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For 1996-97 library statistics see NMSU Library Fact Sheet

Tables referenced in the report will be available soon.

New Mexico State University Library
1996-97 Annual Report

Charles T. Townley, Dean
R. David Myers, Associate Dean


The New Mexico State University Library is the primary provider of value added information required for high quality teaching and learning, research, and service at New Mexico State University. The University Library has four interdependent goals to meet the scholarly information needs of the NMSU community:

Activities in l996-l997 indicates that the University Library continues to be a valuable member of the NMSU academic community (Tables 1 and 2). Because of changing user behavior, the availability of electronic access information on the internet, and the beginnings of electronic full text information, the nature of library use is becoming more diverse and complex. Basic library services, like seating, circulation, and copying, are declining in use as people access information electronically from their home or office. Staff intensive services, such as reference and bibliographic instruction, have increased as users seek guidance in using more complicated systems. Our ability to meet needs has been restricted by a reduced number of staff for public services and a large amount of faculty turnover. Service has been maintained only through significant staff self-sacrifice. Library materials have been selected and processed for the collection more effectively than ever before-- but only by using one time money which will disappear in l998. The campus attitude about the library continues to grow more positive as user oriented services, such as electronic services and Pegasus document delivery, become widely understood and used. There is significant concern among staff and users regarding shortages in personnel, the temporary nature of the current acquisitions budget and our aging online catalog.

Comparative data was collected from CHE peer institutions and the University of New Mexico regarding 1996 library use and support (Table 3). These data indicate that New Mexico State University continues to receive good value for its library dollar. Services and use rank in the second or third quartile, while support and collections rank in the third or fourth quartile. Projected budget reductions indicate the NMSU Library will move to the fourth quartile and sometimes to last place in terms of financial support and collection development in 1997-98.

The University Library also completed work on a new strategic plan (Appendix A). This plan, which was developed with active participation from most library personnel and from many in the user community, identifies a vision, mission and values to guide the library in coming years. It also lays out four goals to give direction. Annual reports in subsequent years will be based on this plan.

This annual report is divided into GOALS and Objectives. This report reflects the library's important role in the university environment.


Assuring user success is the most fundamental component of the library's current Five Year Plan. Users must have complete confidence that they will find needed information through the University Library. Performance measures found in Table 2 indicate a changing pattern of library use. Basic use, such as attendance and circulation, are down. While some of this can be attributed to declining enrollment, reductions of more than ten percent represent a fundamental change in information seeking behavior. When this is compared to the growing use of the library home page of almost 250 percent as well the growing use of Pegasus and other delivery services, this change suggests that a growing number of students and faculty are preferring to access information electronically, frequently from their office, dorm room or home. Our growing ability to insure user success is described in the following paragraphs.

Provide a Collection Reflecting Curricular and Current Research Needs

Much attention has been paid this year to assuring access to scholarly information by providing internet based searching tools. During the course of the year the library acquired a general and a business database, called Pan Plus, which provides indexing and abstracting for more than 1500 general academic and business periodicals. The library also purchased a full text service providing on-line access to about half of the journals in the database. The library also acquired the First Search suite of on-line databases. First Search includes many heavily used scholarly indexes and abstracts. Finally, the library continued negotiations regarding Science Citation Index in an internet-based format. Since all of this access information is leased, rather than purchased, and since each database has a different concept of permitted use and other licensing characteristics, University Library personnel have spent a great deal of time negotiating the access licenses to provide the greatest access, flexibility, and copyright compliance. This negotiation process is consuming a great amount of staff time and will become only more time intensive as we add more and more databases.

A significant amount of time was also spent in deselecting serials and standing orders to balance the budget. Library staff worked to provide an informational database of serial titles, including use, citation, cost, increases in subscriptions and other useful information to assist with reducing the serials list. The Collection Management Committee Advisory Committee, selectors and liaisons were very effective in the very difficult job of reducing the list. Due to the provision of $250,000 one time funds, the projected 28 percent cut was not necessary. Instead, the library cut about 15 percent of purchases and 7 percent of the titles in the serials budget. The book and standing order budget received similar cuts. Expenditures for electronic information were increased.

The University expended $2,361,962 to purchase and bind materials supporting the instructional and current research needs at New Mexico State University. Of this amount, 63.1 percent was for serial subscriptions and the remainder was for books, electronic services, and other resources. The library purchased 14,081 monographs. We maintained 7,418 serial subscriptions. The library collection reached 1,000,784 volumes.

