Welcome back! I hope you’re all feeling rested and rejuvenated from a well-deserved winter break.
As I mentioned in my holiday email last month, I am so impressed by the amount of work we were able to accomplish last year. None of the achievements I chose to highlight was the result of a cookie-cutter project. Each of them required hard work, creative problem solving, and deep collaboration across the library system and with local campus partners. I know it isn’t always easy, but when these things come together, the impact is felt by students and faculty across the university. Thank you again for all your good work in 2019.
As we turn our collective attention to 2020, I’d like to kick off the New Year by sharing some fantastic news. We have received our official FY21 budget awards and I am happy to report that we have received full support for salary increases and collection inflation, exceeding our expectations for funding in both these areas. Moreover, this funding is not representative of what was awarded to other cost pool units across the university. Simply put, this means that all our hard work is paying off. It’s a strong vote of confidence for the Libraries and the direction in which we’re headed, and I’m proud that we’ve received this recognition of our importance to Rutgers students and faculty.
I’m glad that we will continue this momentum and hit the ground running this year with several impactful, large-scale projects. One such undertaking is the redesign of our website. While this project is still in its early stages, we have contracted with a vendor that will be performing the work. A web group is being convened to manage the project internally, establishing a timeline and benchmarks and communicating progress with the rest of our colleagues. The first step of the redesign is a discovery phase that includes surveying site visitors to learn more about their goals and experiences. This is another project that will draw on the expertise of many of us across the Libraries, and I look forward to following its progress as we continue to cater our services to meet the unique needs of our local communities.
Another important project for us is Esploro. One of the priorities that arose from our last planning cycle was to implement an information management solution that will allow us to support the university’s open access policy in a sustainable manner, and Esploro represents a huge step toward meeting that goal. Esploro automates the management of research output—including capture and direct deposit—and helps streamline the process of depositing the results of scholarship into SOAR. It integrates directly with our library system and leverages one of the largest indexes of scholarly research available in order to ensure the broadest possible capture. Because it automatically harvests scholarly work done by Rutgers faculty, Esploro should give us a more comprehensive repository of Rutgers scholarship than we have with our current, purely manual deposit process. It will also help us better partner with the Office of Research & Economic Development by providing them with data on faculty output and productivity that can be used when pursuing research grants or steering potential industry partners toward relevant faculty experts. With projects like this, is it encouraging for me to see how the foundations we’ve laid over the last several years open up new possibilities for us moving forward. Adding a tool like Esploro builds on the work that groups like the Ex Libris Implementation Team have done in the past, and allows us to deliver value-added services that uplift the entire Rutgers community.
Of course these are only a couple examples of the many exciting projects we have slated for 2020, but I hope they serve as compelling illustrations of all the progress we’re making. I look forward to another productive year ahead!