Save the UO Librarians

You’d think the first thing a university would cut during a budget crisis would be some of its money-losing sports – starting with say baseball.

Not at UO, where the administration is cutting the librarians. A snippet from the well documented website they’ve put together in response, here:

Like many colleges and universities, the University of Oregon is anticipating a potential budgetary shortfall as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to expected cuts to the university’s state funding and a projected drop in enrollment for fall term. Without yet having any reliable data on the status of either funding stream, UO has opted to preemptively cut costs by targeting 211 Career non-tenure-track faculty whose contracts happened to be up for renewal this spring; these faculty have had their FTE for the 2020-21 academic year cut in half, and have received 1-year contracts in lieu of the 2- or 3-year contracts they would normally expect.

Among those 211 faculty who are bearing the brunt of the university’s savings plan are 14 faculty librarians who have received notice that their positions will be reduced from full-time to 0.55 FTE. Another 5 librarians who were up for promotion this year faced the choice between receiving a similar reduction in FTE with their new contracts upon promotion, or pulling their promotion applications to retain their full FTE under their current contracts.

Johnson Hall can’t hire a Library Dean without paying a search firm $150K?

No wonder Brad Shelton is running a $10M deficit. It’s not like this is something important like a new Duck offensive co-ordinator. In fact, according to the glossy brochure put out by WittKieffer search consultants Suzanne Teer, Philip Tang, and Jessica Herrington at [email protected], who are charging us $150K or so, the next Dean of UO Libraries won’t even need to have a Bachelors Degree, much less an MLS, or a PhD like the previous Dean:

Thanks to an anonymous angry librarian for the link. I can only speculate as to why AVP Melanie Muenzer’s search advocate “thought partner” didn’t catch this omission – or why they added “Personal Qualities” to a job announcement.

I can see the applications now: “Since you asked, size 12 shoes, a bit overweight, and happily married on the second try. Letter from spouse attached.”

Their entire brochure is a piece of work. It’s more about promoting Pres Schill – a client? – and the Board of Trustee’s accomplishments than about recruiting a new Dean of Libraries:

New mission statement? Yes, Coltrane and Lillis did get that time-wasting task done, after a year or so. Mission Accomplished. This is the first mention I’ve heard of it since.

In 2018 the UNC system banned its schools from hiring Witt Kieffer for searches, after they failed to do due diligence.

Mark Watson appointed interim Dean of Libraries

From: [email protected] <[email protected]> On Behalf Of Shelley Harshe
Sent: Monday, June 10, 2019 11:44 AM
To: [email protected]; [email protected]
Subject: lib-staff: Mark Watson named interim dean of UO Libraries

This message is being sent on behalf of Provost and Senior Vice President Jayanth Banavar.

Dear UO Libraries Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to let you know that I have named Mark Watson as interim dean of Libraries. He will take over for Adriene Lim, who announced late last month that her last day at UO is July 8.

Mark is currently the Libraries’ associate dean for research services. Before that, he served as interim head of UO Science Libraries, overseeing the operations of the Allan Price Science Commons and Research Library, and as co-interim dean of Libraries before Adriene’s arrival in 2014.

He started at UO in 1986 as a catalog librarian. In 1998, he became associate librarian for Technical Services, providing leadership for acquisitions, cataloging, inter-library loans and library systems. He was associate university librarian for collections and access from 2002 to 2013, coordinating activities across six areas and supervising 80 staff members. Mark assumed the title of associate dean of libraries for research services in 2014.

Mark has a long history at UO, and he is very knowledgeable about our library system and what is needed to keep things moving forward. He has been actively involved in campus activities, including serving as a member of several search committees across campus. He has volunteered his time as a panel judge for the Graduate School’s research forum, and he has been a UO representative for the Orbis Cascade Alliance’s shared content team.

I am confident that Mark will be a terrific interim dean. He brings a level of experience and understanding to the position that will help us continue moving our libraries forward.

Mark will start in his interim role on July 9 and will serve until a new permanent head of libraries is named; the search for that position will be done under the leadership of the new provost and will commence this fall.

Please join me in congratulating Mark on his new assignment. Thank you for all that you do to help our students, faculty and staff at the UO.


Jayanth Banavar
Provost and Senior Vice President

DBAG alert: 12.4% cuts to UO Library acquisitions

The link is here, courtesy of an anonymous correspondent. Duck athletics used to contribute $50K a year to the library. With football revenue increasing so quickly it’s getting hard to spend it all on coach’s salaries, now seems like a good time for Library Dean Adriene Lim to hit up Athletic Director Rob Mullens, and ask him to restart that tradition with some serious money – serious by Library standards that is. Rounding error to the Ducks:

Library Collections News – Updated 4/28/16

Spring 2016:  Library to Reduce Spending on Collections

Collection Reduction:   On April 6, 2016, a memo went out from the Dean of Libraries, Adriene Lim, to the campus community announcing the need for reductions to library collections in FY 17.  These reductions stem from a $115,000 cut to the collections budget as a result of the UO’s current budget realignment process, compounded by a reduction of $450,000 due to the lack of increases to cover inflationary costs.  During the month of May, library subject specialists will work with UO faculty to develop reduction plans to offset the campus-mandated cuts as well as the erosive effects of Inflation on library materials. The reduction targets for each discipline have been finalized (see below). If you have questions or concerns, please contact the appropriate subject specialist. As always, the UO Libraries will continue to provide robust resource sharing services to help supplement local holdings in order to meet the research and instruction needs of faculty and students.

Reduction Targets to cover inflation in FY 17:  Fixed costs were subtracted from the allocations for each discipline (i.e., a dollar amount representing actual expenditures) producing an across the board reduction of 12.4% on all funds over $3,000 (funds under $3K are being protected from the cut).

Collections Reductions FAQ

Library Dean Adriene Lim announces collections cuts


Date:   April 6, 2016

To:   All UO Colleges, Schools, and Departments

From:  Adriene Lim, Dean of Libraries

Subject:  Collections Reduction Review, 2016-2017

The UO Libraries must prepare for cuts to our collections budget of approximately $565,000 in FY 2016/2017. This figure represents an actual cut of $115,000 in our collections budget due to the UO’s current budget-realignment process, and a reduction of $450,000 due to the lack of increases to cover expected inflationary costs. 

With this note, we are initiating a collaborative review process with colleagues across the University’s colleges, schools, and departments to identify journals, databases, and other resources for cancellation in FY 2016/2017. Subject liaison librarians will work with UO faculty to share details about the collections review, including the timeline for the process, information about the Libraries’ commitment to provide interlibrary loan services for cancelled titles, and other methods we will use to minimize the negative impact of the cancellations. More details about the process will be posted on the Libraries’ website in the coming days. 

The loss of collections funding is challenging, but we must join with our campus colleagues in collective efforts to help the University realign its resources to support new strategic priorities. Thank you in advance for your advice and support as we work through this collections review and cancellation process.