Opening

The regular meeting of the Richmond Academic Library Consortium (RALC) Board was called to order at 3 pm on October 15, 2020 via Zoom meeting (virtual meeting) by RALC president Nancy Falciani-White.

Present

  • Christopher Richardson (Union Presbyterian Seminary)
  • Suzanne Sherry (John Tyler Community College)
  • Hong Wu (J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College)
  • Kevin Butterfield (University of Richmond)
  • Pamela Foreman (Virginia Union University)
  • Teresa Knott  (Virginia Commonwealth University)
  • Tessa Perry (Virginia State University)
  • Sandra G. Treadway (Library of Virginia)
  • Nancy Falciani-White (Randolph Macon College)
  • Carly Baskerville (Richard Bland College)
  • Michael Rawles (Virginia Commonwealth University)
  • Pattie Sobczak (Virginia Commonwealth University)
  • Will Weaver (J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College)

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved as distributed after it was determined that a quorum was present.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the May 5, 2020, meeting were approved with no changes.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Michael Rawles reported that RALC’s fund balance currently stands at $16,001.15, a number that is higher than previously anticipated.  One reason for this was that neither RALC scholarship was paid out during the last fiscal year.  One recipient had not submitted a request for the funds due to the timing of completing their course work. The other recipient graduated mid-year, and thus did not have any expenses for the second half of the fiscal year.  After a discussion about whether the $1,000 scholarship was meant to be an annual award or divided in half and distributed per semester, a proposal to award the scholarship in full to each recipient was put forward. President Falciani-White called for a vote.  The proposal passed unanimously, with Sandra Treadway abstaining.

Rawles announced that only three member institutions had paid their dues for the current year and that he would be contacting the members whose dues were still outstanding.  He anticipated an additional $4,000 in revenue for the year, with projected expenses amounting to $5,034  ($1,000 to the scholarship recipients, $4,000 for the Boot Camp scheduled for 2021, and $34 in Web hosting fees), which would leave an end of year balance for FY2020-2021 of $14,967.15. 

Committee Reports

Professional Development and Networking Committee:

Committee chair Pattie Sobczak reported that the committee had lost two members in recent months and now stood at only three.  She stated that planning was a challenge given the uncertainty of the progression of the COVID pandemic and that the committee had adopted a “wait and see” approach for the fall with the hope of being able to regroup in January.  The committee would like to hold one event by the end of June if possible and was open to partnering with another group to do so if that made sense.  She also invited Board members to send her suggestions for additional committee members.

Outreach Committee:

Committee chair Will Weaver reported that the committee had not met since last spring but is hoping to meet again in the near future.  He confirmed that the new RALC website was up and running, and that the old site was now offline.  He encouraged Board members to be sure to update any RALC links they might have on their websites to the new ralc.edu address.  He also mentioned that Google searches for RALC were still turning up the former website, but that would correct itself in time as Google indexes were updated.

Weaver stated that the content on the new site was still sparse and he invited Board members to share ideas for new content to be added.  The discussion that followed included suggestions of adding a listing of programs sponsored by the member libraries and professional development opportunities that would be accessible to all.

Old Business

There was no old business. 

New Business

There was no new business.

Announcements

  • Library of Virginia:  With the conclusion of the General Assembly’s special session, the Library has a clear idea of its budget for the year and will be able to fill a few vacant positions knowing that there are no imminent budget reductions.  The Library is currently open four days a week by appointment only but hopes if all goes well, to be able to extend hours early in the new year.  Electronic research and reference assistance and virtual programming have been an important focus of the past eight months and will continue to be. 
  • Randolph-Macon College: Randolph Macon has been back in session this fall with a combination of in-person and online classes, with students able to choose how best to navigate the hybrid options.  The library is open to members of the Randolph-Macon community, but most students are using electronic resources not in-person services. 
  • John Tyler Community College: John Tyler is currently open to the college community four days a week, but there are noticeably fewer students on campus.  The library is proud of the assistance that it has been able to provide to students in bridging the digital divide, which most of them have experienced.  Students have been delighted to be able to borrow laptops and webcams from the library to make online learning possible.  Obtaining a supply of hotspots to supply to students has been a challenge. 
  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College:  Most classes are being offered online only and that is expected to be the case in the spring as well.  The library is open four days a week to students and faculty only.  The library is providing online resources and services, including chat with members of the library staff.  Physical traffic in the building is limited.
  • University of Richmond:  The library is seeing strong useage this semester by students and thus recently expanded hours, adding 10 pm to midnight Sunday through Thursday evenings.  The university has installed tents at various places on campus to provide safe gathering spaces for students and faculty to meet.  The library has completed its implementation of Alma and Primo and has expanded online services and chat.  The Digital Scholarship Lab recently released a new online resource titled Not Even Past: Social Vulnerability and the Legacy of Redlining, which demonstrates how residential segregation has contributed to serious health problems for those affected by redlining.  A search for a new university president has also begun. 
  • Union Theological Seminary:  Classes at Union will be online only for the current academic year and the campus remains closed.  The library has been ramping up its services to support remote learning and distance education, and has been offering virtual reference services. Research in the library building is by appointment only.  The library has been involved in the college’s accreditation process and has been able to hire a new reference librarian.     
  • Virginia Commonwealth University:  VCU Libraries are open again, with a maximum capacity of 800 in Cabell Library and 150 in Tompkins-McCaw.  Demand for in-person use has been low, and Cabell Library has reduced its hours to close at midnight and may look at further reductions soon.  Students have been using the library’s robust online resources and appreciate the library having integrated chat throughout its entire website.  Currently the library is open only to the VCU community, with Special Collections open by appointment.  VCU’s provost will be leaving in June.  The search for a new director for VCU libraries has been put on hold. 
  • Virginia Union University:  VUU is taking a similar approach as many of the other area academic libraries and is open only to staff and the VUU community.  The university has just received approval for several new degree programs (a BS in Health Science, a BS in Hospitality Management, and an MS in Political Science).  These programs will begin in the spring semester, so the library is gearing up to support these new programs.    
  • Richard Bland College: The library is only open to the college community and currently has limited in-person hours.  The campus is fully wired for high-speed wifi access, though, so students are making use of online resources.  The library has experienced staff cuts and now has only two employees, and the staff is no longer able to offer instruction for students in using library resources.
  • Virginia State University: VSU are attending classes remotely and using the library’s online resources but the building has been closed.  The library’s budget was reduced this past semester and evening staff were let go.  The budget cuts were recently restored but there is concern about further reductions in the spring.    

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 pm by Nancy Falciani-White.

Minutes submitted by:Sandra G. Treadway, Secretary

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