From the Dean…
With 2009 just a few days old, this a good time to look back and celebrate all we’ve accomplished and look forward to the many opportunities this year will bring. It would be impossible to list all that we achieved in 2008. We begin this year even stronger, more creative, and more critical to the educational mission of Auburn University than we were the year before. I’ve just learned that our information literacy statistics have increased by 25%, we moved I don’t know how many books to provide new study spaces and added additional records to the database to provide better access to our collections. We have a richer digital collection, a new DRL with a new name, the MDRL, and we have new instructional spaces and new carpeting.
Over break I had the opportunity to catch up on the many newsletters we receive from libraries all over the country. I am always impressed and energized by the work being done by our ARL colleagues. The University of Iowa Libraries newsletter was a strong reminder both of how important libraries are to the academic community and also of the dedication of library staff. On Friday, June 13, they learned that the river would flood the Art and Music libraries so while continuing to keep their doors open and provide “business as usual” at the Main Library, the entire community was mobilized to save the collection. Passing books from hand to hand, fraternity members, football players, faculty, and library staff worked side by side to save thousands of books. It is an awe inspiring story and a recognition of the value placed on libraries by the community. I hope we never have an opportunity like Iowa’s opportunity to test my belief but I know Auburn University Libraries is valued by our community and I’m even more certain that we are dedicated to our mission and to the goals of the University.
I have to admit I needed some good news. Some days it seems that the news is full of grim news. The economy of our country and many others is in distress and it is clear that Alabama has been severely impacted by these events. With revenues down, there has already been proration and more cuts to education are expected in the coming months. At a recent meeting with the deans, Vice President Large told the deans that we should expect the reduction of 2% he warned us to prepare last year. We took his advice and have planned for that reduction. However, he went further and cautioned us to prepare for an even larger give back in case the economy doesn’t improve and the budget allocation to Auburn continues to shrink.
Even in the face of the challenge of continuing to do our important work with reduced resources, many of you have told me how glad you are to have a job and that we have not had to face some of the budget measures employed by other universities. Our colleagues at Clemson had to take an unpaid furlough right before the holidays and others have faced layoffs. So far, Auburn administrators have assured the deans that such measures are not in our immediate future. However, we are going to have to be even more careful with the money we receive and we may face some further cuts in our budgets. Like many of you, I’m glad to have a job in this economy and in spite of the news, I’m looking forward to the coming year.
I’ve made my personal resolutions and I have a list of goals for the Libraries. I hope you had a good break and are ready to tackle this year’s challenges and opportunities.