The modern university library is not simply a place with a collection of materials. It must be a gateway to information and cultural memory in many formats and with multiple points of access. It serves the community of learning as a means by which connections are made, both literally and figuratively, between and among ideas and people. The Montana State University - Bozeman (MSU) Libraries serves as a primary conduit for information exchange, service provision, resource acquisition, and instructional support in the promotion of the teaching, research, and outreach missions of the University. It is the University's intellectual commons.

The library strives to fulfill its mission by integrating personal performance expectations and achievements into its organizational goals. The library measures progress towards its goals and contributions with the aid of its own Mission statement:

·         The Mission of the University library is to serve as the primary center for information service, resources, and instruction in support of the teaching, research, and outreach missions of Montana State University - Bozeman. The fundamental principle underlying the MSU mission is integration: The integration of teaching, research/creative activities, and outreach so that each activity informs and enhances the others, with particular emphasis on bringing students into the research and creative processes, and applying research/creative activities and teaching to the University's outreach services and programs.

It is with this spirit of integration and connectivity that the library and its staff serve the University community.

The MSU Libraries includes the libraries on four (4) campuses: MSU - Bozeman, MSU - Billings, MSU - Northern (Havre), and the College of Technology in Great Falls.



Organizational goals, a strategic plan, and clearly stated policies and procedures help to guide the on-going review and evaluation of programs, services, and performance [Appendix 5-A, Library Mission and Goals; and Appendix 5-B,  Strategic Plan]. The Libraries' formal goals address the following:

·     Instructional and informational service provision
     Collections and information resources
     The quality of faculty and staff
     Physical facilities and technological capabilities
     Scholarly communication
     Cooperation and coordination with other information providers and libraries
     Outreach to primary and secondary users with a particular emphasis upon service to the
         Native American community of Montana

These goals inform and inspire the daily work of individuals, function-oriented teams, and the organization as a whole. The faculty and the Dean collaborate in the preparation, review, and on-going implementation of these defining documents. New initiatives, proposed services or activities, and the performance of individuals are all considered in light of The Libraries' stated goals and plans.

Today's library requires a strong electronic infrastructure in order to provide connectivity to the library, and from the library, to the world of information resources. In addition to being integral to the functioning of the library, this infrastructure reaches into the classrooms and offices of students and faculty. At MSU, the Dean of Libraries reports to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, while the administration of the Information Technology Center (ITC), the Burns Telecommunication Center (BTC), and other technology-based information services is a function of the Vice Provost for Outreach and Executive Director of Information Services. Although the lines of authority for these two (2) important areas of University services are separate at MSU, the Dean of Libraries and the Director of the ITC have an excellent working relationship. The relationship extends across both organizations so that the staffs of the ITC and The Libraries share the same building, work closely together on cross-functional working groups and committees, and share their expertise and their distinct professional cultures so that both organizations benefit. While the two (2) areas are distinct administratively, they are mutually dependent and require close cooperation in planning and daily operations. The operations and goals of one (1) affects the ability of the other to fulfill its work and its mission within the University.


The ITC of today is vastly different in spirit and scope from that of 1990. The President convened a ten (10)-member Information Services Task Force in September 1994. The final report and recommendations of that task force resulted in organizational and cultural changes in the provision of information technology for the campus [Exhibit 5.01, Information Services Task Force Report]. Thus, information systems and services at MSU have evolved in response to the changing needs of the academic, research, service, and administrative functions of the institution. ITC today strives to be responsive and proactive in providing equipment, electronic resources, and service to the campus community. The MSU data network allows computer-based services related to the institution's Mission to be delivered wherever there is Internet connectivity. The purpose of ITC is to keep the campus community "connected" to one another, to other campuses, and to the world with state-of-the-art technology and professional expertise. ITC's Mission Statement captures the spirit of the organization very well:

·         The Information Technology Center is a service-oriented organization committed to excellence in promoting and delivering information technology services and resources to the Montana State University community, and facilitating their use. We are dedicated to advancing the University Mission of education, research and public service through collaborative partnerships with our clients. We support our clients. efforts to respond to a dynamic environment by maintaining our core competencies and acquiring new technical skills, knowledge, and resources to share with our clients.



