Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



Consultants' report for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, March 17, 2016


Libraries everywhere are undergoing tremendous transformation in staffing, services, and collections. With the need to create new programs and services, it is critical that resources are deployed in the most efficient way possible. Library workforces across the country are aging and succession planning is important for libraries to thrive. The University of Nebraska at Lincoln Libraries invited us to review staffing, examine the organizational structure, communication pathways, and general workflows in the DARM and to make recommendations for changes that would improve and enhance service quality, improve productivity, and best align library faculty and staff with organizational priorities and needs. Our experience with a broad array of academic libraries of many types and sizes informs our consulting work, thus enabling us to provide insight and recommendations on best practices. Without exception, the people that we spoke with were frank and open. In February 2016, we spent one and a half days meeting with the Libraries’ administration, the Interim Chair of the Discovery and Resource Maintenance Department (DARM), DARM faculty and Staff, the newly formed Collection Strategies Committee, Library Systems, and the stakeholders who are served by DARM. Our analysis has benefited enormously from the ideas and comments offered by UNL library faculty and staff. These recommendations are interrelated because all aspects of the collections and technical services workflows must work successfully together. However, because we were only on site 1.5 days, we did not have the opportunity to delve deeply into the workflows. As a result, many our suggestions involve establishing a working group or a team to follow up on a process we feel needs closer examination. Like most large research libraries, the content purchased by the UNL Libraries has shifted significantly from print to electronic. However, most of the human resources are still heavily devoted to the print workflows rather than the digital ones. As a very lean organization, making an appropriate transformation from print to digital will be needed in order for the UNL Libraries to operate at peak efficiency and effectiveness.