June 2017

First 100 Days

It has become customary for people who have moved into new positions to release a “first 100 days” report card. On May 29, I did, in fact, reach the 100-day milestone in my new role. I want to thank everyone for their assistance and patience as I’ve assumed this position. While my many years here have provided me with a sound background in Library activities, this new perspective has presented me with the opportunity to learn more about the workings of the Library and the many outstanding initiatives and endeavors engaged in by Library staff, APs, GAs, and faculty.

One of the clear messages I have gotten from the campus is that the Library continues to play an ever-important role in the instructional, research, and service mission of the campus. By all measures, the Library is successfully fulfilling its knowledge management and support roles. To mention a few activities: we maintain a robust public-facing access and discovery system that saw 5 million user interactions in the last year; we provide extensive content collections and sophisticated content delivery mechanisms resulting in 12 million full-text downloads in FY17; we support growing instructional services and in-person and online reference services; and our Research Data Service, the Illinois Experts researcher profile and awareness service, the digital scholarship facilities and services, our preservation and conservation infrastructure, and our scholarly publishing initiatives, among other endeavors, all serve as models for academic libraries. In addition, the interinstitutional and at-scale collective initiatives such as the shared print repositories and the HathiTrust Research Center work put us in the forefront of collaboration and innovation. Many of the above initiatives are fueled by the research activities going on in the Library. Our services continue to build on our research activities.

Adding to this, over the next year we will be working collaboratively with the Siebel Center for Design, the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine, and the iSchool on new initiatives and services. These promise to be exciting endeavors.

As I’ve mentioned in numerous forums, the Library was asked to take a 3% budget cut on the operations portion of our budget. This amounts to approximately $600,000 dollars. We will take these cuts from administrative reductions, some reductions in technical and user services, and a number of lapsed and unfilled positions. Our campus budget hearing was held last week and we made a strong case for additional collection monies to support inflation costs which have not been funded the previous two years. These budget negotiations will continue and I will keep everyone informed as we move into the next fiscal year.

We have a number of both opportunities and challenges before us in the next year. All academic libraries – including Illinois – are pursuing transformative agendas, examining all current services and activities and focusing on the application of emerging information technologies to create innovative spaces, services, and tools to support university strategic initiatives. We will continue to pursue this path and we are interested in all your ideas on how to accomplish this.

William Mischo
Acting Dean of Libraries and University Librarian