Information resources, structure, and policies

A comprehensive policy statement guides both long-term plans and daily decisions associated with information resource development in all formats [Exhibit 5.02, Information Resource Management Policy]. It helps to guarantee quality despite limited resources. It is revised and updated on a regular basis given the changing nature of the information environment. The policy serves as a template for policies for the other MSU campus libraries to further facilitate coordinated information resource development. The MSU policy statement has been approved and acknowledged by the Montana State Library in compliance with State Library Commission requirements for a comprehensive collection policy as a prerequisite for grant funding eligibility. The internationally accepted conspectus structure and collection assessment methods are used to characterize the collections and to formalize and define collection goals relative to programs and degrees. A complete assessment was conducted in 1990 and a revised assessment that will incorporate the complementary aspects of library resources on all four (4) of the MSU campuses is planned for the year 2000.

Information resources are developed in a collaborative manner by engaging departmental faculty in the identification and evaluation of these resources. Thus, despite a limited number of librarians, The MSU Libraries has developed a model for collection development that draws upon the subject and discipline expertise within the departments. Each year, at the request of the Dean of Libraries, a departmental library representative is appointed as the official liaison with The Libraries for each department. [Exhibit 5.03, Library Representatives Responsibilities and Current Representatives]. These individuals receive weekly electronic lists of new materials to be shared with their colleagues. They also receive notices of other resources that might be of particular interest within their departments. They evaluate materials on review and communicate their opinions to the Information Resources Development Librarian. Dialogues are initiated with appropriate departments on subjects such as electronic databases and serials review through the library representatives. These individuals provide yet another means by which The Libraries can communicate with the departments.  

Requests for purchases can be made in a variety of ways, both formally and informally. Students and visitors usually still use the suggestion box in the main lobby. Additionally, there is an electronic form accessible via The Libraries' Web page. The majority of requests for purchase considerations, however, arrive in more informal ways. Notes, highlighted catalogs, and other informal communications arrive on a daily basis via campus mail from library representatives and other faculty; requests are sent via e-mail, telephone and in-person to the Information Resources Development Librarian. All requests, whether from students or faculty, are evaluated based upon the following:

·         Existing collections

·         Policy considerations

·         Curriculum issues

·         Financial resources

·         Quality of the item requested

The undergraduate educational efforts of the institution are given priority in most instances. Graduate and research efforts are supported more heavily through document delivery and interlibrary loan efforts. While this is not an ideal arrangement, it is the most efficient strategy given the resources available. With 10,000 undergraduate students to serve, we believe this philosophy meets the most needs of the most individuals. This is not a value judgment. The needs of graduate students and the research needs of faculty are not less important than the work of undergraduates; it is strictly a pragmatic decision. Annual purchasing of information resources would need to double in order to bring the collections in all formats to parity with comparable institutions offering similar degree programs and research initiatives funded at the same level through grants and contracts (G&C).  Details and statistics regarding collections, acquisitions, and expenditures are located in Exhibit 5.04, Acquisitions Data.

In addition to the Information Resources Development Librarian, two (2) other librarians devote 25% of their time to two (2) specific areas of collection development. electronic journals and electronic databases. For these resources, considerable evaluation and comparison is necessary in order to make appropriate decisions that complement existing resources. Other librarians are expected to be involved in collection development as a regular responsibility of their assignments, but without specific subject responsibilities with the exception of the Special Collections Librarian whose area of responsibility is defined by the section of the collection policy for Special Collections. Reference librarians are also asked to participate in collection projects as needed.

Despite the fact that the University has been unable to provide start-up funds for new faculty except in exceptional cases, The Libraries has made an effort to assist new faculty. Since 1994, The Libraries has offered new tenure track faculty the opportunity to identify and request up to $500 worth of monographs or other non-serial resources to enhance their teaching. The Libraries recognizes that the collections may not include important texts or resources required to support course content when a new person teaches either a new course, or an existing course with new emphasis or focus. Each individual instructor will have specific needs and the library has endeavored to aid new faculty by acquiring materials to enable them to focus their teaching on appropriate resources even if MSU did not previously have such items. In some instances, the Dean of the College of Letters and Science has matched the new faculty money provided by The Libraries so that $1,000 has been made available to respond to the start-up instructional needs of new faculty. Each year more than 75% of new faculty members take advantage of this program, which includes the opportunity for an individual orientation session regarding library resources and services. Exhibit 5.05, Faculty Participating in New Faculty Library Funding, provides a listing of individuals who have participated.

