Two Important Documents

October 1, 2014

Filed under: Strategic Planning — jeffrey_steely @ 3:56 pm

I wanted to share two important strategy documents with all Central Libraries personnel. First is a recently-completed assessment document. This document outlines our key desired outcomes for last fiscal year (June 2013-May 2014), assessments we have completed related to those outcomes, and steps we have taken to improve.

The second document is snapshot view of our key goals for this fiscal year, connecting those goals to both Pro Futuris and to the University Libraries objectives. We have made significant progress on some of these goals (the Incubator, for example), other items are in process (such as implementation of GIST), and others still need to get rolling (like the discussion across the University Libraries about researcher IDs).

Please take a look at these two documents, and let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.



Central Libraries Update, March 2014

March 19, 2014

Filed under: Facilities,Strategic Planning — jeffrey_steely @ 2:31 pm

Last April we met to talk about the future of the Central Libraries. We also talked about the context of our work in higher education and at Baylor. I announced the leadership for the new organization and the charge for each new department. Today I would like to provide an update on the progress we have made so far, provide a quick overview of some physical changes happening in the Central Libraries right now, and then provide a few remarks on the direction we are headed as an organization.

Progress on strategic goals

Delivery Services

  • Training of cataloging staff and implementation of RDA
  • Significant contributions to Summon/OneSearch implementation
  • Finalization of internal organizational structure
  • Received ITS security review approval of Get It System Toolkit (GIST) ILLiad add-on
  • Hired Kara Scott Long to fill the Metadata and Catalog Librarian position

Liaison Services

  • Integrated service point staffing and improved training
  • Development of the first annual Library Symposium
  • Very well received graduate student reception, with “speed geeking” as a highlight
  • Liaison librarian implementation of numerous new avenues of outreach to assigned academic units

Scholarly Resources and Facilities

  • Development of new web pages highlighting the Central Libraries’ special collections
  • New procedures developed for use of the the special collections
  • Broadened staff responsibilities creating backup for key functions


  • Ran the Ithaka S+R Local Faculty Survey with one of the highest response rates among participating institutions, and have begun to analyze the data
  • Created baseline data for time required for firm orders

Facility Changes Under Way

Last week work began to replace the “cage” door near the Dottie Riley Conference Room. The purpose is two-fold – to remove an aesthetic eyesore, and to improve security for staff work areas. The new workspaces in the former computer lab provided temporary quarters for some ITS personnel this past summer, and now are home to numerous Electronic Library personnel. As these spaces do not lock and the cage door is in our 24-hour study area, the cage door provides inadequate security. The new door will have a card reader that automatically locks the door at the end of the day. It will also match the window and door frames of the Riley suite, thus improving the appearance of the area. The cost of this project is coming from the dean’s excellence fund.

The recently formed “Delivery Services” area, also on the Garden Level of Moody, will get a face lift soon. The goals of this project are to improve the flexibility of the space by removing the fixed “pony walls” (low-height dividers that set artificial and immovable boundaries) and to refresh the appearance of the space. This project will allow for better space utilization, and will facilitate bringing the entire Delivery Services team together in one space. We are moving toward a very tight integration of the team as we implement the GIST ILLiad add-on as soon as this summer. As to the timing and speed of this project, I need only point out that we had a one-time opportunity to take care of this work. We found out in mid-December that we received a reimbursement from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for ILL lending to public libraries. We have received this check in the past, but in light of the severe cuts to the TSLAC budget did not expect to receive any money this year. In most past years this check was just turned in to the University’s general account. Last year we asked for permission to use the reimbursement to replace the Library’s aging van and to add some much needed shelving. This year we asked for authorization to use the funds for the refresh of the Delivery Services space. The estimate for the work was reasonable, but exceeded the funds received from the state. The balance of the project is coming from cost savings and deferred purchases from our FY2014 budget and from Moody’s FY2014 repair and maintenance budget. This money goes away at the end of May, hence the need to move quickly on this project. Some savings from how we are managing the project will likely mean we get some funds back. If we can complete the project quickly enough we will be able to use the returned funds for needed equipment. I can’t state clearly enough that this was a unique opportunity to spend money on staff (non-public) space.

