a career. She emphasized the importance of challenging assumptions while respecting library norms and values. My second mentor urged me to take a broader view of my work, to understand it in the context of the good of the whole, and to see value in an administrative role. My third mentor helped me deal with disappointments and setbacks. He stressed two things: the importance of doing what I thought was right even if it proved unpopular and the importance of work/life balance.
I wrote you in early August with the news that the Library will absorb the budget cut this year without facing staff layoffs. I’m now writing to let you know how we will accomplish the task of trimming $715,000 from our budget. Each member of the Library Executive Group has worked hard to identify ways to come up with cuts by sacrificing empty lines and carefully scrutinizing other expenses in the operating budget. Lib Exec made the commitment years ago to streamline leadership and contribute to budget savings.
Take One: August 25, 2014 (Upcoming administrative changes in response to John Saylor’s pending retirement)
Last month I shared the news that John Saylor will retire in early January after nearly 42 years of working at Cornell. I wanted to let you know how his portfolio will be handled in light of this loss. Recall that as the AUL for Scholarly Resources and Special Collections, John is responsible for Collection Development, Kroch Asia, and the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. After careful review and given the financial constraints under which the Library is operating, I believe we can distribute these responsibilities without hiring another AUL.