home Staff news Notes from the Director 6/8/18

Notes from the Director 6/8/18

Today I have a few things to share.  The NNLM grant-funded librarian position in HSL has been filled, and the new person starts August 1.  She is Christina Pryor, who joins us from the University of Washington in Seattle.  She previously worked in St. Louis County, and some of you may remember her from the Missouri Library Association meetings.  Coming with her, and with support from the Provost’s office as a spousal hire, is her husband Steven Pryor, also a librarian, who has been working in digital projects at the University of Washington Libraries, who will join RAIS in Ellis.  They will be starting August 1.

Also, Wayne Sanders will not be returning, and we are starting a search soon to fill  his position in Technical Services with a slightly modified title and responsibilities.

Planning for the use of Ellis’ lower level continues at the campus level, and I hope to have more to share soon.

This has seemed to be a long week, despite some of us being gone for part of it to the MOBIUS conference.  I gave a presentation there on the future of libraries, and several other staff also presented on various interesting topics.  (Several people have asked about my presentation, and I will be giving it at the July Staff Advisory Group meeting as the program that day, July 12.)

As I wrote last week, no additional staff reductions are planned for the Libraries in the coming year.  All of you are important contributors to the work of the Libraries, and we need everyone to keep working hard.

Thanks to you all as we hang on together.  Stay cool this weekend.


home Staff news Notes From the Director, 4/13/18

Notes From the Director, 4/13/18

Hello everyone,

Yesterday we received word that Chancellor Cartwright approved the librarians’ and archivists’ official recognition as non-tenure track faculty members (NTT).  I think this is very good news, and will help raise the profile of the librarians on campus.  There are details to work out, and MULAC will be doing that, but the recognition is the first big step.  Thanks to all who worked on this issue over the last few years.

Most of you have probably noticed that the steam pipe work on Lowry Mall is finally over.  I’m sorry the bricks are back, as I had hoped we would get a surface less slippery when wet, but at least the construction fences are gone.   Planting of pansies and other annual flowers will likely start soon, so I hope we’re done with snow!

Budget planning has not moved forward, which is a bit stressful, since we still have so much uncertainty.  We should know more in a week or two. I don’t think I can say no news is good news.  More information will come soon, and I know we are all worried it won’t be good.

The big Library Society donor event in Room 201 is on for Friday, April 27, as many of you know, starting at 4:30 pm.  I’m sorry the room will be closed all that day and night and part of the next day.  We also make a lot of noise just before finals.  Our donors love using that room, though, and it really helps to gain their support, which we need now more than ever.  This year we are partnered with the campus Legacy Society, which is for people who have planned estate gifts, as well as with David Crespy and the Theater Department, who are providing our speaker, Tony-award winning Broadway director Marshall Mason.  The program is on the Lanford Wilson papers, which we have here, and his plays.  (Tickets are $50; talk to Sheila Voss if interested).

Next weekend is the Unbound Book Festival at Stephens College, which is all free and offers many interesting author talks.  We have Anselm chairing a session on authors’ use of archives.  Matt and others will have a table with information on Friends of the Libraries and hope to recruit some new members.

Again, congratulations to librarians and archivists on NTT status, and best wishes for the next steps.


home Staff news Notes from the University Librarian 3/16/18

Notes from the University Librarian 3/16/18

Hello everyone,

This morning I am delighted to announce that after a search, Noel Kopriva has been appointed the Engineering Librarian and Head of the Engineering Library and Technology Commons.  She had been filling the role on an interim basis, and I know you all join me in wishing her well in her new position.  Discussions are ongoing about how to deal with her liaison and other duties from her past position.

In other non-news, budget discussions continue all over campus.  The University and the state legislators have not come to agreement on state appropriations for us, and even if they did, we have to wait until the Board of Curators meets on April 12-13 in Rolla to set tuition rates for next year.  I know the state of uncertainty is hard for everyone, and will share any news we get as soon as possible.

Because of the situation with us being unable to fill some positions due to the budget, many of you have taken on more and more work in recent years.  Today is probably a good time for me to remind everyone to talk to your supervisor if the amount of work you have is becoming difficult to manage.  Take time to ask for help setting priorities if you need it, and if you’re a supervisor, be clear in setting priorities for your staff and student workers as much as you can.  Teamwork is the only way we’re going to get through this situation, and we need to be patient and clear with each other in all our interactions.

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, and I hope you all have a safe and happy weekend.  I’ll definitely be wearing green but no longer drink green beer….


home Staff news Notes from the Director, 2/2/18

Notes from the Director, 2/2/18

Hello everyone,

Today is cold and sunny, a classic winter day.  I think we all welcome the sunshine, no matter how cold, after all the cold gray days we had last month.

Some of you know I was out with the flu earlier this week, and I am glad to be back and better.  I hope everyone is taking care, washing hands frequently and getting enough rest as we hear there is at least another month left of flu season.

