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For 1997-98 library statistics see NMSU 97-98 Library Fact Sheet

Not all tables and appendices referenced in this report are available online.

New Mexico State University Library
1997-98 Annual Report

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


The New Mexico State University Library adopted a new strategic plan in 1997. This annual report describes the progress that has been made and the challenges that have been faced in achieving this plan during the 1997-98 fiscal year. This report begins by restating the vision, mission and goals of the NMSU Library Strategic Plan.


The people of the New Mexico State University Library will assure a creative and supportive environment for intellectual inquiry by providing user-focused services to obtain and evaluate scholarly information and knowledge -- in many formats and from multiple sources -- necessary for the NMSU community to create new knowledge, to increase understanding, and to develop wisdom.

Mission and Goals

The NMSU library develops and provides essential and specialized resources and services to meet the information needs of the NMSU community and the people of New Mexico. The library does this by:


Activities in 1997-98 confirm the wisdom of undertaking a new strategic plan for the university library (Table 1). The creation and use of this plan by motivated people is the primary reason that the library has excelled during a time of fundamental external and internal change. During the last twelve months, the library has met challenges and opportunities in the rapidly changing information environment. Library personnel have successfully worked with users to meet their changing information requirements. We have made significant progress in developing the library as an organization. Library personnel have achieved all this despite reduced staffing levels, significant turnover, and uncertain funding.

This report also documents the dramatically growing role of scholarly information provided by the University Library at NMSU (Table 2). The data indicates that the library is making strong strides in its continuing effort to be a cooperative, user-centered culture. It also suggests that the materials and services provided by the University Library are of significantly increasing use to the university community. And finally, the report documents the growing need for training and support of new, often electronic, information services throughout the university community. University personnel should feel proud to be served by such a forward thinking and responsive collaboration of knowledge workers. This annual report is divided into GOALS and Objectives.


The University Library has placed its first emphasis on continuing to develop a cooperative, user-centered culture. This year, much progress has been made on this goal. By pursuing this goal, we have been in a better position to deal with significant changes elsewhere in the library. Library personnel look forward to building on this beginning in the coming years.

Determine and Implement an Appropriate Organizational Structure
The University Library implemented a new organizational structure (Chart 1). The structure includes seven departments addressing functional library processes and services. In addition, two staff officer positions were created in the dean's office, one for grants and university relations (Appendix 1) and one for human resources, to address two important library-wide issues. Federal government document responsibilities were distributed among several departments. Interlibrary loan and document delivery services were combined into the same department and relocated into adjoining space where they can work more closely together. Two departments, Collection Services and Bibliographic Services, undertook some aspects of team-based management which they felt were important to achieve their goals and objectives. Departmental reports are attached in Appendixes 2-8.

In addition, library committees were reorganized to reflect the new goals of the library. A Policy Committee was created with broad representation from throughout the library, to advise the Dean on policy procedures. The Associate Dean and department heads were organized as the Management Committee, responsible for advising the Associate Dean on operational issues related to the library. Several other committees were combined to create larger areas of responsibility to eliminate duplication, and to address the new goals of the library. Committee reports are included in Appendix 9.

Develop and Revise Standards of Knowledge, Skill and Ability For All Job Categories
A significant beginning was made on this particular goal. Expectations for administrators, staff officers, and department heads were drawn up and agreed upon between administration and incumbents. Job assignments for all personnel were reviewed in light of new departmental goals and objectives. Faculty responsibilities were summarized in annual work plans submitted as part of the performance evaluation. Job descriptions for classified and professional personnel were reviewed in light of changing job responsibilities. Where appropriate, new position description questionnaires were completed and jobs were re-evaluated.

Develop and Implement an Equitable System of Rewards
A great deal of attention was paid to providing an equitable system of rewards that recognizes contributions at all levels throughout the library. The administration focused on awards intended to enhance a cooperative, user-centered culture and provide support for creative dissent. To recognize the additional administrative responsibility undertaken by department heads, the library proposed and the university administration approved the granting of an administrative stipend for each department head. Sixteen faculty participated in an equity adjustment intended to make faculty salaries at New Mexico State more competitive with those at peer institutions. Fifteen classified positions were reclassified. The university library initiated a Muchas Gracias award for all personnel. Each month, the winner is selected at random and given a special coffee cup at the monthly staff meeting. The intent is to recognize the good work of all University Library personnel.

Direct Budget/Staff/Time for Human Resources Management and Professional Development
Late in the year, the University Library hired a Human Resources Management Officer. This individual, reporting to the Associate Dean, is responsible for assuring a more cooperative, user-centered culture.

