By Kim Morter
Arizona Summer Wildcat
arla Stoffle, UA dean of libraries, came to the UA three years ago from the University of Michigan.
In her tenure at the UA, the library has seen the implementation of a computerized data system called SABIO, which allows access to numerous databases and connects the UA library with other libraries. Stoffle has also had to cut approximately $700,000 from the library's serials budget in the wake of campus-wide budget constraints.
Wildcat: How will the UA library system deal with the cutting of the (serials) budget for the upcoming year?
Stoffle: We are having to cut 2,000 titles from our subscriptions because of the rising cost of the journals. The prices rose as much as 25 percent over three years, far above inflation for paper printing costs and above what would appear to be reasonable.
Wildcat: How will you then deal with that lack of journal titles?
Stoffle: We're trying right now to set up sharing agreements with Arizona State and Northern Arizona Universities to compensate for that loss. Ideally, we're working toward a two-day turnaround for titles coming from those two libraries. We'll lend to them the titles that we have and vice versa.
Wildcat: Do you then feel that the UA administration is committed to keeping the library where it is nationally? (The UA library is currently ranked 19th nationally among research libraries.)
Stoffle: In terms of the campus picture, I can't complain. We're in a good position as compared to what's happening to other parts of campus. We're being as creative as possible with the resources we have in trying to maintain the quality and service of the library.
Wildcat: What are some of the efforts you've made along those lines?
Stoffle: The inter-library agreements with the other two universities help stretch our dollar, as does the on-line system that we've recently finished. We have a service known as "CARL Uncover," used to locate text from over 15,000 journals, mostly for graduates and faculty doing research. We've also made some good investments in our infrastructure that have helped us to streamline our operations.
Wildcat: What are some of the ways you've been able to improve the infrastructure?
Stoffle: On the first floor, we're doing construction to consolidate the desks. Instead of having a separate desk for each of the areas, we'll have just one for all three. This lets us keep those areas open for more hours for the same amount of money. We're also eliminating the reserve desk in the the Science and Engineering Library.
Wildcat: How does the UA library system fit into the realm of the "information superhighway" that students will need to access?
Stoffle: We're working really hard with CCIT and other campus units for information support, and we're providing the information to our students as well as anyone in the the United States. Many times students find information they seek but don't know how to use it. That's what we'll be able to help them with.
Another way we're able to help is through a grant that we received from the Council for Library Resources to conduct a "process improvement project." This project includes a tracking system for our shelving process. We're looking at things like what is actually on the shelf, if the SABIO entry about a book's location is accurate, if something is missing from its location, why that may be, and other things. The goal here is to improve our re-shelving turnaround time.
Over time, however, the UA will have to make a real commitment to upgrading and replacing equipment campus-wide so that we can serve everybody the best way possible. If students want to use the global Internet through the library, we'll need the appropriate equipment here and in the dorms and so on.
Wildcat: What new equipment and services are being added to bring the library up to date?
Stoffle: We're adding a server and work station in here so that the Internet is able not only to bring in text as it is now, but also audio and video. The service is called MOSAIC, and is currently being tested. It should be available by mid-August. An investment of $3 million was made to automate the entire library system, so that is a positive step we've taken. We'll have to continue to be creative in our use of resources.
Wildcat: If the university moves forward with the latest recommendation from the Strategic Planning Budget Advisory Committee, and merges such departments as Journalism, Communication and Library Science, how do you see the library's role changing?
Stoffle: If that kind of curriculum got put together, the library could contribute a lot. There would obviously be more education in information issues, making us the first undergraduate program in the United States of this kind. It would allow our staff a place to become more involved in undergraduate education. I think that would be exciting for all of us. Read Next Article