Re: Invoking Cloture (Again) on "Serials Crisis = Library Underfunding -- Albert Henderson Stephen Clark 24 Sep 2002 12:52 UTC

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 16:36:43 -0400
From: Albert Henderson <>
Subject: Re: Invoking Cloture (Again) on "Serials Crisis = Library
   Underfunding -- Dan Lester

on Fri, 20 Sep 2002 Dan Lester <> wrote:

 > SC> -------- Original Message --------
 > SC> Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 17:50:51 -0400
 > SC> From: Albert Henderson <>


 > SC>         The function of libraries, selecting, conserving,
 > SC>         and disseminating the work of publishers is
 > SC>         also essential to productivity in research and
 > SC>         education.
 > Absolutely.  And we continue to do that to the best of our ability
 > with the resources that we're given.  We DO continue to fight for more
 > resources.  When you come up with the magic method for getting
 > legislators to give us more money, let me know.  We'll jointly patent
 > it and we'll both retire fat and sassy, and have plenty of money to
 > give to our favorite libraries.

        Well, it's not magic. Physicists, biologists,
        and and others fight for more money successfully.
        For example, the American Institute of Physics
        Bulletin of Science Policy News (Sept. 6, 2002)

   The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
   (PCAST) has prepared a draft letter to President Bush urging
   significant increases in federal research funding for physical
   sciences and some fields of engineering. The letter follows
   the release of a PCAST report recommending "the R&D budget be
   adjusted upward for the physical sciences and engineering,
   bringing them collectively to parity with the life sciences
   over the next 5 budget cycles."

        Physical science R&D has been getting significant
        increases. I would guess they will get another.

        I found this news item is particuarly frustrating
        and ironic. PCAST was substituted for the advisory
        board described in the Science Policy Act of
        1976 (PL 94-242). The President's Committee on
        Science and Technology (PCST) envisioned was to be
        organized on disciplinary lines (rather than being
        loaded with corporate executives as PCAST is). One
        of the specialists would be an expert in
        dissemination. Further, Congress specified that PCST
        consider "the role to be played by the private sector
        in the dissemination of information."

        That may well be the last time the word
        "dissemination" was used in the science policy

        Like physicists, librarians would be well served
        by parity with other research spending. Do
        librarians have a "science policy" advocacy? Is
        there even a science policy statement?

 > SC>         Why would you oppose a demand for universities
 > SC>         to spend 6 percent of their budgets on libraries
 > SC>         as they once did?
 > I certainly don't oppose fighting for more money.  However, going to
 > an administrator or legislator and asking for a doubled budget would
 > get me laughed out of his office.

        But if you said you knew how to cut library spending
        in half, you would have their full attention.

 >                                    But I'd certainly ask for more, do
 > participate in our library association Legislative Day, participate in
 > the association, and so forth.  So far the results have been dismal,
 > but we keep tilting at the windmill, and will undoubtedly do so until
 > our last days.

        Advising legislators on these matters would be
        the job of ACRL, ALA, ARL, SLA, MLA, and so on.
        ALA/ACRL has a special office in Washington DC.
        SLA is in Washington. ARL, which has an office in
        Washington, collected data on the declining budget
        allocations for libraries since 1980. What did
        it do about it? What has any of them done to
        promote recognition of science libraries as
        essential members of R&D efforts (therefore
        spending)? Like Nero, library leadership has
        fiddled while library spending was consumed by
        every other interest group.

        Until "spending parity" is on the associations'
        official agendas, libraries and the career positions
        of academic librarians will continue to deteriorate.

        Thanks for your comments.

        Best wishes,

Albert Henderson