home Staff news Notes from the Director 10/8/19

Notes from the Director 10/8/19

Hello everyone,

This semester seems to be vanishing more quickly than ever before, most likely because it’s my last one at MU.  Thanks to all of you for keeping up with the demands placed on us as the semester unfolds.

Today I want to invite you all to an informal gathering I’m hosting before my official farewell party in the Staff Lounge which is from 2-4 on Nov. 22.  The informal gathering will be a happy hour in the U Club dining room at Reynolds Center, from  3-6 on November 20.   I hope you can join me for both.  Plan now to write a little bit about working in the University Libraries in the Memory Book I’m going to bring to both events; a paragraph or so of what you love about the Libraries (or what you remember, anyway) is the only thing I want from anyone to mark my time at MU.

In good news, we have several new librarians as a result of our recent searches.  I hope you’ve seen the announcements.  I have one more—John Henry Adams joins us in Special Collections on Nov. 1, replacing Tim Perry.  The Acquisitions Librarian search has begun recently, too.

The Open Access Task Force I was chairing for the UM System is issuing its final report, and we are NOT recommending cutting off our Elsevier contract. We are recommending increasing emphasis on Open Access education for faculty and researchers, and an eventual move toward fewer paid subscriptions. I don’t know how much money we will be able to get from campus or the System to renew Elsevier, but we hope to know soon. The Libraries still have a 500K reduction for this fiscal year, so some cuts are still necessary.  More, much more on this, later on.

On this Thursday, Vice Chancellor for Finance Rhonda Gibler will be the speaker at our Staff Advisory Group Town Hall meeting in 114A at 2pm.  She will be talking about the new campus budget model and taking questions.  Currently I don’t think the new budget model will be harmful to the Libraries, and I hope we can all listen to her and ask frank questions without negativity. She makes decisions and we need her good will, whatever happens.  The big positive of the new budget model is transparency—it should be more objective than the current budget process, and more clear and understandable.

As you all read in the announcement of my retirement that the Provost sent out last week, a national search for my successor will take place in the coming spring.  I’ll share word on who the acting Vice Provost and University Librarian will be just as soon as I know it.






home Staff news Notes From the Director 5/13/19

Notes From the Director 5/13/19

Hello everyone,

Today we have a cool and sunny start for finals as we end the semester and head into summer.

Lots has been going on with staff, so I’m just going to start listing the changes.  All of these are effective July 1 unless noted otherwise.

Abbie Brown is moving to RAIS, to work in Instruction, reporting to Joe Askins.  She is a skilled instructor and presenter, and wanted a change, so we are glad to be able to offer her one!

We will begin searching for her replacement right away.  Susan McCormack will move over to work alongside Tom Barnes.  Julie Housknecht’s position is already posted and we plan to interview soon.  We will also be posting an Acquisitions Librarian position, probably later this summer.   Seth Huber has already started, replacing Wayne in Cataloging and Metadata, and Ashley and Colleen are reporting to him.

You’ve probably guessed by now that the search for the Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, Archives and Rare Books was unsuccessful.  Going into the new academic year, Felicity, Anselm and Kelli are going to report directly to me as a trio until we decide what to do with the AUL position.  We will be replacing Tim Perry with a new librarian or achivist hire, and changing the GLA for SPEC into a part-time staff position.

Sheila Voss is in her new position handling space and projects now, and Matt will be hiring to replace her with a redesigned position in an Advancement title, similar to what other places on campus use for that work.

At HSL, Chris Pryor is transitioning into 20% of her time being given over to HSL Administration, as the NNLM grant funding her begins to decrease slightly. She will update some HSL webpages and handle some of Rich Rexroat’s old duties.

Our budget news has not been tremendous, but we will manage and work on controlling collection costs as we have before.

If you want to ask questions, email me any time.

Please plan to attend the lunch for the Celebration of Service at 11 am on May 30 in Ellis 201, the Grand Reading Room.

Best wishes,

Ann Campion Riley
Vice Provost and University Librarian

home Staff news Notes From the Director, April 22

Notes From the Director, April 22

Hello everyone,

So much is happening all of a sudden that it’s hard to know where to start.

All of you have heard about our space planning consultants for the Libraries who are coming for their first visit on April 3-4. The firm is Shepley Bulfinch, who are very well-known among research libraries.  I encourage you all to look at their website if you haven’t yet.  The Libraries are paying them out of our lapsed salary funds, which is money we have from unfilled positions. The consultants are reporting to us, not Campus Facilities, although of course Facilities will be part of the meetings.  I know several research library directors who have used Shepley Bulfinch, and they all were extremely happy with the results.  Please try to come to the Staff Advisory Group meeting with them, as well as any other meeting you may be invited to.  We will be talking about both short and long term planning, and will have continuing interaction with them until we get their report in July.  We have already sent them floor plans and much information. They will bring ideas for new possibilities and the opportunity to think creatively about all our library spaces.  (We will not be able to raise money for major renovations until we have a plan.)

