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University of Texas Libraries Committee

The committee spent the 2009-10 academic year engaged in a concerted effort to understand the inner functioning of the University Libraries, including finances, budgetary constraints and planning, development, resource and staff allocation, and the logistics of purchasing, collating, processing, storing, and making accessible to the community the many resources of the University Libraries. To accomplish these goals, the committee posed at the beginning of the year a series of topical questions to the administrative staff of the Libraries, framed our meeting agendas around those questions, and targeted meetings to the exploration and elucidation of the topics. The committee met once per month in fall and spring semesters, elected to extend its monthly meetings to ninety minutes per meeting, and concentrated our attention by meeting in the conference rooms within PCL instead of following the traditional practice of visiting branch libraries across the campus.

In a year of actual and anticipated additional budget challenges, the committee attempted to position itself to function more effectively in its advisory capacity. The committee received an in-depth introduction to the complexities associated with the operation and management of the libraries. The sobering budget constraints under which the libraries must operate continue to be a concern for this committee, especially in light of the inflationary costs associated with academic publishing, and the increasing threat that the teaching and research missions of the University will be materially damaged as a result of budget cuts. At the end of the academic year, the committee members drafted a letter to the president outlining our concerns.

The goals of this committee for the upcoming academic year will be shaped in large part by the impact on the libraries of anticipated budget cuts.

Christopher J. Bell, chair