Beginning in 2008 the economic emergency in California has led to severe ongoing reductions in funding for the University of California Libraries' staff and services. In this session Bradford Lee Eden described the libraries' response to this crisis.
The Libraries formed tightly supervised task forces to provide information to higher level administrative decision-makers. The initial groups recommended that the Libraries adopt a financial structure that would cover the entire system. They also suggested that the Libraries move to system-wide acquisitions of shelf-ready materials. That would enable staff to move its focus from print to digital resources.
In the next phase new task forces were formed to develop more options. The Libraries are currently not all using the same ILS, and the task forces considered a recommendation that Libraries convert to one system, but they decided that the expense and disruption involved would make that impractical at this time. They did recommend that to avoid duplication of effort and expense work be done at the network, not local, level in system-wide service centers. In addition, they recommended establishing system-wide standards--for example, that catalogers come to agree on a standard "good enough record" and collection developers agree on standard practices. The task forces also created a list of things to stop doing--e.g. binding journals.
In general, the Libraries found that in order to maximize their effectiveness in providing resources by working as a collective, they had to be careful to clear establish responsibilities and priorities. Eden emphasized that positive attitude combined with willingness to work together and experiment was crucial to the success of their efforts. He believes that that they are not facing a temporary downturn; the world has changed and the good times are not coming back. Everyone must work together to remain for the Libraries to remain viable.