President’s Response: Library Space Planning

DATE:      June 13, 2017
FROM:     Eric J. Barron
TO:           Matthew Woessner

I have reviewed the Advisory and Consultative Report, Library Space Planning, which was passed by the University Faculty Senate on April 25, 2017.  I would like to thank Jim Strauss, the 2016-17 Chair, for charging the Committee on Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology (LIST) to examine challenges confronting University Libraries as it actively engages in the teaching and learning, research, and engagement missions of the University.

As the report notes, University Libraries collections and services continue to migrate to digital formats and platforms, but are still based in the physical library and in physical collections.  I am encouraged to see that the faculty, staff, and administration of University Libraries undertaking so many initiatives and focusing their strategic planning to balance the needs of the physical collections and the services provided to students in the library including addressing the pressing capacity issues.

The report notes eight projects where collections have already moved to off-site storage in order to create more student-focused space and technology-supported services.  I encourage University Libraries to continue this trend.

The report also makes six specific recommendations.  I support all but the fifth recommendation, which calls for planning and designing a consolidated library annex to replace the four off-site storage facilities.  I note that one of these facilities will be decommissioned and materials moved to another, more appropriate facility.  To the degree that capacity is currently taken care of I cannot support additional University investment into a new consolidated annex. I would support adding annex space in the future but only as needed.

I do support the investment of University resources and development funds for the planning and implementation of more student-focused and technology-rich space and have approved these initiatives.

By copy of this memo, I am asking Barbara Dewey, Dean of the University Libraries and Scholarly Communications; David Gray, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Treasurer; and Robert Pangborn, Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education, to implement the recommendations.

Thank you for the opportunity to review this item, and to Jim Strauss and William Butler, Chair of the LIST Committee, for their leadership on this issue.

cc:  Blannie E. Bowen
Barbara Dewey
David J. Gray (w/enc)
Daniel R. Hagen
Nicholas P. Jones
Robert A. Pangborn (w/enc)
James A. Strauss