Although the resources are limited because of inadequate budgets, the mechanisms for faculty and student input are varied and both formal and informal. By relying upon the expertise of the departmental library representatives, it is possible to receive expert opinion from the departments with a minimum of red tape. The continuing collaboration regarding library resources has provided a venue for educating faculty about publishing and scholarly communication issues, while enabling the library to benefit from the discipline-specific expertise of the departmental faculty. This structure encourages collaboration and communication and allows The Libraries to be as responsive as possible within the limits established by funding constraints.

Collections for undergraduate support

The Libraries' collection of 600,000 volumes and 3,200 current serial subscriptions are almost adequate to support an undergraduate curriculum, but the shear number of undergraduates in need of resources places too heavy a demand upon these materials. Coupled with insufficient funding and decreasing buying power [Exhibit 5.06, Buying Power Graph], wear and tear upon existing materials results in a continually diminishing collection despite increasing student enrollments. The diminishing effectiveness of the existing collection is based upon professional judgment and experience, anecdotal evidence, national standards [Exhibit 5.07, MSU Compared to National Standards for College and Research Libraries], and student and faculty survey results. The surveys of graduating seniors (1995-98), as illustrated in Table 5-01, show that only 65% of those responding across the four (4)-year period ranked the library holdings as "effective to very effective."


Table 5-01



Percent of those responding

Class of


Very Satisfied/



Very Dissatisfied


Library holdings

Library services






Library holdings

Library services






Library holdings

Library services






Library holdings

Library services





These results contrast with the students. evaluations of the services of The Libraries' Eighty percent (80%) ranked the services as "very effective to effective" [Exhibit 2.30, Senior Surveys].

The Faculty Survey, conducted by the Office of the Provost in December 1998, showed an evenly divided (46% yes to 46% no) regarding the ability of the libraries' information resources to support undergraduate instruction [Appendix 1-K, Faculty Survey]. Additionally, one of the clear findings of the assessment of the core curriculum and its courses conducted in 1997 was that the faculty believes that the library holdings are inadequate to support research by large classes [Exhibit 2.27, Report on the Core Curriculum Survey].  The lack of library resources was a theme throughout the various sections of the survey with particular emphasis in areas of the humanities, social sciences, and multicultural/global courses. Although sometimes these are only perceived inadequacies, they affect the types of assignments given and the expectations faculty have about student performance. While services and information resources are responsive to the University's educational programs and are developed and managed as a reflection of a comprehensive policy with opportunities for faculty collaboration, funding is not adequate to purchase enough materials for an undergraduate body of over 10,000 students. Inadequate funding over many years has compounded the effects of insufficient purchases and the resources that do exist deteriorate at an accelerated rate and are often not available because of the number of individuals needing them. This lack is partially being alleviated by a concerted effort to supply full-text electronic databases for appropriate undergraduate journal literature. These resources, however, do not replace the monographic literature that is essential in most disciplines.

Collections for graduate study and research

In terms of quantity or depth of coverage for graduate and faculty research, the collections are inadequate by any measure. The faculty responses on the Faculty Survey clearly indicate that more than 70% of those responding believe the library holdings are inadequate to support graduate instruction, graduate research, and faculty research/creative activities. While the survey results do not distinguish between quality and quantity of materials, there is every indication that the quality of what is held is not at issue.   This is evidenced by all professional measures and the amount of interlibrary loan requests from other libraries to borrow the MSU holdings. The difficulty is the lack of quantity, breadth, and depth of coverage necessary to support the inquiries and research of students in more than fifty (50) graduate programs, faculty research/creative activity, and funded research of approximately $50,000,000.