We are also moving the three staff members in Liaison Services currently housed in Moody 104 (the big suite shared with ILL) to the Liaison Services suite on the first floor of Jones. This will bring together the entire Liaison Services staff. At the same time, Linda Mangum is moving to Delivery Services, and the government documents processing work will be absorbed into the Delivery Services workflow, where it is a more natural fit in terms of the type of work performed.

The benefit of the Delivery Services renovation and the moves is that Moody 104 will be vacant by this summer. We plan to use this space as a “sandbox” to try out some ideas for a “research commons” or “digital scholarship center.” We are engaging in conversations with a variety of potential stakeholders now. We expect to make only minor changes to the space, focusing more on the services offered. There will be more information on this initiative as it develops. If you have ideas, please share them with me (Jeff) or your director.

Finally, we are expecting to install a new “people counter” system for the Central Libraries very soon. The current system is providing very inconsistent (= worthless) data. The new system will be much more accurate, and will add the ability to count Moody foyer visitors.

Where We Are Headed

Finally, I want to talk about overall direction and changes you can expect as we move forward.

We are here to help Baylor students get an excellent education, and to support the teaching and research of our faculty. I know you all care about this work, and are committed to making Baylor a great place to learn and a great place to work. Baylor is striving to keep a Baylor education affordable. To that end, the University intends to rely less and less on tuition increases, and is expecting “judicious stewardship” from all of us. As I said last year, we must expect to work within our current budget. New positions are going to be very difficult to come by. Yet if we want to remain relevant, we must move into new ventures. If we are to be the research library for this research university, we must invest in services of the future. That means we cannot be unreservedly tied to services of the past. We have successfully re-purposed many positions on the public services (now Liaison Services) side of the house over the past decade. As I stated last year, the time has come for us to streamline and find efficiencies on the Delivery Services side. GIST will be one tool to help us, but what we really need is for everyone to ask “Is there a better way to do this? Do we still need to do this at all?” We don’t need small changes – we need big, bold changes. I believe these ideas can come from all of us. Please, share your ideas with your unit leaders, with your directors, with me. Together we can find ways to make all of our work more meaningful, and to re-purpose resources, including our personnel budget, to create the library of the future.


Personnel and organizational changes in Delivery Services

September 19, 2013

Filed under: Services,Strategic Planning — kencarriveau @ 2:20 pm

I am very pleased to announce the following appointments and changes made in Delivery Services.

Cameron Talley has assumed the newly created Library Fulfillment Systems Specialist position. In this role he will serve as our front-line tech support for modules, equipment, and systems used by the department. He will be heavily involved, in collaboration with David Taylor’s team, in the upkeep and maintenance of the ILLiad system, BSCAN ILL software and associated scanning equipment, and the BearCat Circ module. He will also be involved in future development projects related to the GWLA BorrowItNow pilot and our GIST implementation. By taking on this role, Cameron also ensures that someone other than me is familiar with the systems we use and can trouble-shoot problems or work with vendor tech support teams to resolve operational issues.

You may recall during our spring 2013 meeting that a major organizational change made in the Central Libraries was the integration of the Acquisitions and Interlibrary Loan units into a single team. We did this not only to streamline our “get it” workflows but also to position us to improve our selection and decision-making processes when patrons identify resources they need that are not already owned by Baylor. At the time, no unit leader was designated, but we have now resolved that question.

Janet Jasek is the new Acquire & Deliver Unit Leader. She will manage and oversee our efforts to acquire materials for Baylor patrons through purchase and/or interlibrary loan and oversee the library document delivery program. All staff in the former Acquisitions and ILL units are now in the A&D Unit. Janet will serve as the primary contact for questions related to the status of orders and materials requests placed through OsoFast, suggest a purchase, GOBI, and approval plan streams.

Andrea Turner will be responsible for all financial and accounting operations in the department as our Library Materials Budget Officer. She supervises Alice Linkous, who continues in her role as our departmental bookkeeper. Andrea will be the key contact for questions related to vendor and fund codes and budget allocations. She will work very closely with Ramona and Beth to ensure that the collection development business rules they define are accurately reflected and implemented by Janet’s team.