Increase Electronic Access to Information in the Library

Electronic access to information in the University Library continued to increase during the 1996-1997 year. A systems study was undertaken to identify a new integrated system for the University Library. Regrettably, none of the systems could demonstrate an ability to meet library requirements for a "new generation system". As a consequence, the study was cancelled and will be undertaken in the coming year. In the meantime, the performance of the library's "legacy" system is not eroding as quickly as predicted. We should be able to squeeze an additional year or two of substandard performance out of the existing system.

Internet-based library services grew rapidly in popularity. Overall use was up 249 percent for a total of 488,864 hits. The library is making considerable progress in establishing the library home page as a gateway to reliable and accurate information throughout the internet on topics of interest to library users at New Mexico State University. Use of the CD-ROM LAN, the local databases and the OLE Catalog declined during the year as internet-based database services became more available.

The Systems Office also installed a new Innovacq server for acquisitions and serials control, configured the new electronic classroom, and a number of other activities to increase electronic access in the library.

Provide Effective Intellectual and Physical Control of Library Information

The University Library continues to improve intellectual and physical control of the library collection. Technical services units added 22,372 volumes representing 14,501 titles to the collection, an 18.6 percent decrease. We processed subscriptions for 7,418 serials and purchased 14,081 monograph volumes. Bibliographic records for currently received government documents were added to OLE. Retrospective conversion of all holdings in LC classifications M, PZ, K, QE,QH, T, U and V were completed. Reclassification of the special collections was completed. Original cataloging records were created for 1,578 titles. Planning was initiated for adding the finding aids for archival collections to the library catalog. The library also began to consider how to add electronic resources to the catalog. A first tentative step was taken by adding temporary records for full text journals available electronically to library users. Larger issues, such as cataloging world wide web sources and data files, were studied.

Volumes on the shelf must also be available and useable. This year the library increased its efforts to assure access to the physical collection through preservation activities. Some 13,982 volumes were bound or some repaired. The binding cycle was reduced to four weeks and alternative binders were tested. A process was developed to expedite the replacement of missing books. Finally, the new books list moved to an electronic format thus eliminating printing and mailing costs.

The Circulation Unit is responsible for lending and receiving library materials, operating the reserve service, copier support, stack maintenance, and current periodical room operations. During the l996-97 year, the library circulated 178,857 volumes, a decrease of 11.1 percent. As was stated before, this is probably due to increased use of electronic information far exceeding the loss in circulation. Many user communications with the Circulation Unit, such as renewing circulated items and submitting reserve lists, can now be done electronically. Reserve use was down as well
for reasons that are not clear. It may have been an off year for courses requiring reserve material.

It may be that faculty are scanning and mounting their own material which may incur significant cost and copyright liability for the university. The electronic reserve process was tested using non-copyrighted material and was found to be very successful. Efforts will be made to expand this service in the future so it can assure university copyright compliance, increase faculty time for teaching and research, and improve user access.

Library attendance accounted for 814,479 visits to the library, a decrease of 14.3 percent. Once again, this appears to represent a change in behavior towards using more direct electronic resources from the dorm room, office, or home. Since the library goal is to assure access rather than increase attendance, this change may indicate library success and people are finding the material away from the library. This behavior will also be useful as we exceed our capacity to shelve material and we will be able to remove seats without denying access.

Enhance Bibliographic Guidance and Instruction for Basic Users

As the complexity of scholarship increases, the amount of scholarly information continues to grow and publishing media continue to proliferate, finding the most appropriate scholarly information becomes increasingly complex. To address this complexity, users turn to the library reference units for interpretation and guidance. They seek additional training in using new media and need additional assistance is selecting the most appropriate material for accessing the collection.

Sadly, the library has lost two key faculty lines in reference areas. As a result our ability to provide bibliographic guidance and instruction has been significantly reduced. Further, because of high turnover, it has been difficult to maintain current levels of service. As a result, the number of reference questions answered has declined marginally and bibliographic instruction increased only slightly. Both numbers reflect our limitations rather than the market demand. Only heroic intervention by reference personnel have kept services reasonably constant.

Library Faculty taught 371 bibliographic instruction sessions to 6,824 users. In addition, experiments were undertaken to provide a web-based tutorial for use by students in English 111 and by the general public. In addition, library help sheets were digitized and placed on the library's web server for easier access and paper saving.

An adequate amount of bibliographic guidance and instruction is essential in exploiting the scholarly information resources of the university. For the library to do its job effectively, it is imperative that the two reference positions eliminated last year be restored as soon as possible. Without them the university will continue to be chronically undersupplied with scholarly information to the detriment of teaching, research and service.