The Promotion and Tenure Committee reviewed five renewals of temporary contracts, two tenure cases and one promotion.

The University Library continues to provide a significant amount of money to support professional development and administrative travel. Professional leave and support was administered by the Leave/Travel Committee. In addition, a number of workshops, including one on computer law and several sponsored by AMIGOS, were subsidized by the University Library.

Perhaps some of the most exciting development activities are those that occurred within the new departments. Two departments, Access Services and Collection Services, organized day-long retreats for their staff to engage in goal-setting and planning. A significant amount of cross-training was carried out within departments. Volunteers throughout the library were trained in providing reference desk support at the New Library. The end result of all these activities has been a significant enlargement of work responsibilities and, in some cases, job enrichment.

Engage in Marketing Research
Several promising beginnings were made in the area of marketing research. Visits were made to four departments (Criminal Justice, Government, Language and Linguistics, Sociology and Anthropology). In these no-agenda meetings, representatives from library administration and subject specialists met with the faculty to see what library resources and services were considered most important. The results gave library personnel a much improved perspective of department-wide concerns, issues, and needs. These in turn, have been translated to improvements in service. It is expected that these departmental visits will continue on a regular basis.

In addition, the Access Services Department worked with Kevin Boberg, Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration and Economics, to develop a telephone questionnaire that identifies user needs in the areas of circulation, interlibrary loan, and document delivery. This questionnaire will be administered in the fall of 1998 and the results will guide the department as it seeks to improve services. Access Services also developed some bench-marking exercises intended to flow chart operations, undertake time studies, and measure comparative performance for selective services. These bench-marking studies and user surveys will be combined to improve the responsiveness of basic access services of the University Library.

Employ Students in the Library in Support of the University's Mission
The University Library is one of the major student employers at New Mexico State University. We wish to undertake activities in the library which will both improve library performance and the marketability of graduates of NMSU. The library works to improve the performance of students at NMSU. Several library staff participated in the Ace Mentors Program. A New Student Orientation was designed by the Access Services Department to give students a better idea of the range of activities that take place in the library. Library personnel were delighted when one of the library employees received the prestigious American Library Association Spectrum Scholarship to attend library school.

In 1997-98, the University Library undertook a significant enhancement of its people-related activities intended to continue to develop a cooperative, user-centered culture. We achieved some of the objectives under this goal and made significant progress on others. The library organization has been revised to allow more collaboration and appropriate decision-making of all levels throughout the library. Performance expectations are more clear and compensation has been adjusted to more accurately reflect responsibilities and salaries throughout the university and at peer institutions. Human resources management needs have been addressed with the creation of a new position and development activities have been initiated on several new levels. The library has begun to more critically assess user needs in relation to library performance.


The University Library responded proactively to reduced funding, new options for information access through technology, and changing user behavior as it sought to provide scholarly information and knowledge needed by the NMSU community for instruction, research, and service.

Improve and Maintain Core Collections
During the year, the University Library completed work on a significant reduction in paid journal subscriptions. Some 737 journals were dropped, a 14.8 percent reduction in paid printed journals. This drop in the purchase of printed journals has been offset, in part, by the increase in the number of full and partial electronic journals at the University Library to 3,922 titles.

The University Library purchased 14,513 monographs. Including gifts, retrospective purchases and bound journals, 32,187 volumes were added to the library collection which now totals 1,032,970 volumes.

Several initial steps were undertaken to improve and maintain the core collection. Discussions were held with the Faculty Senate Library Committee and the Collection Management Advisory Committee regarding the concept of the core collection, appropriate for supporting current instruction and research. These discussions will continue. In addition, some basic data was identified for determining how users use the collection. Initial work was begun on a formula for allocating resources to purchase library materials . Much more progress will be made in this area as a new position, Assistant Collection Services Librarian, has been filled to focus on the core collection.

Identify and Develop Specialized Collections and Topical Areas
To focus on the specialized area of the border and southwest, an NMSU area of strength, the new organization establishes a department named the Southwest and Border Research Center. This new department incorporates Latin American Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives units. Several beginnings were made to strengthen holdings in the area, including acquisition of the online HAPI Index for Hispanic resources, purchase of the Cinco Punto Press archival materials, the purchase of dissertations on the Border, and the improvement of the New Mexico Fiction Collection. As new personnel are recruited throughout the library, additional leadership will be provided to this new and exciting department.