Top 5 Central Libraries Goals for FY2014

May 21, 2013

Filed under: Strategic Planning — jeffrey_steely @ 8:30 am

As I wrote Friday, we recently submitted a list of some of our major accomplishments for FY2013. We’ve also just completed a similar report of goals for FY2014. Library Cabinet members had an assignment to submit 3 – 5 top goals for their respective libraries. These goals for the Central Libraries were developed collaboratively between Beth, Ken, Sha, and me. I’ve attached a copy of what I submitted, Central Libraries FY2014 Pro Futuris Top 5 goals, which lists the goals and how they line up with both Pro Futuris and the University Libraries strategic plan.



5 Big Accomplishments in FY2013

May 17, 2013

Filed under: Strategic Planning — jeffrey_steely @ 8:30 am

Recently Dean Orr asked members of the Library Cabinet to submit a list of 3 – 5 big accomplishments supporting Pro Futuris goals from the fiscal year that ends this month.   We’ve accomplished a tremendous amount in the Central Libraries this year, so whittling it down to just five items was very difficult. I worked with our CL leadership to arrive at the list.

  • Completed a full roll-out of the new Research Paper Planner
  • Created Liaison Services Department
  • Developed partnerships to bring students into the Central Libraries.
  • Completed and opened Lev’s Gathering Place as study space and “storefront” for Black Gospel Digital Restoration Project
  • Developed programming around the “Muslim Journeys” bookshelf grant received by the Baylor Libraries

You can see how these accomplishments line up with Pro Futuris and our University Libraries’ strategic plan in the full spreadsheet view of accomplishments:  Central Libraries FY2013 Pro Futuris Top 5.



Reorg update

May 15, 2013

Filed under: General,Strategic Planning — jeffrey_steely @ 3:39 pm

We want to bring everyone up to date on work happening on our reorganization. We really appreciate the spirit of cooperation and the enthusiasm we’ve seen!

1) Beth, Ken, Sha, and I have been meeting frequently to coordinate and work through details of the reorganization. We  have also been working to identify top priorities for each group as part of the University Libraries’ strategic planning process. I’ll have more on that in another blog post.

2) One of the top priorities right now is the hand-off of responsibilities for Moody service points to the Liaison Services department. We are in the process of determining the division of responsibilities. Training is underway. We will make a firm switch on responsibilities on 4 June (start of Summer I).  Of course, after that date those who have been responsible in the old Access Services unit will still be on-call to answer questions that come up. The difference will be that those questions will be routed through the Service Point Coordinators (John Robinson and Sarah Freeland).

3) Changes in reporting lines for those student workers who are moving to a new department will take effect on 19 May. Delores has also been working with Human Resources and Budget to establish a process for updating reporting lines and related administrative details for faculty and staff. The normal process (a BearQuest entry for each change) would have been extremely cumbersome. Fortunately they have arrived at a solution, and we plan to have these changes go into effect on 26 May.

What does this mean? On a practical level it means that time card approvers (and their proxies) will change, effective with the the pay periods starting on these dates. Time off requests will need to go to new supervisors. Responsibility for managing ScheduleSource schedules (where applicable) will move to new supervisors. I’m sure there are other changes that will need to happen. Please bring any questions to your director.

4) I know there have been a number of questions (and much speculation) about office moves. We have not decided on any specific moves. Undoubtedly there will be some, but, because of the long moratorium on moves this summer, I don’t expect any moves to take place before the fall semester.

If you have any questions or concerns about the changes, please talk to your department’s director. We all need to communicate frequently and patiently with each other during this transition. I know we all will be gracious and kind to one another as we make changes in routines and find the holes in our transition plans.



Central Libraries Reorganization

April 15, 2013

Filed under: General,Strategic Planning — jeffrey_steely @ 5:15 pm

Here are the remarks from the meeting today…

I wanted to bring you all together today to talk about the next steps in our reorganization of the Central Libraries. A couple years ago we put together a number of task forces to investigate challenges and opportunities in front of us. We’ve seen some results from their reports already, including the Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals document we put together in 2010 and, this past summer, the creation of the Liaison Services department.

Today I want to finish the outline of the new organization. This will inevitably be an outline, as organizations are organic, and some of the changes will happen over time. Some details still need to be figured out. Some changes lie in the future, rather than the present.

