James Madison University
Libraries & Educational Technologies
Annual Report 1998-99
The JMU Libraries are committed to providing high quality information resources and services that meet the needs of the JMU community.
This report examines library activities in the following areas:
Collection statistics show that growth remained steady, despite spiraling serials costs and a flat materials budget for the past three years. This achievement can be attributed to diligent and innovative stewardship, which included measures such as consortial purchasing and prepaying journal subscriptions in order to gain increased discounts. Liaison librarians continued to collaborate with departmental faculty to select the best materials in each subject area. The most dramatic increase was in the number of databases available to students and faculty.
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- The number of online databases purchased through VIVA (the Virtual Library of Virginia) continued to grow. The list of new or enhanced databases includes ACM Digital Library, Historical Abstracts, America: History and Life, and CIS Statistical Universe.
- The library Automation Department completed two projects which provided off campus access to the databases of two major vendors.
- The allocation for the approval plan in its third year of operation was again approximately $100,000, or about 25% of the librarys monographic budget.
- The Music Library continued to develop its core CD collection.
- The Media Center added the new DVD-video format to its collection, beginning with twenty-one classic titles. However, overall purchasing of nonprint materials decreased nearly 40%.
- JMU Memories, an online exhibit of 93 historical photos with captions and supporting links, provided enhanced access to part of an existing collection.
The recently completed Academic Program Review praised the library for being more innovative and successful in terms of services than many of its peers nation-wide. The Librarys strong liaison program and Web-based library instruction program serve as models for academic libraries. The library continued to offer traditional services such as reference, interlibrary loan, and access to materials, while introducing and refining new services.
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- The library redesigned its Web Site to improve its organization, provide more effective access to resources, and add more dynamic information. The site includes "What's New" and "Featured Connection" links which highlight resources. The Music Library Web Site was also redesigned.
- The library installed a complete graphic redesign of its catalog, LEO .
- The Reference Department implemented Ask a Librarian e-mail reference service to provide assistance to library users outside the building.
- A New Titles list was developed as a standard service on the Library Web, allowing students and faculty to know about the latest library acquisitions.
- Through its liaison program, the library offered instruction on finding, using, and evaluating print and digital information sources. The library instruction program reached a total of 6,563 students, faculty, and staff, an increase of nearly 1,100 over the previous year. Additional details are available in the Library Instruction Annual Report, 1998-99.
- Interlibrary Loan book requests increased in 1998/1999 by 27%. Total Interlibrary Loan borrowing by undergraduate students has remained steady for the past three years, but borrowing by faculty has increased by 23%.
- CISAT Library Services continued to offer reference service and document delivery to CISAT students and faculty. Requests for journal article delivery to CISAT increased by 41% this year.
- The library increased the number of government documents accessible through the online catalog, adding records for new materials as received. In addition, retrospective records for all government microfiche items and online check-in records for all active government serials were added.
- Library Technical Services has steadily improved overall delivery time for newly acquired library materials, decreasing from an average of 6 to 4 weeks in the last three years.
Library users are increasingly dependant on technology to access information. The library staff, lead by the Automation Department, works to make technology serve users' needs.
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- The library Automation Department replaced more than 80 workstations in the public areas and the instruction classroom. The browsers and plug-ins were also upgraded.
- All staff PC's were upgraded or replaced.
- The library replaced the server for its integrated library system to improve performance and reduce the risk of disk failure for this mission critical system. All other library servers were upgraded with installation of 100Mb network cards.
- The library began work on an RFP for an integrated library system. The competitive bid process will be used to evaluate the current vendor's new product and other systems on the market and to select the system that best meets the University's needs for the future.
- The library Automation Department moved public workstations from a Novell to an NT file server to improve performance, simplify the automatic login process, and provide users with a more reliable, seamless interface to electronic resources.
- The library purchased IILLiad software system for Interlibrary Loan, to improve turnaround time, enable tracking of requests, and provide electronic delivery of articles sent through Ariel.
- The library provided new printers for the reference area.
- The library replaced the aging and unreliable public photocopy equipment with four new copiers.
- The Media Center screening room data projector and PC were upgraded, and DVD equipment for playback in the Media Center was provided.
- The library Automation Department continued work to meet University requirements on Y2K compliance to assure no disruption in services in the transition from 1999 to 2000.