There is probably at least another month to wait until we hear the campus budget assumptions for the coming year.  Lately the news has not been too bad, and enrollment is projected now to be up for the fall, so we can hope to avoid another major cut, but we don’t know yet.  Our plans for the depository continue, as do our other projects that we discussed last month at the All Staff meeting.  Jim Spain is now the Interim Provost, and we know he is a friend to many of us and to the libraries, so we hope little will change from the great support we had from Garnett Stokes. I know some of you attended her farewell. She will be missed.

This week starts Black History Month, and there are many interesting events taking place on campus in commemoration. I hope you all find time to attend some.  There are calendars of events that should be posted soon.

This coming Tuesday is the monthly Staff Advisory Group meeting, and I hope to see many of you there.  Maybe I will have more news then, but for now, I don’t have much.  We continue to be busy in Ellis and all the locations, which is good news.


home Staff news Notes from the Director 12/18/17

Notes from the Director 12/18/17

Last Friday I said I would write more on Monday, and now it’s the next Monday.  I guess I was waiting until I had some good news on the sign project, which I think I do.  Most of you know that the sign replacement project begun last year has taken a long time to come to fruition and has had some bumps along the way.  We still have some of the new signs that need replaced because or errors and some that need repositioned, and we are working with Facilities to be sure that happens soon.  The other issue is the so-called patch and paint project to cover the areas the old signs covered that the new ones don’t.  We hope that will be complete in a few months.  It’s been a rocky road, but I for one am glad to have signs to direct people to the elevators and to research help, and know new signs are worth the hassle in the end.

The door controllers at Ellis have been another challenge.  They are not behaving consistently. Security and other  staff are working to get them straightened out.  Luckily ,most of you are unaffected by this.

While we’re talking about doors, I have to mention the Ellis loading dock door area.  Campus Disability Services advises us that it is not a safe entrance by ADA standards, and strongly recommends we not allow anyone to use it except for specific business purposes.  So that is what we really have to do, for insurance purposes.  I know this is an inconvenience for some, and walking around the south wall of Ellis is annoying at times, but that is the route that is cleared when snow falls, and that’s the one we have to use.  Some have complained about the bricks on that route. The bricks can be slippery, and we need to be sure we document every time a person falls or slips, to add fuel to our arguments to have them removed or changed.  If any of you fall or slip on the bricks by either door to Ellis, notify Kathy Peters as well as your supervisor.  The loading dock door, however, cannot be used as a regular or disability-justified entrance.  No one  has permission to do that, and if you did temporarily, it’s cancelled.  (Sorry to sound like the Grinch here!)

Of course, with bad weather potentially coming sometime this winter, I encourage you all to use your own judgment and not endanger yourselves, ever.  Please stay home if you think you are at risk coming to work. Don’t be a hero; take care of yourself and your family members first.  Only a few people are judged “situationally critical” and they know who they are.  A day of leave is a small price to pay for safety and health. Coming in late is also sometimes a possible solution and I ask all supervisors to be flexible.  As I’ve stated before, so many of our library services are available online that if given a choice, the Libraries will always close when the campus does.

Here’s hoping for happy holidays for all, lots of good weather in January, and seeing you all at our All Staff Meeting on January 11 in Ellis Auditorium!  Thanks for all your work as always.


home Staff news Notes from the Director, 12/8/17

Notes from the Director, 12/8/17

Hello everyone,

Just in case you have not heard yet, the Chancellor is closing campus and giving all full-time employees four additional days off with pay between Christmas and New Years Day (Dec. 26-29).

The University Libraries will ALL BE CLOSED as will the rest of campus. Hospitals are not included, obviously.  SHS plans to be closed along with Ellis.

To be clear, no Library staff can work during that time as we are completely closed. Part-timers and students can’t work; full-timers can’t work. Enjoy the extra time off.

More on Monday,

home Staff news Notes from the Director

Notes from the Director

Hello everyone,

This morning I attended the Board of Curators meeting at which the campus capital plan including the expansion of the library depository (UMLD1) was presented.  Chancellor Cartwright talked about each item for our campus, called the deans with projects pending to microphone for questions (me included), and  all five proposed projects went through pending final financial approval at the spring (Feb. or March) Curators’ meeting.  I’ll talk more about this at next week’s Staff Advisory Group.  So expanding the depository, since we are not asking for state funds, is very close to certain now.  That’s the great news.

The good news, as you have heard before, is that the libraries have been able to make some salary adjustments as of Nov. 1.  All those receiving raises as well as their supervisors were notified this week.  There were only a few, based on excellence, market, and equity, and I’m really sorry we could not do more.  Next year we will try again for more raises for more people.  Thank you all for your hard work and patience as we try to address raising salaries overall within the limitations imposed on us by decreasing state funding, system budget cuts, and strict campus guidelines.  The budget outlook for next fiscal year is still very uncertain.

In other news, the campus Environmental Health and Safety office has issued some recommendations to us, including the restriction of access to the Ellis loading dock area to those who work there.  We want to keep everyone safe and avoid injuries.  This means when we change the door controls, which will happen by Nov. 18, that staff who use the loading dock door to enter Ellis Library will no longer be able to do so, unless they have a valid business reason, as determined by LMT.  It means a little more walking for some of you, and we’re sorry about that, and the short notice, but we can’t go against the recommendations without making ourselves liable, and the University Risk Management folks take a very dim view of that. We just have to comply.  If there is a disability access issue, talk to Sheryl, but the west doors are the official ADA-compliant entrance.  Kathy Peters will notify you if you will continue to have loading dock access, and will give access as needed.