Let me start by eliminating some fears this meeting may have created for you. No one is losing a job or getting a pay cut. This reorganization is a proactive, positive move. I do want to say something about the context in which we work. At Baylor we have been fortunate, in many ways isolated from the harsh realities at many other institutions. Frozen salaries, pay cuts, furlough days, and lost positions have affected employees at many universities, especially at state institutions, but even at many private universities. Within the Greater Western Library Alliance, our most important peer group, our merit pay levels have been second to none over the last five years. We have also had consistent increases in our library materials budgets that have nearly kept pace with inflation in that market.

So why change now?

  1. Baylor is changing – [SLIDE 2] putting more emphasis on research and graduate education, more emphasis on science and related disciplines, online graduate degree programs on the horizon
  2. Higher education is changing, with pressure to produce degrees at lower cost (and less concern for creating well-educated citizenry or students with critical thinking skills). This may not be as true at Baylor, but it is the context in which the University operates.
  3. Research libraries are changing
    1. Dealing with challenges of transition to e-books, and with still growing print collections

i.      Relying on trusted others – e.g. CRL, interlibrary loan

ii.      Looking to build shared electronic and print repositories – WEST, HathiTrust, conversations in GWLA and among Texas private universities

  1. Taking advantage of new opportunities, exploring the needs of the academy in light of new forms of scholarship
    1. Digital humanities, data visualization, geographic information systems
    2. Facilitating new modes of scholarly publication
      1. Open access
      2. Library role as publisher
      3. Data curation
      4. Engagement with institutional curriculum development
      5. Our operational budget and the number of personnel in the Central Libraries has been, and likely will continue to be, flat

So the question is “how do we rise to the challenges and seize some of the opportunities before us? …with a relatively fixed budget?”

There is a line of reasoning in the academic library community today that we need to demonstrate our value. I prefer to operate from a perspective that we need to create obvious value. We need to create strong allies in the university who will go to bat for us, who find us indispensable. One of our most powerful constituents are the faculty. Yet a just-released version of Ithaka S+R’s faculty survey demonstrates, on a national survey, that academic libraries are losing ground with faculty.

Ithaka charts



We must more successfully engage with tomorrow’s scholars. In order to make these changes, we need to rethink our priorities and use our resources in new ways.

This is NOT one of those models where everyone has to apply for their job. This is a model where everyone will be asked to help accomplish the improvements we are working toward, and where some of you may end up doing very different things.

Today is a major milestone, but not the finish line. We have an outline today. Details will follow over time, as we work on this together. This will be an organic process.

Our task forces identified support for the teaching and learning mission of the University, and support for the ever-increasing research emphasis at Baylor, as two areas of focus. We had discussions about creating two separate units, but realized there was just too much overlap to make that possible, and thus formed Liaison Services to work at both. This led to the creation of Liaison Services this past summer.

The intent of today’s changes is to get us to focus on the other areas which our task forces identified as crucial to our vitality as an emerging research library. This will involve some additional changes in Liaison Services, and creation of two other departments.

[Central Libraries Org Chart 2013-04-15]

Liaison Services

Sha Towers, Director of Liaison Services

* Continuing charge = To rethink services that support the teaching & learning mission and the research mission of the University from the perspective of the culture and needs of the academic departments

* New charge = To bring a consistent, high level of service to all service points

To facilitate these service improvements we are creating two new Service Coordinator positions. John Robinson will be Day Services Coordinator. Sarah Freeland will be Night and Weekend Services Coordinator. They will report to Sha. Their responsibilities will include managing the staffing of the Jones Information desk, the main circulation desk, and the entrance desks.

John’s team will include current Liason Services staff members who work at the Jones desk plus daytime Access Services LIS 1s. Sarah’s team will include Janie Mauney-Rooks, evening and weekend LIS 1s, and the night/weekend staff from Access Services. Kristi McCormick will continue to manage the security team and will take on some additional responsibilities. The night/weekend team will also retain interlibrary loan duties, at least for the foreseeable future.

The outcomes I expect from this department are increased satisfaction with the help we provide at our service points and increased perceived relevance by our clients. We will use MISO survey data, locally-administered surveys, and, I hope, the local version of the Ithaka survey of faculty to measure our success.

Delivery Services

Ken Carriveau, Director of Delivery Services

* Charge = To redesign processes for radically faster and more efficient delivery of materials (from the time an item is requested until it is ready to use)

Ken’s team will include most of Acquisitions, the ILL day personnel, and Alice Linkous combined in one unit, and Cataloging and Metadata unit under the continuing leadership of Bruce Evans.

