One of the first things I did as FS President is to meet with the UTM library staff, during which we discussed an issue most of you will be hearing about in the upcoming days and one many of us have been talking about for a long time; which finally seems to be reaching some decision point.
Our discussion pertained to a system-wide library system permitting faculty, students and staff at all UT institutions to have, essentially, one electronic library.
During our wonderful conversation (what a pleasant group of people!!!) of July 21, the UTM library staff emphasized these things:
(1) We want a large core of databases, not all must be shared.
(2) In a situation where each school competes for money on the basis of retention and graduation, it is not good to hamstring institutions in terms of library resources.
(3) Tennessee is one of only a few states that do not already have such a shared system.
(4) All UT faculty should have access to the same databases (at the very least).
(5) Since most states have such a system, only a few institutions in states without one (such as Tennessee), have faculty and students who are thusly disadvantaged.
(6) Ultimately it should be a cost savings for the entire system.
(7) This is perhaps something that will be decided at the level of the legislature.
This issue is something all the Faculty-Senate Presidents from across the state of Tennessee have decided to take up for 2011-12, which is why I say, you will be hearing more on it during the coming months.
Please send any thoughts you have on the need or ways this might be accomplished to me or write them in the comment section of this blog.