Congratulations to the winners of the MULSA Halloween costume contest. (Laura Buck, the TARDIS from Dr. Who, looked amazing.)  And of course Thursday, the 16th, is the Thanksgiving Lunch, we many of us really look forward to! See you there, and at the Staff Advisory Group meeting, I hope.


home Staff news Notes from the Director 11/3/17

Notes from the Director 11/3/17

Hello everyone,

Today I received notice that the library depository addition is going to be on the Board of Curators’ agenda next week.  It’s exciting news, and I know you all join me in hoping for the best. Now the challenge is waiting for the approval.

Other than that, all the day-to-day news about the new security lights and cameras, the door project progressing, etc., pales in comparison.  In more good news, the signage throughout the building should be completed during Thanksgiving week.  Plans continue for using student fee money for new furniture for 114, which should happen in the spring.

Bad news for us was that our Provost, Garnett Stokes, is leaving to become president of the University of New Mexico on March 1, 2018.  She has been a good friend to the Libraries, and while I am happy to see her skills and value recognized, we will really miss her support.

Don’t forget that Chancellor Alex Cartwright will be visiting Ellis on this coming Monday, Nov. 6.  All are invited to meet and mingle with him in 114A at the end of his tour about three.  We will send a reminder out.  I have lots of info prepared for him, and we will give him as full a tour as time allows.

I keep spending lots of time on development work, with Matt’s wonderful help, and looking for ways to both grow and protect our library budget.  We have some good prospects, and I know that keeping up our efforts will pay off in time.

Thanks as always for all your hard work, and special thanks to all who helped with the Homecoming Open House in Ellis.  We had a good turnout despite all the construction.


home Staff news Notes from the Director, 9/27/17

Notes from the Director, 9/27/17

Hello everyone,

Some changes are coming—next month all the library staff and faculty will need to get new ID cards.  There is NO CHARGE to anyone; the Libraries are covering cost because we are changing to a new card swipe system at all the building entry doors.  The whole campus will be changing eventually, and we are going to be one of the first buildings.  This will help with security, and will be especially important for people who come early or stay late.  We will talk more about it at coming meetings, but you all need to know it’s happening.  We will set up special times for library people and make getting a new card as easy as possible. Each person will have a new photo taken for the new card. (I hate that part but we do change in appearance over time.)

Also, we have long talked about name tags/badges for everyone.  The Libraries will be supplying OPTIONAL name badges for all full-time and part-time personnel except student workers.  Some of you will be contacted if there is question on your preferred name.  No one is required to wear a name badge, but many have asked for them.  Most staff in other areas wear them, including administrators, who really appreciate us wearing them.  Again, though, there is no requirement, just a preference.  They will be metal and held on by magnets. (You can see many people wearing the same style in Jesse Hall and we should have an example at the next Staff Advisory Group meeting).

Work continues to install additional lights and cameras outside Ellis Library as part of our commitment to safety for all our staff and users, especially during our extended hours.

Work also continues to complete the planning and paperwork needed to begin construction on the expansion of UMLD.  This will benefit the whole library system and we should have a firm date soon.

And of course Lowry Mall is still torn up; we hear that the east end will be done by Homecoming (Oct 21) but that then they will tear up the west end.

Enjoy our newly-cool fall days, and don’t hesitate to call or email with questions.


home Staff news Notes from the Director, 9/11/17

Notes from the Director, 9/11/17

Hello everyone,

I learned on Friday that we have approval to build the replacement for U2, the second phase of our library depository, another module of UMLD on Lemone Blvd.  It will be an extension of the current UMLD, to the south of the current building.  We will pay for it with existing funds now being spent to rent and maintain U2, the old Rust and Martin furniture store near the Midway exit off I-70, as well as additional funds we will have available, with student approval, from the Enhance Mizzou fee.  Cost is estimated at $5.2M, and campus will cover that amount and the Libraries will use our income, described above, to pay it back over a term of years.

Next week I meet with Heiddi Davis, from Facilities, and we will start working on the bid process and details.  Because we are building on university-owned land, and already have an architect’s plan, we hope to move as quickly as possible and be in by next summer.

This is amazingly good news, and I hope to have more details to share with you soon.

Besides that, I want to remind you all that the Campus Climate Survey results, from the survey we took last fall, will be presented at two campus open forums in Jesse Auditorium.  The first one is tomorrow at 3:30, and the second one is Wed., also in Jesse, at 12:30 pm.  All are encouraged to attend.  The survey is nationally normed, and MU has done it several times before. It was done all across the system, and UMKC got their results today.  MU is always looking to improve climate and morale for all, and create a supportive, inclusive environment for our students, faculty and staff.  Getting survey data on how things are helps us know how to improve, so we can’t be afraid of these surveys.  Improving communication improves every organization, and I hope we can continue to work on making the Libraries an even better organization.