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University of Texas Libraries Committee

The University of Texas Libraries Committee has met monthly during the 2006-07 academic year. Our business has been varied, but we believe that we have successfully addressed the committee’s charge to inform ourselves “concerning the functions of the University of Texas Libraries, including the branch libraries."

The fall semester was chiefly dedicated to examining the recent history, with particular attention paid to the past decade, of the University’s funding support of its libraries and their collections (both traditional and electronic), service, and buildings. We also considered how that funding has compared to our peer institutions’ funding over that time. We came to the conclusion that the University’s funding has not kept pace with that of our peer institutions, and we prepared and addressed a letter, which was delivered to the president and provost of the University in January, that stated our concerns about the implications of this shortfall, if it is allowed to continue, on the University’s standing as a top-ranked research institution. We urged the president to consider our letter as he sets priorities for the upcoming capital campaign.

During the spring semester, we have focused on several issues. Our February meeting was devoted to learning about the University Libraries’ participation in the Google Books project. At our March meeting, we reviewed the current facilities and future plans for remote storage of the libraries’ collections. At our April meeting, we previewed the new online catalog and library system that is in process of preparation. Our May meeting will be a visit to one of the University’s branch libraries. We also forwarded to the Faculty Council a minor revision to the official statement of the committee’s function that is designed to emphasize that the committee’s charge involves all of the University’s libraries, including the branch libraries; it was approved at the Council’s April meeting.

Michael Winship, chair