Library success in increasing the number of expert users-- people who use the library to resolve information problems, who make heavy use of staff and automation, and whose satisfaction increases as they use more library services-- has modestly increased in the 1996-97 year. As with service to basic users, progress in this area is limited in large part to inadequate funds for personnel, technology and information resources.

Provide Access to Scholarly Information and Bibliographic Data Describing Scholarly Information in All Formats

The reference collection continues to grow both in electronic and printed formats. In the current year, reference spent $300,000 for its collection including firm orders, subscriptions, and electronic resources. Several major publications were purchased, including : Brain Encyclopedia, Audiologist's Desk Reference, the MIT Encyclopedia of the Japanese Economy, the Encicopedia de Mexico, and the World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre. Our electronic information access was greatly enhanced by acquiring Pan Plus in internet-based version and by purchasing the First Search suite of electronic databases, including World Cat, ERIC, Agricola and many other common academic databases. Efforts continued to purchase Science Citation Index in an internet format. Intensive negotiations have been undertaken with the Institution for Scientific Information, the publisher.

Library Homepage use grew spectacularly with 448,864 hits, an increase of more than 250 percent for this two year old service. Our users seem to appreciate our effort to organize scholarly information on the internet in areas of interest to the university community. We look forward to continuing and expanding this service in the future.

The current awareness service for faculty has been maintained this year despite staff shortages. More than 100 faculty receive notices of the most appropriate new publications in their research field each week.

Provide Research Reference and Advanced Bibliographic Instruction for Accessing Esoteric Information

The library has continued its reference-by-appointment and email reference service to assure that we provide as many opportunities as possible to present complex information needs. Some 303 reference inquiries were answered on email. While both services would grow rapidly if marketed, shortage of reference faculty makes this inadvisable.

Bibliographic instruction remains the primary means by which the library increases user expertise. This year, 180 lower-division presentations were made, many in English 111 sections. More than 100 presentations were made to upper-division classes outlining bibliographic resources in a specific area or discipline. More than 50 workshops were held, mostly dealing with using new technologies. Preparation of these lecture-demonstrations and workshops, which include both print and electronic resources, take a great deal of faculty time in planning and preparation. If compared with workloads in teaching departments, it represents a commitment of two or three FTE faculty. While this is a significant investment, we find the results well worth the effort.

The wisdom of offering Library Science 311, "Information Literacy," a general education course intended to teach information theory and applications, continues to be confirmed. Three sections were taught during the academic year and produced 75 expert users who can define an information problem, develop a strategy for locating needed information, and critically evaluate scholarly information in relation to their needs. The course is one of the more popular general education "Viewing a Wider World" courses. Since this course generates income for the university, we think it is only fair that the university share some of that income with the University Library. Funds received would be used to teach additional sections of this very popular course.

Library personnel have also been involved in training users and library staff in various areas and technologies. One of the major advances made in training this year was when the library joined forces with Computing and Networking and the Dona Ana Branch Community College to offer a whole range of training programs in the library's new electronic classroom. As a result, library personnel have received training without direct charge to the University Library.

Deliver Documents to Expert Users

Both Interlibrary Loan and Pegasus document delivery services have continued to improve services for users this year. Interlibrary Loan now receives requests for interlibrary loan electronically. Almost 43 percent of users have enthusiastically adopted this service. The Pegasus document delivery service delivered 330 books and 4,560 articles to faculty. The two services continue their close cooperation.

The library continues to maintain its relationships with other libraries in the state and region. Some 95 users took advantage of our reciprocal borrowing arrangement with the University of Texas at El Paso Library. The New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries reciprocal borrowing agreement was used by 19 faculty and students of New Mexico State University. In addition, interlibrary loan materials were delivered to the Dona Ana Branch Community College and the Branigan Memorial Library by the library's mailroom personnel.


The University Archives maintained its increase in activity with 1,274 users. Users consulted 1,204 collections, 74 percent from the Rio Grande Historical Collections, 26 percent from University Archives. Significant increases were made in collection development with 147 accessions of non-university materials and 5 transfers from university units. Almost 4,792 still photographs were added, mostly by copying originals.

