July 23, 2010

Annual Report - Future Directions

Library Report summarizes Alloway Library ‘s accomplishments during the 2009-2010 academic year, a period marked by cut-backs and restraint on personnel, collections, and operations. Alloway Library News presents extracts from the annual report. Read the full version.

In August, 2009 the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) buoyed the expectations of the Library with the promise of grant money from the federal government. The KIP grant was allocated for renovations to the upper level stacks that have been deferred for the past six years. Our initial exuberance has faded, as it now appears increasingly likely that the $298,000 will be forfeited due to lack of university funds to match the grant, which was a condition of the program.

During the last three years the materials acquisition budget has been systematically reduced. This year the full brunt of Redesign has been felt with the complete elimination of the book budget. Though it was modest, the library’s book budget was adequate to acquire minimal numbers of the most essential new research publications. The Library is now no longer able to fill these gaps, and no longer able to support this part of the academic enterprise.

Alloway Library scored well on the Globe and Mail’s annual 2009 University Report Card with an A for Satisfaction with Library Staff. Users also graded the Library with A- for both Overall Library Satisfaction, and for Online Resources. Since public service excellence is our goal, the good grade for service provision was not a surprise to us. But the staffing and resources cuts of Redesign will make high grades difficult to maintain and repeat since positive public perceptions are one of the functions of resource depth. The 2009 Annual Report forecast that “further library functions and services may need to be reduced so that human resources can be optimally focused.” Library personnel were still taken aback by the deep cuts imposed by the strategic plan of Redesign. Called A Way Forward into a Preferred and Sustainable Future, the impact of Redesign on the Library has been to dramatically reduce the Library’s materials and staff budgets. In Technical Services Suzana Maunaga’s position was eliminated entirely. And with the exception of three (fte) circulation staff positions (deemed essential services) all other positions in the Library were reduced – from a low of one day per month to up to two days per week. It is difficult to predict all of the outcomes of these reductions, though we can say with certainty that the quantitative aspect of service provision cannot hope to equal what it has been in the past.

One of the gratifying developments of the unanticipated pressures exerted on staff during this year is the devotedness, care, and support for each other that has been displayed within the department. This goodwill will help us in the year ahead to maintain the collegial relations on which effective service is in part supported.

this is the last of a 4 part series of extracts from Alloway Library's Annual Report

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