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University of Texas Libraries Committee
The Committee met three times in the fall of 2011 and four times in the spring of 2012. All meetings were held in the PCL conference room. A key component of these meetings was the exchange of information between the UT Libraries administrative staff and C-7 committee members.
One of the main topics discussed by the committee was the library budget. Over the course of several meetings, the administrative staff described the budget situation facing the University and the libraries, presented plans for addressing immediate challenges, and reviewed strategic planning initiatives designed to position the libraries to cope with longer-term issues.
Annual increases in the cost of materials, especially electronic subscriptions, present a continuing financial difficulty. A libraries staff working group was therefore formed to collect data on current collections practices, and three specialists from varied peer institutions visited campus for two days in March to review these practices with staff. Following their visit, they provided Vice Provost Heath with a report on their findings and recommendations for future directions, which was shared with the committee.
Research university libraries face significant challenges in the near future, including scholarly communications costs, state and national fiscal climates, and technological changes. To ensure that the University libraries remain among the top tier of research university libraries, the UT Libraries administration and staff initiated a strategic planning process designed to address critical issues facing the libraries over the next five years. The committee also learned about libraries development efforts, such as Literary Longhorns and Adopt-a-Book, and was informed of recent bequests.
The escalating costs of scholarly publishing continue to be of concern to the committee, particularly in the area of journal subscriptions. We discussed efforts to manage such costs, and we anticipate a continuation of this conversation next year.
A number of additional topics was discussed during the year. These include remote storage projects, the collaboration between the Benson Latin American Collection (BLAC) and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), space planning issues, digital initiatives and resources, the possible implications for the libraries of a new UT medical school, and the results of Lib-QUAL surveys of students and faculty. The topic of potential partnerships between the libraries and the University of Texas Press was raised, and we anticipate that this will also be discussed next year.
Committee members note the forward-looking manner with which the libraries have prepared for change in multiple areas and appreciate the detailed information presented by Dr. Heath and the staff. The committee also appreciates the support provided by the University administration, especially in the current fiscal climate, and hopes that the University will continue to provide that support if at all possible.
David Leal, chair