This year the library completed the Academic Program Review process, receiving the External Review Team report in February. The library moved immediately into the strategic planning process. The strategic plan will provide a rational basis for decision making, allocation of resources, and development of programs, services, and collections in support of the JMU community. The plan will enable the library to position itself to serve effectively the current and future needs of the University in a rapidly changing environment. Work has been done on the environmental scan and the mission statement, and progress is reported through the Carrier Library Strategic Planning Website. Other projects include the following.
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- The library formed a Student Library Advisory Committee to provide a communication channel through which students can offer advice about library resources and services.
- The library completed revision of its Collection Development Policy and its Professional Development Document.
- The library developed an Information Seeking Skills competency test, which each student in General Education Cluster One courses will be required to pass.
- The library completed a major programming upgrade to its Go for the Gold web-based instruction program to improve the reporting of assessment results and statistical analysis. Go for the Gold Module One was revised to include a virtual tour.
- The Technical Services Department implemented a periodical use study to obtain objective data about the periodical collection and developed a web page to report usage results. The library will use this information to guide decision-making about alternative and more economical means of access than subscription.
- The library Automation Department implemented a Webboard for library communication and collaboration.
- The library Automation Department installed a software based solution for tracking fixed asset computing inventory.
- JMU joined the OCLC CORC (Cooperative Online Resource Cataloging) research project.
- The library Cataloging Unit experimented with statewide cooperative-based authority records for poetry databases purchased by VIVA (the Virtual Library of Virginia).
- The library is represented on each of the major VIVA committees, including the Steering Committee, the Outreach Committee, the Resources for Users Committee, the Resource Sharing Committee, and the Cataloging Sub-committee.
- Library faculty and professional staff represented the university in many local, state, regional and national organizations and presented at numerous national and international conferences, forums and symposia during the year.
Collections : A combination of forces has eroded the quality of the library's collections and its ability to meet the needs of the JMU community.
- Each year, there are more and more books and periodicals published, but with a steady-state materials budget, the library can afford to buy a smaller and smaller proportion of them.
- The cost for college level books and periodicals has increased significantly over the last five years as reported in the University Library Price Index, while the library materials budget has remained steady. Wise long-term collection development decisions cannot be made without a dependable funding base.
- Periodical subscriptions represent an ongoing committment. The average cost of periodical subscriptions increased from $306 to $371 over the past two years. As journal subscription prices increase, less can be spent on the book collections. The quality of the collections declines.
- Other library costs continue to rise rapidly. Costs for binding library materials (e.g., periodicals, books, rebinding) increased by 11% in the last year. The average payment to the Copyright Clearance Center for copyright fees on article requests increased from $10.69 to $14.66 in the last year.
- The student population at JMU has grown from 11,539 to 14,414 during the last five academic years. During the same time period, there has been a 20% increase in the number of undergraduate programs offered and an 11% increase in the number of graduate programs. Each of these programs has resulted in increased demand for library resources and services. In the Academic Program Review, the External Review Team reported that both faculty and students were critical of the size and depth of the collection in terms of meeting the needs of the campus. An increase to the materials budget of at least 25% is needed immediately to restore lost purchasing power and build the collections.
Space: is also a critical need for the libraries at JMU. At current collection growth rates, Carrier Library will reach capacity in the year 2001, and the Music Library will follow in 3.8 years. The present library building cannot accommodate additional shelving. Study space for students is already woefully inadequate. Association of College and Research Libraries standards recommend a minimum of one seat for every five students. Carrier Library, the Music Library and the CISAT Library Service Center together offer a little over 1,000 seats for a student population of over 14,000 students, less than one seat for every 14 students. This represents only about a third of the seats recommended by the national standard. As the library continues to approach or exceed the capacity of existing facilities, a substantial capital expenditure for either new facilities or major renovations is needed.
Staffing: has been a long-term challenge, for while the university's programs and enrollment have grown substantially in recent years, library staffing levels have remained flat. Recognizing this, the External Review Team recommended the addition of four librarian positions and ten classified positions. Although three 30-hour classified positions were converted to full-time this year, the overall staffing situation has worsened. Several key positions have remained vacant, and searches have been extended in order to find candidates with appropriate expertise. It has also been difficult to fill student positions and to retain trained student workers, since the steady-state student assistant budget precludes competitive pay levels or differentiated pay for returning students. Given current staffing constraints, the greatest challenge for the library's new staff development program is for employees to find time away from their increased daily responsibilities to engage in the learning they need to remain effective.
More detailed information can be found in the Unit Annual Reports.
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James Madison University Libraries & Educational Technologies