This department will use technology and business rules to take care of routine aspects of the work, and thereby use our talented staff for the more interesting and complex problems. To help with this, we plan to create a new delivery services system support position, which we plan to fill from within.

One outcome I expect is a decrease in the average time for firm orders from what it is today (something Debbie McMahon is working to measure) to less than 5 business days, without increasing the cost/item. I also expect time from delivery to shelf ready to decrease for other physical items received.

Remember what I said earlier. Everyone continues to have a job. That said, I am expecting the size of this department to shrink. Our staffing in these areas is higher than most peer institutions. We will reduce staffing through vacancies and by moving people to new roles. I plan to use the savings we generate to create new positions for opportunities and areas of growth we identify.

Scholarly Resources and Facilities

Beth Farwell, Associate Director of Central Libraries

Beth’s team will include Ramona McKeown, Don Ward, stacks management (Robert Lugo and Russ Garrett), binding and preservation (Martha Dowdy and Frank Jasek).

1st Charge = To develop and implement a plan for collections, collection space, and access for an emerging, 21st-century research library.

As we look to the future we need to rethink how we are spending our library materials budget – whether the “big deal” journal packages are a “good deal,” whether distribution of collection building and budget monitoring makes sense, where we should rely on others rather than purchase ourselves, how we should approach the relationship between electronic and print monograph purchasing, how we can optimize our consortial and membership relationships.

2nd Charge = To build and promote the use of focused special collections in the Central Libraries

Our changes in the Central Libraries are facilitating a change Dean Orr has been thinking about for some time. Kathy Hillman’s duties have grown substantially in the last year, including her added responsibilities as Director of the Keston Center and her increased work on our behalf with Library Fellows, Library Board of Advisors, and our other donors. Her work with the emerging Baptist Studies Center for Research also promises to take additional time as that endeavor moves forward. Therefore Pattie is reshaping Kathy’s duties to focus on these areas of responsibility as Director of Baptist Collections and Library Advancement. Kathy will also retain the title of Director of the Keston Center. She will continue to coordinate the exhibits among the various libraries as well.

As Beth will now have broad responsibilities for shaping the future direction of the collection, it made sense for her to absorb responsibility for the Central Libraries’ special collections.   Pattie, Kathy, Beth and I will work together on transitioning duties related to the Central Libraries’ special collections.

Other responsibilities = Manage day-to-day facilities, stacks, and preservation issues, and Beth will serve as my backup when I am out of the office.

Moving to the Electronic Library

We determined the logical place for course reserves, because of their work with Sierra and copyright issues, is the Electronic Library. Brenda Anderson will report to Denyse Rodgers.

What remains to be done?

The short answer is “Lots!”: Student worker distribution; some space planning; updating reporting lines, time card approvers and proxies; some new job descriptions; and much more.

I expect one question for staff, with this coming at this particular time of year, is who will do your annual performance review. Our plan is to have your old supervisor complete the review, but to include your new supervisor, if there is a change, in the review meeting.

For the time being – and this is important – keep doing what you have been doing. I don’t want the old Access Services team to abandon the service points until we have a plan in place to staff the service points under Liaison Services!  I don’t want Brenda wandering around on the Garden Level looking for a place to work!

Next steps

This afternoon we will have brief meetings in Creekmore with each of our new departments to fill in a few details, answer questions, and get your help figuring out what comes next, and what we haven’t thought about yet.

2:30 –  3:00 Scholarly Resources & Facilities

3:15 – 3:45 Delivery Services

4:00 – 4:30 Liaison Services

We have time now for some questions, especially those that are about the overall changes.



Central Libraries Strategic Plan

January 13, 2010

Filed under: Strategic Planning — jeffrey_steely @ 9:55 am

After several months of great, collaborative work, I am pleased to report that the Central Libraries statement of vision, mission, values, and goals was approved yesterday by Dean Orr and the rest of the Library Leadership team. Beth and I would like to thank all of you who participated in the process in our meetings with the units, in the CL leadership retreat, and through suggestions to earlier drafts.

This is a living document, so it will change as our environment changes, as we have new insights, as the tasks forces we have working complete their investigations, and as we accomplish items on this initial set of ambitious goals.

As we move forward, we need to refer to this plan often. It will help us focus our efforts to provide great service to our clients.

Administrative access