The Durango Project completed an additional 204 rolls of microfilm representing 140,000 pages of 18th and 19th century documents in the Historical Archives of the Archdiocese of Durango, Mexico. In addition, work began on copying the notarial archives of the State of Durango. To expedite copying of Durango material, a temporary staff member was hired. We expect continuing opportunities to develop additional microfilming programs for historical records important to the borderlands of New Mexico as a result of our efforts with the Archdiocese. Progress continues in organizing archival materials and reducing arrearages. Some 303 accessions were processed. In addition, work began on placing aids on the world wide web and cataloging them for access through the library catalog. Digital reformatting of photographs continues with three student assistants. Some 2,922 images have been scanned this year. This copying will allow original negatives and prints to be preserved in cold storage.

The University Archives undertook additional outreach activities during this year. The RGHC friends group held two meetings. The two traveling exhibits were displayed at 12 locations throughout New Mexico and west Texas. Archives personnel curated three additional exhibits at the University.

Significant changes were made in archival personnel. Tim Blevins was hired for a faculty position in reformatting, and Marah de Muele was hired for a faculty position in archives processing.

Special Collections

The big news in Special Collections was the unveiling of the electronic index to the Las Cruces Sun News. Some 2,359 citations were printed from the index for users. Special Collections registered 1,135 users, a 44.6 percent increase.

Major progress was also made when retrospective conversion of cataloging was completed on all Special Collections materials. In addition, processing for several recently received collections is well underway. Special Collections offered programs during the year dealing with topics covered by Special Collections materials. Attendance sometimes overflowed the facility.

To incorporate the use of digital mapping information, the library received a GIS workstation. Staff began working with the station to determine how it might best be used in the University Library.

The Southwest Center for Codes and Standards

The Southwest Center for Codes and Standards was affected adversely by the lack of an engineering librarian and the elimination of the Codes and Standards professional position. As a result, activity went down significantly.

The Center continued its work with the New Mexico Department of Highways and Transportation on metric conversion. It held six regional conferences on metric conversion for the department. Work continued to provide access to Mexican as well as United States standards. The clerical employee was sent to Mexico to improve her Spanish. We continue to monitor the production of databases for Mexican standards with a view towards providing access to these standards in the United States.

Government Documents

The Government Documents unit is the depository library for the Second Congressional District of New Mexico, selecting about 69 percent of Federal government documents. The collection is intended to represent all areas of scholarly interest at New Mexico State University and the general needs of the Second Congressional District. Acquisitions for l996-97 continued to reflect the increasing amount of government information being placed in electronic format. The current ratio is 1/3 compact disk and 2/3 microform. Sadly, the quality of software for using some of this electronic information is very poor, making use of the data difficult. To increase access to this information several electronic indexes have been purchased from commercial sources.

All current documents are being added to the OLE catalog to improve access for library users. This is a cooperative effort between the Government Documents unit and Cataloging. This year some 27,309 documents were added to OLE. Planning for retrospective conversion continues. When this is undertaken, it will assure access to all 400,000 government documents through the OLE catalog. The unit answered 4,517 reference questions, provided 22 bibliographic instruction sessions for 343 people, and reshelved some 14,278 items. Government Documents continued to be active in creating material for the homepage.

Borderlands Collections

The library made progress this year in processing the previously purchased collections on Latin America and the border. New Mexico State University continues to occupy a leadership position in electronic information on the border and Latin America. The library's border and Latin American homepage was used more than 67,000 times during the last year. The Latin American homepage is regularly listed in recommended homepages.


Share the University Library Mission and Vision

The major effort of sharing the mission and vision has been implementing the new University Library Strategic Plan. Following completion of the plan at the end of the fall semester, several committees were organized to lead implementation of the plan. The Implementation Committee made recommendations on structure and implementation processes. A sub-committee surveyed staff for suggestions on how to implement the plan and develop staff commitment to it. Work on the implementation plan was completed by the end of the second semester. Structural recommendations and implementation by unit will be undertaken in the l997-98 fiscal year.

The second major effort has been to share information on the library's financial plight with the Faculty Senate Library Committee, and through that committee with the Faculty Senate and the university administration. These efforts were in part successful. The Faculty Senate expressed its concern in a second memorial to the university administration regarding library materials. As a result of efforts by the Faculty Senate Library Committee and the Collection Management Advisory Committee, some $250,000 in one time money was given to the library to support the materials budget.

The library was less successful in defining the library mission and vision in ways that garnered administrative support for personnel and library systems. The library took the largest single reduction of any major unit in the University from a staff that was already one of the smallest within the CHE peer group.

Internally, there was a great deal of communication on the new strategic plan. Every library employee had an opportunity to provide input by serving on committees or voicing their concerns at various hearings during the process. Efforts continue to establish better communication throughout the library. These face the additional challenge of dealing with reduced budgets and low morale. Three issues of Citations, the library newsletter, were published and did a great deal to improve communication within the library and between the library and its constituent groups.

