Thursday, January 5, 2012

Less Bad Budget News

The Southern reports today that the governor is now saying that he hopes to hold funding for education, including higher education, steady, despite his gloomy outlook on the budget over the medium term (an outlook that may in fact not be gloomy enough, according to one Springfield insider). This would be far better news for SIUC than the prior report that state funding might be cut 4.25%.  We will of course have to see what the legislature comes up with--as they seem to wield the real power in this state.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Library Dean Carlson off to Texas A & M

[Update:  The Southern ran a story Friday on Carlson's move, and reports that he is disappointed that 2/3 of our books are still in McLafferty; Carlson is reported to say that failure is due to the lack of state funding for the sixth and seventh floors of the library.]

SIUC's Dean of Library Affairs, David Carlson, is moving on to Texas A & M, the DE reports.  Carlson's departure won't come as a surprise to those in the know (a group I am a marginal member of after having conversations with various librarians on the picket lines), as Carlson lost a major turf battle when Instructional Support Services was transferred to University College.  Now many of the offices housed in Morris are not run by the library; I suppose it is natural that after having overseen the renovation of Morris Carlson may have been irked to find that control over much of the building was given over to another unit. 

Carlson won an award as Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year in 2010, but will be best remembered, at least by this blogger, as the guy who emptied the library of books. Most of our collection remains in McLafferty, which I continue to consider outrageous; while it would have been expensive to return the books, the expense involved was a relative pittance in terms of the overall renovation of the library, and should have been made a major priority from the get go. The new Morris building is admittedly a vast improvement over the old one, and does provide a "campus center" to rival the student center. And of course digital resources are increasingly important, making texts less so. But texts still matter, even old ones, and by consigning them to exile in the vast shed on McLafferty Carlson sent the message to our students that books don't matter.