We are pleased to announce that the MSU Testing Center, a program of the MSU Libraries, passed its ETS test day administration audit/observation for the SAT test administered on January 21 2017. We are currently in full compliance with ETS testing requirements. ETS is one of the major developers and providers of standardized testing in the U.S. Congratulations to all the employees and student workers in the MSU Testing Center on this achievement and on the good and growing services you provide.
On Tuesday Dean Peters submitted to the Provost a plan, developed in consultation with the Budget Committee, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders, to permanently reduce by up to 5 percent, if necessary, the annual operating budget of the MSU Libraries. These plans are being developed in response to declining state support for public two-year and four-year higher education. All MSU cost centers have been asked to submit such plans. At this time, these are only plans. Once the actual amount, if any, that each cost center needs to cut has been determined by MSU’s Administrative Council, these plans will be reviewed and portions of them may be implemented, beginning July 1st. The plan submitted by the MSU Libraries includes such cost-saving steps as foregoing the planned search to hire a Head of Technical Services, not replacing two graduates assistants when they graduate in May, and reducing the amount we spend annually on electronic serials, such as databases, e-journals, and other e-resources.
Please let eligible and worthy library student workers, as well as other MSU students, know that Student Scholarship Applications for next Academic Year are due by midnight on February 28th. The MSU Libraries manages a few of the many student scholarships available at MSU, supported in many instances by generous donors.
The newly formed Public Affairs Committee of the MSU Libraries held its first meeting last Thursday. Several guests participated, including Mary Ann and Stacey from the Public Affairs Support office. Jir Shin Boey is serving as the chair of this committee. Many good ideas were shared during the meeting, including the idea of offering some “human library” sessions soon. The Human Library Organization is a worldwide movement “designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.”
Last week the MSU Libraries received some excellent campus-wide publicity when a “front page, above the fold” article in The Standard about the new Virtual Reality (VR) service was published. This type of VR experience “is accessed through a headset and two hand controllers that, once donned, transport the user to a digital dimension….” This new service is proving to be quite popular, with many sessions being scheduled by students and faculty. Exploration of how VR could benefit and expand research, higher learning, and library services has been underway for years. This is just one of many initiatives by the MSU Libraries to help students, faculty, and staff gain more from digital, online, and virtual reality-based information experiences. Go Virtual Bears!
After over 41 years of substantial and successful service to the MSU Libraries, the University, the region, the profession, and dark-chocolate lovers everywhere, Lynn Cline will retire at the end of February. Please join us for a retirement reception to honor and thank Lynn on Monday, February 27, 2017 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Room 107 of Meyer Library.
Last week our own Jessica Bennett, a member of our Space Task Force, was part of a small group from MSU that was flown by Steelcase to Michigan for a whirlwind workshop about furniture and spaces for higher education. Their visit included a tour of the award-winning library at Grand Valley State University. As the MSU Meyer Library Renovation Project continues, the ideas and knowledge Jessica gained during this visit will be invaluable. The trip was funded by Steelcase.
Discussions continue this week about ways to permanently reduce our annual operating budget by approximately $425,000, which is the combined total of our need to plan for up to a 5% permanent reduction ($325,000) in our budget in response to declining state support, and the projected serials inflation hole for FY18 of approximately $100,000. Following this week’s meetings, culminating in a Library Budget Committee on Friday morning (beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Library Conference Room — everyone is welcome), Dean Peters will finalize the plan and send it to the Provost sometime on Tuesday, February 21st. We probably will learn how much money will be removed permanently from our FY18 operating budget in late March after the next meeting of the Board of Governors on March 23-24 in Kansas City.
Thanks to the ongoing generous financial support from Library Dean Emeritus Karen Horny, as well as the hard work of Lynn Cline and other faculty and staff members in Content Management and Acquisitions, the MSU Libraries recently acquired a very good copy of the 1872 edition of Mark Twain’s book, Roughing It. The illustrations are a delight, such as one of Twain contemplating a sagebrush. It will join other first editions of classic American literature as well as other rare books in Special Collections and Archives.
If all goes as planned and according to schedule, Spring Break in mid-March will be a busy time at MSU’s Duane G. Meyer Library. For example, all of the wireless access points in the building will be upgraded, resulting in a noticeably improved Wi-Fi experience for all wireless network users in the building. A big thanks to Computing Services for funding this upgrade. Also, the new furniture for the RIS Research Commons should arrive and be deployed in the northeast area of the First Level.