Assess Library Outcomes

A little progess was made in assessing library outcomes during the fiscal year. A proposal for monthly statistics was made but it was decided to delay implementation pending organizational restructuring based on the strategic plan. Library units, however, made some significant progress in their own internal statistical analysis.

The Library also participated in two self-studies relating to the accreditation process, one on library operations and one of library instructional programs. Both of these studies resulted in useful information and insights that have been incorporated into library operations.

Supervise Library Administrative Operations

Library units undertook a number of significant efforts to improve administrative operations. Technical Services and Systems installed and brought up a new Innovacq system for acquisitions and serials control. Electronic transfer of financial records began with a number of vendors with great savings in paper and time. Technical Services expanded its liaison activity with units like Government Documents, Archives, the Dona Ana Branch, and the Alamogordo Branch for library automation. Information Services implemented a proposal to eliminate library fines, thus creating good will and reducing paper work.

A significant amount of effort and resources have gone into maintaining and improving electronic systems this year. We have been able to acquire additional Pentium processors that will improve our ability to implement a client-server library system and our flexibility in accessing the internet. A study was undertaken to identify a new system for library automation. After careful consideration, including visits to operational sites, no such system was identified. However, several systems showed promise of development within the year. As a result, the Systems study was cancelled. A new study will be undertaken in the l997-98 year.

Needs statements for restoration of personnel have been documented and forwarded to the university administration. Concerns for overall funding levels for staffing, systems and acquisitions have been made. Concerns have been expressed regarding the temporary nature of the library materials budget.

Support Personnel and Skills Development

Significant progress has been made to support personnel and skills development in the current year. The Systems unit concluded an agreement with the Computing & Networking and the Dona Ana Branch Community College to use the library's new electronic classroom for training. As a result of this agreement, the library has been able to send employees to these courses during the past year without direct costs. The library continued to provide significant support for professional development and continuing education. Ninety requests for funding approved by the Library Leave/Travel committee. A great deal of continuing education occurred formally and informally as part of the strategic planning process.

Performance reviews have been carried out for all staff members -- faculty, professional and classified.

Affirmative Action

The University Library continues to meet or exceed its affirmative action goals. Assistant Professor Edward Erazo is serving as President of Reforma, the national Hispanic library organization. In addition, the library provided four faculty members to teach continuing education courses to library staff at the University of Chihuahua in Ciudad Chihuahua.

Efforts continued to be made to reach underserved constituencies of the university. Bilingual publications are frequently provided and services are always available in both Spanish and English upon request.

Increase Financial Support

The Library Development Office was successful in raising more than $300,000 this year. The most significant donation was a major endowment contributed by Helen Gardiner, a former university mathematics professor and an employee of the Physical Sciences Laboratory. The annual fund drive continues to raise almost $10,000 for specific activities relating to each participating college.

University support was extremely difficult to achieve. Library personnel received very small salary increases. One time funds were received for library materials. No funds were provided for additional operational costs. Indeed, five positions were cancelled, forming the largest percentage decline of any major unit of the University. Needs for personnel, for systems, and for permanent support for library materials were not addressed.

Effective Budget Administration

The University Library continues to be frustrated in its financial operations by lack of an adaptable financial system that can provide useful information in a timely manner. It is impossible to accurately track encumbrances and payments in the Financial Records System. The accounting system in University Advancement has collapsed. We do not receive information on donations until months later. This makes it difficult to continue operations in a reasonable manner. It also frustrates library personnel as they seek to carry out their goals and objectives.

Enhanced Facilities

The University Library made a major improvement in its facilities by completing work on an electronic classroom with 25 stations. It is used for three sections of Library Science 311, much of the advanced course related bibliographic instruction, and for employee training.

The library has completed work on a new employee lounge located on the first floor of Branson Hall and a middle-level preservation laboratory located in University Archives in Branson Hall. Additionally, conservation work was completed on two Tom Lea murals that originally hung in the Young Hall Library in the 1930's. HVAC problems in the Branson Hall Library continue. While several alternatives have been proposed by PPD to improve temperature stability, they have not been implemented. Work on temperature and humidity control in Special Collections and Archives is desperately needed.

A Security system has been installed in Branson Hall to the great relief of personnel responsible for Archives and Special Collections.

[Organ Mountains] Send comments and questions to: library@lib.nmsu.edu