Develop Means of Identifying, Evaluating, and Acquiring and Preserving Scholarly Information and Knowledge Resources in All Formats
The major activity for this objective was the preliminary market research carried on through the no-agenda meetings with four departments. From these meetings and national trends in librarianship, the library administration has proposed the development of liaison-selector positions to focus on college and department need for both collections and services. We plan to use an arrangement where the same individual will select the material, and will provide research reference, library instruction, and electronic support. As a result of this total oversight, liaison-selectors will be in the best possible position to be able to identify current instructional and research needs of faculty and advanced students, identify appropriate material, and assure delivery of information and knowledge through library collections and electronic access.

Provide Access to Remote Resources
Two task forces carried out work to assure access to remote resources. One group redesigned the library's web pages for easier and more effective access. The second group recommended the purchase of a web front end for the existing online library catalog, and recommended the purchase of major electronic resources, including IDEAL ABI Inform, and others. The result has been an 84.6 percent increase in the use of the library web site in the past year. Several home pages obtained national and international prominence as information sources, including the Latin American home page and LSC311 Information Literacy homepage.

Develop Collaborative Projects for Resource Sharing and Collection Development
The University Library undertook major advances in collaborative projects this year, both within the university and elsewhere. The library arranged for the purchase of major electronic resources through the New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries and the Strategic Alliance of New Mexico Libraries. The library is participating in the National Agricultural Library's AGNIC electronic library project. The library is also involved in significant campus-wide proposals, such as Title III, the NEH Challenge Grant, the Ford Borders program, the Hewlett Packard program and many others. This increased collaboration has allowed the library to achieve a significantly enhanced role on campus and throughout the regional library community. It also has resulted in significantly improved resources in a number of areas. For example, SciSearch, the electronic version of Science Citation Index was purchased through our membership in the Strategic Alliance of New Mexico Libraries. As a result of purchasing through this consortium, we have achieved the best possible subscription price and several important value added tools, such as user profiling, that are not available directly from the producer.

Preserve and Provide Access to the Regions Cultural Heritage and the Record of Human Experience Through Collections, Colloquia and Exhibits
Personnel turnover made it difficult to undertake significant activities in this area during the year. A planned celebration of the library's one millionth volume had to be abandoned. On the other hand, the Library Display Committee created seven exhibits in library lobbies. And a number of units took significant activities on their own. Special Collections had five programs with an average attendance of 50 people. The University Archives mounted five exhibits, several of which toured to other sites. Several members of the library faculty were active in the Humanities Collaborative on campus and participated in their programs and colloquia.

The University Library made significant progress in several areas related to acquiring appropriate information and accessing remote knowledge resources that support the university's land-grant mission. Significant progress was made in developing the Southwest and Border Research Center, providing access to electronic services, and undertaking collaborative initiatives.


The University Library has developed a number of user-focused products, services, processes and systems during this fiscal year. These have included efforts emphasizing both technological and human resources. In addition to serving individuals, there has been a growing emphasis on serving the curricular and research needs of departments.

Organize Resources
The University Library's productivity in organizing resources increased markedly. The number of volumes added increased by 43.9 percent over the previous year to 32,187 volumes. Federal government document titles grew by 7.9 percent to 500,261. The number of electronic journals grew to 3,922 titles. Major parts of the collection were also shifted in the stacks to allow for growth and flexibility in a library which will be technically full when another 70,000 volumes are added. This should give us between one and two years additional growth space before we must either put a cap on collection growth or begin to reduce our small number of reader stations.

Several enhancements were made in terms of organizing resources. Cataloging for the University Library public map collection was completed. The University Library contributed bibliographic records for some electronic resources and for several archival collections to the national database. The Bibliographic Services Advisory Committee recommended links to journal holdings so users will know if print copies are available in the library.

Provide Human Mediation for Access to Information and Collections
The University Library answered 52,131 reference questions, a decrease of 8.8 percent. This reduction was due, in large part, to the reduced number of reference librarians available and the shorter hours of the Reference Desk. We also believe that library instruction may be reducing the need for routine assistance at the point of service. Despite the availability of reference service online, we are concerned that we should be answering more questions electronically.

Several innovations were tried in the area of human mediation this year. A number of classified staff and faculty members from other departments volunteered to undertake training and provide information desk services for several hours a week. This effort has been a vast success, allowing flexibility in terms of staffing and enriching jobs at the same time. Both employee and user comments indicate that this is a very successful program. Certainly it has been key in being able to survive a 20 percent turnover in faculty positions without disastrous reductions in library and information service.

In addition, intercampus delivery of materials has been improved to the point that the average turnaround time is 24 hours. Users are able to pick up interlibrary loans at the Branson Library Circulation Desk at any time the library is open.

