The Faculty Committee on Libraries membership in 1996-1997 included Allen Bushong, Chair (Geography), Ronald Baughman (Art), John Catalano (Philosophy-Lancaster), Sarah Gable (Medical Library), Scott Goode (Chemistry), Ezra Greenspan (English), Bruce Konkle (Journalism and Mass Communications), Patrick Scott (English), James Teng (Business Administration), Juan Vargas (Engineering), and George Terry (Libraries and Information Systems, ex-officio). The committee met six times during the academic year, on October 9, November 13, January 22, March 26, April 23, and May 7.

Three years ago, when the chair was elected to this committee, the breaking of ground for a much needed off-campus library facility appeared imminent. Three years later, that off-campus library facility (a.k.a. library annex or remote library storage) is not yet a reality and overcrowding of existing library units has worsened. The off-again, on-again quest for an appropriate site was resolved this academic year and groundbreaking for the building is scheduled for January, 1998 on a parcel of state property at the intersection of South Carolina Highway 277 and Parklane Road in Northeast Columbia. Completion is anticipated by Fall, 1998.

In the 1996-1997 academic year, the library staff was particularly active in considering the many details involving the move of less used materials from Cooper and South Caroliniana to the off-campus facility. Members of the Faculty Committee on Libraries were involved as well by serving with librarians on one of eight teams, each of which is charged with a particular aspect related to the move. The question of which materials in each discipline will be transferred to the new facility will be determined by discussion with each academic unit. Some departments have already had these discussions, and before the library annex is completed, librarians will have met with all academic units to gain their input. (It might be noted that any time an academic unit wishes to discuss any library-related matter, a librarian and a member of the Faculty Committee on Libraries are on call to visit the unit and talk about the issue. To request a meeting, please contact Thomas McNally, University Librarian for Public Services, at 7-3142 or tom@tcl.sc.edu.)

The library annex will house materials in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment. These less-in-demand materials will be available on request from the main campus with same-day or next-day delivery service provided. Patrons who may need to work with large numbers of volumes housed in the annex will have the option of using these volumes in the annex's reading room, just a fifteen-minute drive from Cooper Library.

For the next year or so, however, library patrons will have to endure continued overcrowding. Thomas Cooper Library, which opened in 1976, has an optimum capacity of 1.5 million volumes. It now houses 2.0 million of the 3.0 million volumes on the Columbia campus and adds more than 70,000 volumes annually. The current crowding of library facilities also reflects the largely successful efforts over the last three decades of the libraries in meeting the faculty's increasing demands for the support of new programs, especially graduate programs. Consider, for example, that in the mid-sixties, libraries on the Columbia campus totalled 600,000 volumes, the Ph.D. degree was offered in 15 fields, and the student body numbered nine thousand students. Today a library system of 3.0 million volumes plus rapidly-growing on-line resources support the Ph.D. in 70 areas plus 24 professional doctorates in an additional eight areas, and the student body numbers 26,000, forty per cent of whom are graduate students. USC is in the top twenty per cent of schools in the country awarding doctorates. Through the careful management of resources, the library has been able to advance through the ranks of the 109-member Association of Research Libraries (ARL). USC's current position, 54th, is the highest ever and puts us in the top half of that group. Meeting the continuing demands of existing and new research programs and sustaining or improving our standing in ARL is important in working toward President Palms' stated goal of membership in the select Association of American Universities (AAU).

This academic year the physical plight of the South Caroliniana Library was made known to the university community and the larger public through several media outlets. Members of this committee, President Palms and other members of the administration have toured the building. All recognized the serious nature of what they witnessed. The Faculty Committee on Libraries formally and unanimously endorsed its concern in a resolution which was presented to and discussed and passed by the Faculty Senate.

Professor Bruce Konkle was elected to chair the Faculty Committee on Libraries in 1997-1998.

Allen D. Bushong
For the Faculty Committee on Libraries

This page updated 21 September 1997 by the Office of the Faculty Senate,
and copyright 1997, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.
URL http://www.sc.edu/faculty/senate/97/annual/libraries.html