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469


DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY


MINORITY REPORT ON THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE LIBRARY COMMITTEE FOR CHANGES TO THE CURRENT POLICIES REGARDING LIBRARY LOAN PERIODS (D 467-468)


Vance Holloway (Spanish and Portuguese) has filed a minority report on the recommendations from the Library Committee for changes to the current policies regarding library loan periods (D 467-468).

This legislation will be considered at the Faculty Council meeting on April 17, 2000.



<signed>

John R. Durbin, Secretary
The Faculty Council




This legislation was posted on the Faculty Council web site (http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on April 11, 2000. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.

470


MINORITY REPORT ON THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE LIBRARY COMMITTEE FOR CHANGES TO THE CURRENT POLICIES REGARDING LIBRARY LOAN PERIODS (D 467-468)


I write as a Faculty Council appointee to the Library Committee, and vice chair of the latter, in disagreement with the majority's recommendation regarding changes in library loan periods. I believe the proposal to increase the general library's loan period for graduate students and classified staff to one full semester, matching the loan period for faculty members, will be detrimental for faculty and students alike.

Currently, graduate students have a four-week loan period and may renew materials on-line simply by going to the library web site (https://utdirect.utexas.edu/lib/services/due.wb) and making the appropriate selections. In these circumstances, increasing the graduate student (and classified staff) loan period should be viewed as a convenience, or privilege, but not a necessity.

What is the consequence of changing the loan period from four weeks to one semester (i.e., 20 weeks)? Human nature is such that many people will not return books until they are due, whether or not they are using them. I do not believe that the majority of graduate students or classified staff use books over the course of an entire semester (although students who have advanced to doctoral candidacy probably do). I think the consequence of extending borrowing periods will be less books on the shelves and more recalls, which will shift the burden from those who previously had to renew electronically to those who now must first recall, and, more important, wait for materials to become available.

Having books on the shelf is not just a matter of serendipity. As one faculty member has said, whether one is looking for something on combinatorics or the history of mathematics or the industrial revolution, it is much more efficient to be able to look quickly at what's available than to ask for a recall of every book that looks promising. Furthermore, if more items remain checked out for the entire semester, the quantity of books turned in at the end of the semester will increase, causing more of a processing delay while large numbers of items are re-shelved during a period when many faculty are actively using the library resources for research while not teaching.

I believe a more appropriate solution would be to leave the classified staff loan period unchanged, increase the graduate student loan period from four to eight weeks, and increase the period for those advanced to doctoral candidacy to one semester. The resulting student/faculty loan periods would be:

Undergraduate: 2 weeks

Non-professional staff: 4 weeks

Graduate students: 8 weeks

Doctoral candidates: semester (20 weeks)*

Faculty: semester (20 weeks)


*This option was dismissed in committee as unfeasible. I am very skeptical that this is so. The current loan system already contains nine different borrower categories. Why not ten? Likewise, the net software adapted for renewal can be reconfigured for one additional category, and UT identification cards can contain the appropriate encryption, even if doctoral students have to acquire a new card when they advance to candidacy.