Provide Technological Interfaces for Access to Information and Collections
One of the largest technological innovations has been the redesign of the library home page and the related 84 percent increase in homepage use. Linkages have been provided for common services, such as renewing or recalling books, asking reference questions, obtaining reserve information, interlibrary loan and document delivery. We also contracted for a new web-based front end for our existing library catalog which we expect to lead to increased use of the catalog. Two areas, electronic reserve system and user initiated interlibrary loan, have been planned and tested during the year for implementation in 1998-1999. All of these services have been well received by various parts of the university community.

The Border and Southwestern Research Center's index of the Las Cruces Sun-News is proving to be a major technological innovation for the library, the university, and the community. For the first time, users have an opportunity to search an on-line index for southern New Mexico. This is a unique resource of great value to the University which is now being shared broadly in the region.

Develop Appropriate Services for Colleges/Departments that Address the Specialized Scholarly Information Needs of Different Disciplines
The library web pages represent a major improvement in services for departments. The music, education, and Border and Latin America home pages, for example, were heavily used. SciSearch has been a major improvement of library services to departments in the sciences, agriculture, and technology. This essential resource is being heavily used.

Deliver Information Not Owned by the Library
The Access Services Department is undertaking major improvements in delivering material which is available elsewhere through agreements with other libraries and vendors. The library objective in this area is to reduce non-availability and to shorten delivery time so that library users at New Mexico State University have realistic access to scholarly information regardless of its location. This year, the document delivery and interlibrary loan system processed all post-1993 serial requests through document delivery sources, rather than interlibrary loan, to assure copyright compliance. They also continue to order dissertations as appropriate for research needs. These dissertations are then added to the library collection. Significant additional progress will be made in the coming year as planning for user initiated interlibrary loan is implemented. Provided that the user's request matches nothing in our catalog and that the requests meets several other criteria, users will begin to place their own interlibrary orders directly in 1998.

The University Library has made major advancements in providing user-focused products, services, processes, and systems. This is the year that the library main streamed electronic information. Insofar as we can estimate, the number of articles downloaded electronically now roughly equals the number of articles copied in the library. We expect this trend to continue and we plan to continue to lead the trend rather than follow it. The library has also undertaken a number of human-based services that represent the changing user needs brought on by a changing environment. Library personnel are very positive about these changes and will continue to exploit them.


The Library Instructional Program made several new beginnings during the fiscal year. These have made a nationally-recognized program even stronger.

Develop Competencies for NMSU Students/Provide Computer Assisted Instruction
A major emphasis this year was revising the library instruction provided in freshman English courses. In the past, this program has involved librarians teaching a library component to each section of freshman English. With the help of the Department of English, this approach has been revised so that the library trains English department instructors to present the library component of freshman English. The Department of English and the University Library have agreed upon appropriate competencies for freshmen to achieve. The library faculty has revised its web-based tutorial program, Shortcuts, to be more effective with the library instruction component in freshman English.

Offer More Sections of LSC311 Information Literacy
The University Library did offer more sections of LSC311, Information Literacy. This year the library offered three sections in the Fall and three sections in the Spring. Library faculty agreed on the appropriate amount of preparation time for this course. The library continues to receive no additional support for its credit instruction. The University Library is now dedicating the equivalent of more than 1.0 FTE of faculty time to this effort. We believe it is only fair that the university provide income on the basis of the credit hours generated.

Provide More Course-Integrated Library Instruction
The University Library provided 282 course-related instruction sessions with an attendance of 6,481 students during the year. While the number of sessions was down, attendance was virtually the same. Staff turnover is the major reason for the reduced number of sections taught. We expect to increase these in the coming years. The additional time generated by changes in freshman English will make it possible to offer almost twice as many sessions of course-related instruction at the same staffing levels. As selector-liaisons develop stronger relationships with their departments, and as technology advances, we expect to have no trouble in generating a large increase in the number of requests for course-related instruction.

The University Library also continued to co-sponsor the Institute for Technology Assisted Learning (ITAL) project. The library provides roughly 25 percent of the instruction for this course. It is regularly rated as the highlight of the course. Faculty frequently comment that they did not know so much information was available at the library. We would definitely like to expand the ITAL project so that the library can do a better job of telling its story about using information sources as an integral part of instruction.

Provide Electronic Classrooms
No progress was made in providing a second electronic classroom in the library. However, portable computers and portable projectors were purchased for use in the classrooms elsewhere on campus. This will make it possible for library faculty to use Power Point and other similar presentation software when they go out to classes.

The University Library has been very successful in its instructional initiatives and programs. This tradition continues with a number of significant innovations, improvements and enhancements.


