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:

Collections

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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Services

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 Library’s 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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Technology

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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Noteworthy

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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Challenges

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.

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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