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SLC reviews Libraries and Cultural Resources strategy and Board of Governors report includes governance and housing plan updates

By Vama Saini, July 9 2024—

An SLC meeting took place on June 25 and discussed the Libraries and Cultural Resources (LCR) consultation and the June 14 Board of Governors Meeting post-report.

Christie Hurrell, Acting Associate University Librarian for Collections, Content Services & Research Support, and Nadine Hoffman, Director for Collections, presented an overview of the LCR.

Hurrell highlighted the various units within LCR, including collections, content services, research support, student learning and engagement facilities.

“Content services handle the back end to make things available for you. Collections do the purchasing and make things discoverable,” Hurrell explained.

The presentation covered specialized areas such as the Glenbow Western Research Centre, the Nickel Galleries, the Copyright Office and the University of Calgary Press, which is committed to open access publishing.

Hoffman discussed the financial aspects of LCR and emphasized the impact of exchange rates on their $10 million budget.

“One of the things that you may not know is that 85 per cent of our expenditures are exposed to the U.S. dollar,” she said.

The library starts the fiscal year with 95 per cent of its budget already committed, mainly to journals and electronic resources.

Hurrell detailed the library’s strategy for purchasing and licensing resources, which includes leveraging consortia like the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) to negotiate better deals.

“Our consortia spending is 61% of our budget. We really leverage that experience wherever we can,” she explained.

Direct purchases are also part of their strategy, focusing on acquiring resources that meet the specific needs of students and faculty.

A critical issue discussed was the potential removal of educational fair dealing from the Federal Copyright Act. Hurrell noted that such a change would have significant financial implications.

“If they took away that fair dealing, it would be a huge financial hit to us,” she said.

This would likely force the university to revert to costly access agreements, increasing the financial burden on the library.

During the Q&A session, Vice President External Mateusz Salmassi asked about the acquisition of e-books and their usage metrics.

“When we purchase an Evidence-Based Acquisition (EBA) package, we look at the usage statistics. Some things are suggested, some are requested for classes beyond the textbook,” Hurrell responded. 

Board of Governors Representative Siraaj Shah, provided a recap of the June 14 Board of Governors meeting. Shah discussed several key items, including revisions to the university appeals tribunal procedure and updates to governance bylaws. He described these changes as minor adjustments aimed at ensuring cohesive procedures across faculties.

“They were just ensuring that the language used was verified,” Shah explained.

Shah highlighted the approval of the residence master plan, which aims to address the increasing need for student housing. The plan includes adding 1,000 to 1,200 new beds.

“With increasing enrollment and rising housing prices, it’s crucial to expand our residence spaces,” Shah stated.

This plan is a response to the anticipated increase in student enrollment and the corresponding demand for affordable housing.

President Rezaei-Afsah provided additional insights regarding the appeals revision. He explained that the Students’ Union had initially opposed the removal of the second layer of appeals, which would have forced students to go to court for further appeals.

“The Students’ Union initially opposed the removal of the second layer of appeals and we won on that front. However, some issues still remain unresolved, such as the grounds for bringing forward new evidence,” he noted.

For agendas, minutes and upcoming meetings, visit the SU website.

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