Dear Campus Writing Intensive Faculty,
I am honored to have an ex officio role on the Campus Writing Board. We are so fortunate to have this outstanding program on our campus and I continue to be impressed with the commitment of Campus Writing Program staff and board members to supporting writing on our campus. During meetings, I tend to find my thoughts focused on how the University Libraries are supporting WI courses. While not all writing assignments require the use of scholarly resources, many of you do work with students who need to identify, access, and use source material for papers. Many of you bring your classes to the library to learn about the resources and support most relevant to your course. Others of you may refer individual students to the reference desk or a subject librarian. We are always happy to help.
Today, my thoughts wandered to how the libraries’ current collections cuts may impact students who need to use source material for papers. We are currently in the process of reducing our collections expenditures by 1.2 million this fiscal year. This means we are purchasing significantly fewer books and will soon be subscribing to significantly fewer journals. The Libraries are committed to providing access to materials through our consortial partners in MOBIUS and interlibrary loan relationships. However, this means your students will wait longer for needed material. In the case of books, this wait can be several days to more than a week. Further, books borrowed from other libraries cannot be kept as long and can incur fines easily. It will be important for students to keep track of and act on renewal options. They may need to scan or photocopy parts of works that cannot be kept the duration of the writing process, so keeping proper citation information will be very important. Journal articles will have a better turn-around time, but there will be less immediate accessibility than in the past.
Best practices for writing instruction encourage thoughtful time management and revision processes. Thankfully, I believe we do see fewer students coming to us at the end of the semester in a panic about a paper due tomorrow that they have yet to begin. You can help your students by encouraging them to acquire materials well in advance of due dates and to monitor due dates for borrowed books. Your subject librarian will be more than happy to consult with you about strategies that might be helpful to your students.
If news of the need to reduce collection expenditures is new to you, you can find more information at http://library.missouri.edu/collectionsreviewupdate/. If you have questions, please consult with your subject librarian.
Thank you for your attention. The Libraries are doing our very best to provide service in this difficult budget climate. If you have ideas for how we can help your students, please let us know.
Jeannette E. Pierce
Associate Director for Research & Information Services
University of Missouri Libraries
Campus Writing Program
University of Missouri
602 Sanford Street, Conley House
Columbia, MO 65211