News from the Field

University of South Florida Libraries obtain Audubon Florida’s records

The University of South Florida (USF) Libraries have obtained the records of Audubon Florida’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The donation means that USF Libraries is now the repository of the majority of the organization’s records. Since their inception in 1900, Audubon Florida and its affiliates have led the way in environmental conservation and restoration in the state, and have been at the forefront of regulating game hunters, conserving land, and studying the relation of birds to Florida’s precious ecology. The organization formed during an acute environmental crisis, when plume hunters all but wiped out the state’s population of wading birds.

The USF Libraries’ Audubon Florida records include such gems as the daily game warden reports dating back to the 1920s, research notes of Robert Porter Allen concerning the whooping crane in the 1940s, as well as research materials, bird counts, and published reports and research.

The acquisition of these materials represents a new direction for USF Libraries Special Collections, which is actively collecting materials for environmental studies. The Audubon Florida collections are housed in the USF Tampa Library and are open to researchers. Portions of the collections are available in Digital Collections, and more will be digitized in future months. Read more about USF’s Florida environmental collections at http:// lib.usf.edu/fei/.

ACRL sets 2020 legislative agenda

Each year, the ACRL Government Relations Committee, in consultation with the ACRL Board of Directors and staff, formulates an ACRL Legislative Agenda. Drafted with input from key ACRL committees, ACRL leaders, and the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, the ACRL Legislative Agenda is prioritized and focuses on issues at the national level affecting the welfare of academic and research libraries. The ACRL Board of Directors recently approved the 2020 ACRL Legislative Agenda.

The 2020 ACRL Legislative Agenda focuses on four issues that the U.S. Congress has recently taken, or will most likely take, action on in the year ahead: federal funding for libraries, net neutrality, the Affordable College Textbook Act, and consumer data privacy. The agenda also includes a watch list of policy issues of great concern to academic librarians but where there is no pending legislation. Issues on the watch list are: public access to federally funded research, Federal Depository Library Program modernization Act, and deferred action for childhood arrivals/immigration issues.

CARLI statement on the importance of a director in charge of the academic library

At its December 2019 meeting, the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) Board of Directors discussed the issue that some members’ organizations are not filling the library director position when the incumbent leaves, for example, retires, or resigns. The college or university simply “assigns” the library to a campus administrator, like a vice-president or assistant provost, who may have many other responsibilities. Sometimes a mid-level library staff member is named as “in charge” without title or compensation change.

The statement asserts that these assignments erode the effectiveness of the library in many ways, but that also dramatically diminish the ability for the consortium to interact in a meaningful way with the library. As a result, services and programs that could be extended to faculty, staff, and students are never offered or promoted. The discussions led to the release of a statement articulating the importance of having a dedicated, library-focused director, not just for continuity of service, but also for leveraging interlibrary cooperation, and ensuring that the campus investment in the library is optimized by a representative who can advocate for innovation and service excellence. More information, including the text of the statement, is available at www.carli.illinois.edu/membership/directors.

Arcadia grant supports publication of open access monographs at MIT Press

The MIT Press has published its first open access (OA) monographs on the MIT Press Direct platform. Supported by a grant from the Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, the project is part of a larger initiative to explore alternatives to the traditional market-based business model for professional and scholarly works on specialized subjects.

In 2019, the MIT Press received a three-year $850,000 grant from the Arcadia Fund to perform a broad-based monograph publishing cost analysis and to develop and openly disseminate a durable financial framework and business plan for OA monographs. As part of the project, the press will also undertake a pilot program to implement the resulting framework for scholarly front and backlist titles.

At the conclusion of the Arcadia grant, the MIT Press will openly share a robust, blended OA model that the university press community can adopt and adapt. MIT Press Direct is available at https://direct.mit.edu/books.

Project MUSE announces MUSE in Focus: Contextualizing Pandemic

Project MUSE has been working closely with participating nonprofit publishers who have graciously offered to make their scholarly content temporarily available for free on its platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. MUSE in Focus: Contextualizing Pandemic is a small sampling of temporarily free scholarship from Project MUSE publishers on the broad topic of pandemic and its effects throughout history, in culture, and on humanity as a whole.

More than 80 of MUSE’s participating publishers have temporarily made all or some of their content freely available on the Project MUSE platform, in response to the crucial need for remote access to reliable, vetted teaching and research materials during the crisis. More than 25,000 books and 300 journals are now available to any user worldwide, with no restrictions on access or usage.

MUSE in Focus: Contextualizing Pandemic is available at https://about.muse.jhu.edu/muse-in-focus/context-pandemic/.

New ACRL Framework for Access Services Librarianship

The ACRL Board of Directors approved a new Framework for Access Services Librarianship at its 2020 spring virtual meeting. Consisting of four sections, the framework defines access services, suggests competencies for access services librarians and managers, examines marketing and outreach of access services, and suggests opportunities for professional engagement for access services librarians.

The new framework is a culmination of a three-year effort by access services professionals across the United States to define and describe a framework for access services librarianship. The ACRL Access Services Interest Group, established in July 2016, produced this work through a multistep process. The framework is of interest to academic librarians both inside and outside of access services as it intends to help shape, define, and explain the scope of this branch of librarianship as it continues to provide essential services and oversight of core library functions in 21st-century college or research libraries.

The new Framework for Access Services Librarianship is available in the Standards, Guidelines, and Frameworks section of the ACRL website at www.ala.org/acrl/standards/alphabetical.

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