The stark contrast between adequate and inadequate library resources can be seen when comparing MSU's library budget with institutions having funded research programs at comparable levels to MSU's program. The opinion of the faculty can be further verified by comparing the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) averages to those of MSU, as shown in Table 5-02.


Table 5-02



ARL Average

MSU 1997

Ratio of items loaned: borrowed



Percent of library materials expenditures of total expenditures



Percent of salary expenditures of total expenditures



Percent of operating expenditures of total expenditures



Percent of serials expenditures of materials expenditures



Unit price for serials



Total expenditures per faculty



Volumes held per faculty



Paid serial subscriptions per faculty



Monographs purchased per faculty



Library materials expenditures per faculty



Serial expenditures per faculty



Total expenditures per student



Volumes held per student



Paid serial subscriptions per student



Monographs purchased per student



Ratio of students: library staff members



Library materials expenditures per student



Serials expenditures per student



With book and journal titles, as well as expenditures at 50% or less of the baseline ratios for research libraries, the opinion expressed in the faculty and professional staff surveys [Appendix 1-M, Professional Staff Survey] that there are "inadequate library resources/space/funding" is confirmed. Approximately 20% of the faculty, when asked what they like least about MSU, included comments about the library and inadequate resources. In addition, over 70% do not agree that these resources adequately support their own research/creative activities. Professional staff also commented upon the lack of library resources to support their work.

For the last fifteen (15) years, MSU Libraries, like many academic libraries, has struggled in the face of escalating journal prices and relatively static material's budgets. This has resulted in a methodically relentless paring of titles from the library's subscription list. Since 1985 more than 1,200 titles have been canceled, including ninety-seven (97) titles for the 1999 subscription year [Exhibit 5.08, 1999 Serial Titles Canceled]. Data have been closely monitored from Interlibrary Loan traffic so as to discern inexpensive titles that are in high demand. Such titles have been routinely added to the subscription list. During the last five (5) years, serials cuts have been primarily targeted based on the intersection of four (4) criteria:

·         High cost

·         High inflation

·         Foreign origin

·         Not essential to undergraduate education

This strategy has hit researchers and graduate students in the science/technologies areas particularly hard. At the same time, paradoxically, the University's productivity in winning research G&C has doubled [Exhibit 5.09, Increase in Research Funding Compared to Journal Cancellations].

Electronic resources

The library has established a Web presence in a strong and distinctive way in order to meet the needs of on- and off-campus students and faculty, including agriculture extension agents and USDA agriculture experiment station personnel. The Libraries' Web site is the access point for all library resources and services [Exhibit 5.10, MSU- Bozeman Libraries Web Site]. The site provides access to the catalog (Sirsi system) with the holdings of the libraries of the four (4) MSU campuses, three (3) tribal colleges (Little Big Horn College, Dull Knife Memorial College, and Stone Child College), one (1) public community college (Dawson Community College), and one (1) private college (Rocky Mountain College). It also provides access to:

·         Electronic databases

·         Electronic journals

·         Library faculty and staff information (including faculty vitae)

·         General information such as hours of operation

·         Policies

·         Instructional program information

·         Web pages designed by librarians for instructional support

·         Electronic reserves

·         Electronic forms for reference, interlibrary loans, and acquisition requests

·         World Wide Web information resources including connections to other libraries

The Renne Library building is wired with optical fiber. This very strong electronic infrastructure is consistent with an equally strong instructional program that is geared to preparing our faculty and student clientele to be as independent as possible in gaining access to and using information resources regardless of medium or format. The Libraries has gone to a lease program (beginning with FY99) for its desktop computer equipment, whereby one-third of the equipment will be cycled in/out each year in order to assure a state-of-the-art electronic environment. The library regularly competes for student computer fee funding for equipment to support access by students to all types of electronic resources, and has been very successful in this process to enhance student access to information resources [Exhibit 5.11, Student Computer Fee Awards to The Libraries].

