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Stanley Wilder
swilder2@uncc.edu
Phone: 704-687-3110
Director's Blog  
 
If you were to judge only from the steady stream of books that will be filling up the Library’s new book shelves in the coming year, you might miss a truly epochal change about to take place. Over the next few weeks, Atkins will begin receiving some of its current scholarly books in electronic format only. These books will come to us through Project Muse, which distributes high quality work from a long list of academic presses.
 
Now begins the e-book future that we have all be envisioning for years. It has been frustrating to see e-books flourish in mainstream publishing, but stymied in academia by fear for diminished reputation, for a Napster-like collapse of the book marketplace, or the simple, breathtaking greed evident in some e-book licenses. The Project Muse titles, by contrast, come with allowance for the principle of fair use, for long-term preservation, multiple users, compelling use metrics, and no digital rights management restrictions. The future starts here.


Sincerely,






Sometimes it’s great just to be good.  Collection funding in the fiscal year just completed was just ordinary: almost $4 million spent between serials (82%, $3.3M) and books (18%, $.7M). Collection spending is variable, but these numbers come as close as can be to reflecting UNC Charlotte’s current “routine” collection needs.  Last year, by contrast, was phenomenally good, including one-time money that purchased new databases and vast journal backfiles in digital format, resulting in the biggest one-year expansion of collections in Atkins’ history.
 
The fiscal year just completed included no comparable additions to collections, and strangely, this too is cause for celebration. At a time when the University at large has struggled to absorb a permanent $33M budget cut, and most other UNC system libraries have slashed collection funding, “routine” collecting looks like an improbable victory. For an institution with burgeoning student enrollment and research agenda, Charlotte’s support for current scholarship should be a point of pride. It certainly saves money in the long run, avoiding expensive work-arounds. A university community’s need for information doesn’t disappear when collection budgets are cut, it is just served in ways that are far more expensive. And that’s when the work-arounds are legal!


Sincerely,





At this writing, the collaborative space is wrapped in black plastic on the Peet’s level of Atkins Library. Construction is due to be completed in September, with furnishings sometime after that. We believe that once the space is completed, it’ll be the most exciting, most heavily used space on campus. Walking through it will feel zoo-like, where the “animals” are groups of students working and learning together.
 
This will be a success with an unusually strong narrative. Every aspect of the design and intent of the space is a result of the systematic study of UNC Charlotte students, led by the Library’s anthropologist Donna Lanclos. Her work is premised on the assumption that understanding how students do their work is a constantly changing cultural phenomenon, and one that students themselves cannot fully articulate. Her insights, along with those of many others, will produce a space like no other on campus. One month in, it will be impossible to imagine how our community could operate without it.



Sincerely,