Amid budget cuts, PSU library plans for the future

The Millar Library held a town hall meeting yesterday to discuss how to best utilize resources amidst budget cuts and changing research practices.

The Millar Library held a town hall meeting yesterday to discuss how to best utilize resources amidst budget cuts and changing research practices. 

The town hall was part of a series of meetings, held by both a student focus group and the Faculty Senate, with the goal of discovering what library users need in today’s university environment. 

“We have many different constituencies to serve,” Interim Librarian Adriene Lim said.  

Discussion focused on the differing research needs of academic disciplines, changes in electronic and print media, how best to use limited library space and the need for more faculty and student awareness of library-related issues. 

This year, the Millar Library received a three percent budget reduction and a 45 percent budget recapture. Though there has been discussion surrounding the possibility of building a new library,

this will likely not be occurring, according to Lim. This means that the library will have to make decisions about how best to use limited space. 

Several attendees noted that different academic disciplines use the library and its resources very differently. Because of these differences, the library is relying on faculty and academic departments to express their needs for print materials and the availability of browsing areas, according to Lim. 

Though many libraries have been moving towards increased digital resources, the recent student focus group expressed a strong preference for the availability of both print and digital resource materials, according to Lim. 

The library currently uses one third of its acquisitions budget, which has been decreasing, to purchase print materials and two thirds to purchase electronic materials.  

The number of PSU library users has been on the rise in recent years and the library would like to increase its hours if it can receive adequate funding to do so. According to Lim, the library is currently putting together a proposal on this issue, which can greatly affect students.

The library is also considering collaborating with the PSU Learning Center, currently housed in the Smith Memorial Students Union, which would move tutoring services to the second floor of the library. 

The library has been under institutional pressure to house more services and groups within the building and is trying to do this in a way that makes sense for students, according to Lim.  

In order to maximize the use of library space, Lim said the library staff needs “to make better strategic decisions about the collection,” emphasizing a need for librarians to “thoughtfully and intelligently” remove underused materials. 

The library is also pondering how best to promote campus awareness of library resources and is considering a blog, RSS posts or a virtual bookshelf to let users know about new materials as they come in. ?