Oct. 25-Nov. 7, 2002
Back Issues
Garry Wills takes his turn at writing U.Va. history
Headlines @ U.Va.
Lampkin named new VP

Wanted: Minority grad students

Faculty Actions -- from the October BOV meeting
New director has familiar face
The struggle to create the University -- excerpt from Mr. Jefferson’s University
Grounds Keeper
Nursing enrollment, ranking on the rise
Opportunity key to library’s outlook
‘With Good Reason’ turns 10
Talk maps out path of early explorations
Dove’s play debuts in C’ville
America’s global stature Levinson Lecture focus
Tears for the Earth
Bond package to spur research
Karin Wittenborg
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff

“Cuts will be painful, in particular to collections. We'll need to remain flexible and be clear about our priorities.”

Karin Wittenborg,
University Librarian

Opportunity key to library’s outlook

A member of the University Library staff recently made a $5,000 anonymous gift to the library. It was followed by several smaller gifts – also from staff members

Staff Report

In summarizing the state of the University Library, Karin Wittenborg draws from the old comic strip “Pogo.”

“We are confronted with insurmountable opportunity,” says Wittenborg.

While everything from the state of the world to the amount of library funding has changed in recent months, the library's traditions of customer service and innovation, and its mission of building and providing access to information resources, are unchanged.

Accomplishments during the past year include:

• establishing a digital library production service;

• securing $1million from the Mellon Foundation for infrastructure for the Library of Tomorrow;

• working with the English, art and architecture departments to incorporate technology in teaching;

• increasing annual giving to $276,000;

• distributing 6.4 million e-books;

• providing information to other university libraries about LEO, the on-grounds delivery service.

State budget cuts have already taken $800,000 and threaten another $1.1 million in library funding. Wittenborg said her guiding principles during the budget crisis are to serve customers, use data such as usage reports, surveys and information from faculty and student advisory committees to make budget choices, protect people and “keep moving.”

“We're getting good at living with ambiguity,” she said.

People frequently ask about library construction projects — such as the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library — and how they relate to operations. “The projects continue because funding is specifically allocated or restricted for them.”

Protecting the job security of her staff is a top priority. Freezing the 26 current vacancies provides some leeway, and sharing staff among the library system’s 14 libraries in critical areas helps maintain core services.

“Cuts will be painful,” Wittenborg said. “A particular worry is the cuts to collections. We'll need to remain flexible and be clear about our priorities.”

A bright side to the crisis is that it has affirmed the importance of the library to the University community and provided opportunities for staff growth and team efforts. In addition, hard times may motivate donors.

One important area she is addressing is improving diversity among library staff by developing strategies for when the current hiring freeze is lifted.

The library is helped by strong support from students, administration and faculty. It is well positioned for fund-raising and has an excellent staff.

“It's a dynamic organization that can adapt and change,” she said.



© Copyright 2002 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

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