The University Library has undertaken a number of activities during this fiscal year to achieve its goal of providing the means and infrastructure for the management and distribution of scholarly information. Significant advances have been made by the Grants and University Relations Officer. New areas of collaboration have been achieved. Groundwork for more realistic support of University Library activities has been laid.

Provide Leadership in All Facets of the Knowledge Infrastructure
The University Library has begun to provide leadership to the university in several areas. A number of discussions have been held within the university on issues like copyright, computer law, and library support. The library continues to participate in the Information Collaborative and several other venues related to the knowledge infrastructure at NMSU.

The University Library has joined the Big Twelve Plus Library Consortium to undertake cooperative ventures that meet our research library needs and which can save the University money by cooperating with nineteen other research libraries in the Midwest and Southwest. The library also initiated discussions with the Association of Research Libraries about being a member of the SPARC initiative to reduce the cost of scholarly information.

The University Library expended $5,397,676 to support library operations and goals. Significant improvements have been made in budget planning and accountability (Table 3).

Perhaps the most significant leadership provided during the year has been in efforts to increase funding for the University Library and create a stable funding base in an environment experiencing extraordinary cost increases. This spring, the students led a successful effort to increase tuition by $200,000 a year to support the library. The administration has temporarily added $300,000 to maintain support. Bills to improve the formula for libraries were introduced in the New Mexico House of Representatives and Senate. As a result of these efforts, no significant cuts have been made in the library budget. An environment has been created for supporting a permanent increase in the library formula funding.

Promote Library Services to the University
The Grants and University Relations Officer has developed a plan for promoting the University Library throughout the university. This plan will be implemented in the 1998-1999 year. The first step in this plan is to change the look and the spirit of the library newsletter, Citations.

In addition, the efforts to assess user needs and to create liaison-selectors contribute directly to the promotion of the library throughout the university. By getting faculty from the library out in the teaching and research units, better communication and collaboration can be achieved.

By cooperating with other information units, such as Computing and Networking, and Distance Education, the library has been able to take its case directly to several traditional audiences. The Computer Law workshop, for example, drew in a number of creators as well as consumers of scholarly information who are vitally interested in the area of copyright.

Strengthen the Technological Information Infrastructure
The University Library has done a great deal to increase its technological infrastructure in the past year. Perhaps most important is our gaining of university support for a new library system. This system will be selected and installed during the 1998-99 fiscal year.

The Systems Office has also purchased a significant amount of additional equipment. This includes portable presentation equipment and software support as well as support for local databases. We have also added 20 additional Personal Computers to replace terminals. This will enhance and reduce the cost of adding our new on-line system.

Maintain Physical Facility
The University Library has maintained physical facilities during the year. We are particularly pleased with the support we receive from the Physical Plant Department, which considers the library as one of its most heavily trafficked areas and therefore important buildings to maintain. Security devices have been obtained and installed in Border and Southwest Research Center areas. An electronic resources laboratory has been planned for the New Library to support the electronic reserves collection. Efforts have been made to complete the conservation laboratory in the Border and Southwest Research Center.

Significant advances have been made in the development of grants. Nine major grants have been prepared during the year and several have been received. Grant writing is an iterative process and it will take some additional time before this program achieves full stride. The beginnings are very promising.

Cultivate Collaborative Projects with the University Faculty, Departments, Colleges, Vendors, Other Libraries, Groups, and Individuals
The University Library has initiated many collaborative projects this year which are documented throughout this report. Of particular importance are our joint efforts with Computing and Networking and the Center for Educational Development on ITAL. Outside the university, our collaboration with NMCAL, the Strategic Alliance and Big 12 Plus, are significant additions to the quality of library and information service.

Progress has been made in assuring the means and infrastructure for the management and distribution of scholarly information through the University Library. The University Library is demonstrating leadership and generating support throughout the university. We are improving our technical infrastructure and maintaining our physical facilities. We are pursuing a significant amount of additional funding through grant opportunities by ourselves, in collaboration with many other groups on campus, and in the general community.


The University Library is fortunate to have undertaken a forward looking strategic planning process two years ago. This process has allowed us to make significant progress on goals of vital interest to the library and the university and, most of all, our users. The plan has allowed us to maintain our progress even when there are internal or external disruptions. The plan is helping us to forge new bonds with our colleagues on and off campus which result in significant improvements in access and services. The library is having difficult discussions that need to take place in order for the role of the library to be advanced and our relevance secured. The library's strategic thrusts, developed as part of the strategic plan, continue to guide how we achieve our goals:

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