RLI 283 The Eaton Collection and UC Riverside Libraries 23 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2013 Budget Alignment One of the strategies the libraries have used to communicate the value of the preservation and access to special collections is to have the head of Special Collections and Archives report directly to the university librarian, rather than to an AUL for collections and scholarly communications. This decision was made early on in the tenure of the recently retired university librarian Ruth Jackson because, in the absence of a full-time development officer, she felt it was essential that the head of Special Collections and Archives be an active member of the libraries’ newly established development team. This strategy has allowed the Office of the University Librarian to develop funding guidelines and policies to protect the Eaton Collection during periods of fiscal constraint within the UC system. During fiscal year 2010, for example, the university’s budget reduction target ranged from 6 to 10 percent across all departments in order to meet the campus-wide target reduction of $45 million. During budget hearings for the libraries, the question was raised by a faculty member of the Budget Advisory Committee on the wisdom of exempting the Eaton acquisitions budget from cuts, suggesting that science fiction was somewhat ephemeral as compared to research needs in other major disciplines. The libraries’ prompt response was that attainment of recognition as a world-class collection is not easily accomplished and that the mandate from the chancellor was that star and unique programs should be targeted for continued investment to further strengthen UC Riverside’s national profile. Having Special Collections and Archives report directly to the university librarian has also provided an opportunity to profile the uniqueness of Eaton and other special collections, not only in the university community, but also with the central Development Office to insure collaborative planning for fundraising initiatives. Special collections provide unique opportunities to attract donors. Mainstreaming Workflows Interdepartmental guidelines for both the Collection Development Department and the Cataloging and Metadata Services Department document that Eaton, as one of the libraries’ most important collections, will continue to be maintained at Level-5 in the collection profile. This focus has been maintained to fulfill the libraries’ role as a unique center for preserving and making accessible, in perpetuity, the genre of science fiction. The libraries have also promoted the idea that the revitalized Eaton Conference should not be viewed as a “special collections” activity but rather as a library-wide event with the full support of the library administration. The first call for volunteers for the conference in 2008 received a remarkable response from staff across the libraries. Conference participation by library staff has been one of the best internal tools for communicating the value of special collections and their contributions to the library image. Staff view the conference as a fun event to support, and it has high visibility within the libraries, the university at large, and among the rapidly growing number of science fiction scholars. Processing and cataloging work flows developed by the head of Metadata and Technical Services to reduce the library backlog directly impacted the accessibility of the Eaton Collection. The backlog reduction plan implemented the concept that gifts—many of which were Eaton materials along with government documents and other unprocessed materials—would be mainstreamed into the
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