The library depository addition project manager will also be here on Thursday April 4 so she can interact with the space consultants.  The depository addition project is on again, with campus funding, and we hope to complete it in early 2021 or sooner.  No additional word on the proposed one stop shop; I hope we will get word after break.

Also right after break we have another candidate for the Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, Archives, Rare Books and Digitization.  Please come hear him on Tuesday, April 2 at his open presentation or join us on Zoom.

Last week I had a meeting with campus and system leaders to talk about open access publishing in light of the news that the University of California Libraries have declined to renew a contract with the publisher Elsevier, who is well known for high impact journals and extremely high prices.  This may develop into big changes, and I will keep you posted.  So far, President Choi has decided to appoint a system-wide group including librarians to study the issues involved.

For those of you taking some time off next week, have a safe and happy break.  See you in April.

—Ann Campion Riley


home Staff news Notes From the Director 11/8/18

Notes From the Director 11/8/18

Hello everyone,

November is here, which is hard to believe.  The cold weather is here, too,  and the end of the semester is already looming.  We’ve been a little slow getting to our strategic planning, but most of the campus is right with us.  The campus plan came out a few weeks ago, and I am hoping to finish with the Libraries’ plan soon. For those of you unable to make it to that meeting, this is a chance to have some input.  The campus has five large goals, and included here are some Library goals.  Feel free to add any more you’d like to see, or to submit other ideas or questions to rashj@missouri.edu  by Nov. 16.

In other news, lots is happening with space planning, but we still don’t have any firm dates.  Watch for more news soon.  I’ve asked the Ellis Space and Facilities Advisory Committee (ESFAC) to work with staff who may be affected, and I hope to have more to share later.  Otherwise, things seem to be going along well, aside from the usual budget stuff.

You all are doing a wonderful job serving our students and keeping operations moving along.  The new Special Collections classroom is busy, and I know that the inclusion of the Libraries in MU Connect is going well, too. Technical Services soldiers on and gets work done in ways most of us don’t see. Kudos to all.

I will be away from the Libraries starting next week until after Thanksgiving, so I’m going to wish you all a good holiday now. Sorry to miss the MULSA celebration, which is always fun.  As usual, email me with questions or concerns as needed.


home Staff news Notes From the Director, 8/28/18

Notes From the Director, 8/28/18

By now many of you have received notification you are getting salary increases.  Many of you have not received notification, which means your salary will be the same continuing through August of 2019.  Whether you received a raise or not, I want to thank for another year of service to the libraries, and encourage you with the knowledge that we are working to improve salaries for all.

Deciding how to assign raises was especially difficult this year.  The Libraries received a small raise pool from the University Budget Office, which we had not for about five years previously.  We also received separate, earmarked funding from the Provost’s Office for the promotion raises for librarians being promoted from Librarian II to III and III to IV.  These promotion amounts are set by the Provost’s Office each year.  Campus Human Resources emphasized we could not give a set percentage to everyone.

In assigning raises, the LMT looked at meritorious performance, time in rank, compression, rate penetration within rank and the ARL salary survey.  We did the best we could to do an equitable distribution.  We looked at all categories of employees.

As fall arrives and football begins, we know that campus life is picking up, and more students every day are visiting our libraries.  We are all committed to helping make their student experiences good one.  Thanks for all you do that contributes to the quality of the MU educational experience.

–Ann Campion Riley



home Staff news Notes from the Director 7/19/18

Notes from the Director 7/19/18

The time after summer session ends and before fall begins is traditionally a peaceful time of year.  This year, late summer has brought with it lots of budget and space planning questions at the campus level.  What will happen to the lower level of Ellis Library is wrapped up in some of those discussions this year.

Most of you have heard by now about the possible changes.  I want to emphasize that no decisions are final yet except that the new director of the Teaching for Learning Center is moving temporarily, until new offices are ready for her, into my old office, Ellis 56.  Sharing information about other ongoing plans helps people be aware of what is under discussion, and I have to balance openness against creating situations that can generate unhealthy gossip and speculation.  I want to be as open as possible about things, and I know trusting people to hear and understand in an open-minded spirit is the right thing overall.

As we confront changes and challenges, the most important thing we can do is be calm and respect each other’s viewpoints. We need to be careful about thinking out loud sometimes, as we can unintentionally tread on the feelings of others. I am trying not to do that, and hope you will, too.

Many of you will be on vacation for a few days as the summer ends.  Deb Ward will be acting University Librarian while I am gone during the next few weeks.  I look forward to having productive discussions at our All Staff Meeting, featuring our new Provost, on Aug. 16!

Ann Campion Riley
Vice Provost and University Librarian



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.