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MU Libraries News Spring 2015

MU Libraries News Spring 2015

It has been an eventful year for the MU Libraries! We’d like to give you a brief update and forecast of things to come. While we face many challenges, we also find opportunity for new projects and developments.

You may have seen reports in the media of the proposed student library fee. With the encouragement of Chancellor Loftin and with input from the Missouri Student Association (MSA) and the Graduate Professional Council (GPC), the MU Libraries have proposed a student library fee.

  • If passed by the students, the fee will begin at $5.00 per credit hour in fall 2016 and will be followed by $2 annual increases over the five years to a total of $15.00 per credit hour.
  • The fee will dramatically increase funding to the Libraries and help Mizzou to deliver library services on par with our peer institutions.
  • The vote will take place in November 2015.
  • For more details and opportunity to give your input, see

The budget is indeed challenging. With expenditures of $18,643,152, the MU Libraries rank 53rd among the 62 AAU institutions that are members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Our expenditures per FTE student are 37.33% below the ARL average. (For more detail, see our Annual Statistical Report, attached, and our Operating Expenditures report.) Special challenges this year include:

  • Continued inflation of journal and database subscriptions.
  • The 2% reduction in the general allocation of funds, as for all University units.
  • Mandatory increases in minimum wage and for some staff classifications.
  • The need to replenish our self-insurance fund following the mold outbreak and fire of recent years.
  • Increased cost for rental of off-campus storage of materials.
  • Flat or reduced funding of the UM Library Systems Office and other state library organizations, resulting in some cancellations and shifting some costs to the MU Libraries’ budget.

We are considering options for dealing with these issues. If the proposed student fee does not pass, we will almost certainly face a very large journal cancellation. We will begin the work of compiling usage statistics and costs this summer and will be reviewing subscriptions with faculty in the fall in order to be prepared for this eventuality. We will also need to consider curtailing services. If you share our concern regarding library funding, please convey that to your department chair, your dean, and to the Campus Library Committee.

Despite these budget woes, we have been able to make some additions and improvements:

  • We are grateful to Vice Chancellor of Research Hank Foley for funding the subscription to Web of Science for MU. In addition to indexing major journals in many areas, Web of Science provides the metrics used by the AAU to measure the impact of scholarly work. Training videos are available at
  • We have also been able to extend our subscription to BrowZine, an app that facilitates access to online journals.
  • We have made some changes to our website and implemented upgrades to several technologies in order to improve access and usability.
  • Thanks to the Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee we will have a new KIC scanner in the Journalism Library.
  • Thanks to engineering student Nick Bira and the Interdisciplinary Innovations Fund, we have a 3D printing service available in Ellis Library.
  • We will be transitioning to a new electronic reserves system, an improvement on eRes, this summer.
  • We continue to increase our capacity to support online learning through the creation of online learning tools, streaming of our workshops, and effective use of tools such as Blackboard’s Collaborate.

We have also done some reorganization. The former Ellis Library Reference Department has been reconfigured as a cluster of closely related teams with the aim of developing services for new students and experienced researchers, regardless of location:

  • Research Services
  • Instructional Services
  • Online Information Services
  • Government Information & Data Services
  • User Engagement

Recovery from the mold outbreak of 2013 is ongoing. Salvaged materials are returning to circulation as they are processed into the new storage facility. Applause are due to many behind-the-scenes staff who are putting in untold hours on quality control, physical processing, and record management as part of this project. Special thanks to Government Information Librarian Marie Concannon, whose coordination with other government libraries to replace documents has allowed us to use available funds to salvage more materials than would otherwise have been possible.

In July we will say farewell to our colleagues from Admissions, Financial Aid, and the Registrar’s Office as they return to Jesse Hall. Their occupancy of rooms 114 and 202 in Ellis Library has inspired us to think more creatively about our spaces. Most of the materials moved from those rooms will remain in their new locations; we have been able to open up some new spaces for study areas—notably The Nook on the 4th floor East.

In the course of the year we have also said farewell to many colleagues who have left us, either for retirement or for new jobs, and we’ve been able to welcome some new colleagues to our team. Searches are ongoing to fill several vacancies. We appreciate your patience as we go through these transitions.

Finally, we look forward to celebrating one hundred years of library service, occasioned by the centennial of the dedication of Ellis Library. Although our history has been marked by significant challenges, there are many positive memories and achievements and exciting possibilities for the future. We hope you will join us for exhibits, performances, book signings, and other celebratory events throughout the year. Signature events include:

  • September 23, a student-focused party on the North steps of Ellis Library
  • January 28, a Rededication Celebration in the grand reading room
  • April 15, the grand finale with honored guest David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States