At the Center’s recent Council meeting, voting members approved a new budget for the coming fiscal year that maintains existing CRL collecting levels and services, but imposes no increase in member dues for that year. This stems from our conviction that collective resources like CRL’s collections are especially critical in times when libraries’ individual means are constrained.
Our belief seems to be confirmed by the recent surge in use of CRL collections. Over the past six months the number of items delivered per ILL requests was greater by 27% than during the same period last year. This may be due in part to the efforts Center staff are making to improve discoverability of CRL resources for faculty and students at member libraries. These efforts have involved more cataloging (145,000 new CRL catalog records for dissertations, NARA sets, and Thai, Hindi, Bengali, and Chinese materials, and Russian popular and political journals since January 2001), and working to better link the CRL collections OPAC with members’ integrated library systems. The surge may also be attributable in part to recent funding cuts and security concerns affecting faculty and graduate students’ travel to study major bodies of primary source materials in situ in other research libraries. Either way, the availability of CRL resources yields local savings.
The corpus of materials available through CRL continues to grow, as indicated by the list of materials recently acquired (see article, below). These new materials now available to CRL members were acquired through the Purchase Proposal Program, in response to nominations from collection development officers and bibliographic specialists at member universities. During the coming year we will further enhance benefits to members by upgrading the Center’s OPAC and restoring some major newspaper subscriptions (see article, below).
We at the Center appreciate the continued participation of member universities in the CRL partnership, and are grateful for the trust that you place in us to make wise use of the funds and the time that you invest. In the months ahead we will endeavor to make this partnership an even more valuable framework to support advanced research.