As part of the coordination of information resources and combined negotiation and contractual efforts, database resources have been licensed for all MSU campuses whenever possible and/or appropriate. Those specialized databases that support graduate and faculty research for programs unique to Bozeman are licensed only for Bozeman clientele. Both library faculty and departmental faculty, through departmental library representatives, are involved in the evaluation and recommendations for electronic resources of all types including electronic journals.

The contents and the subject matter are evaluated for all electronic journals whether free or through a paid subscription. Links are established only for those that are deemed appropriate for MSU. A License Review Committee that includes the University Legal Counsel and the Director of the ITC  meets when licenses with unusual or unique terms are to be negotiated. The management and evaluation of electronic resources has had an evolving structure and organization. This is not unique to MSU, nor is it likely that the present structure will continue since the marketplace and the technology is constantly changing, requiring changes in the customer environment.


Librarians regularly collaborate with other faculty members in designing and conducting library instruction for courses and programs in all disciplines across campus.  These class sessions are usually presented by the librarian, but only as an integral part of a course taught by a faculty member and within the regular discipline rubric. Between 1995 and 1999 the number of library instruction sessions conducted by librarians increased 160%, and the number of students reached increased 135% [Exhibit 5.12, Library Instruction Statistics Since 1990].  In the 1998/99 academic year the libraries' instructional program had 4,849 students in attendance in some type of library instructional session [Exhibit 5.13, Worksheets, Handouts, Guides, Web pages, Etc., for Library Instruction]. This represents almost one-half of the total student body. Although some freshmen are likely to be involved in more than one (1) such session, increasing numbers of upper division sessions are offered as faculty recognize the importance of discipline-specific information skills, and the value to students of understanding the character and nature of the information culture within their chosen discipline. Library instruction classes are most frequently taught in the electronic classroom located on the lower level of Renne Library. This 16-station, 32-seat classroom provides the ability for librarians to demonstrate electronic resources of all types including World Wide Web sites. The student stations enable hands-on practice at the time of instruction, but the level or degree of access at individual workstations can be controlled from the teaching station. Librarians develop worksheets, handouts, guides, discipline or course-specific Web pages, and bibliographies as appropriate for the teaching/learning goals of each class involved in library instruction. Each librarian brings her or his special subject knowledge and teaching skills to this collaboration.

In addition, librarians have developed a semester-long one (1)-credit course with a library rubric. This course, LIBR 221 - Information Literacy, has been taught since 1996 by a variety of different librarians at the Bozeman campus and has been adapted by the librarians at the MSU College of Technology in Great Falls [Exhibit 5.14, LIBR 221 Information - Syllabus and Evaluation Summaries]. The course has received high evaluations, although, with the very limited elective credits available within most degree programs and the recently lifted credit cap, few students have the program flexibility to allow participation. The Libraries is now making a concerted effort to market the course with hopes to improve enrollments. With the increasing emphasis on critical thinking and information skills, this elective course could be more and more valuable to students in all programs. The course enhances a student's ability to identify and evaluate information within any and all disciplines. One (1) of the findings and recommendations of the Core Curriculum Survey, reported for the general criteria, was to make learning to use the library a goal of the University. This should be viewed as a foundation skill, perhaps embedded in a freshman seminar. Skills would include searching for, acquiring, accessing, and applying information in relation to problem solving.. Components of The Libraries' course might well serve to fulfill this recommendation. The existing credit cap, however, does make it difficult to consider the implementation of any requirement for information literacy despite the ever-more obvious need for these skills.

Librarians also contribute to the teaching/learning enterprise of the University by being involved as instructors in a number of programs. Library faculty have taught in the University Honors Program (UHP), the Department of History and Philosophy, the Education Department, the General Studies program, and the College of Letters and Science. Two (2) library faculty members have affiliate appointments in other colleges, and librarians also serve on graduate committees [Exhibit 5.15, Vitae of Library Faculty]. Librarians work both formally and informally with students and faculty to facilitate the teaching-learning efforts on and off campus. The Distance Education Coordinator librarian is particularly involved in the off campus or distributed/distance education efforts.   

The 1990 NASC accreditation team recommended that the library should be actively involved in the evaluation of undergraduate and graduate course and program proposals. This recommendation has been partially remedied with the appointment of the Information Resources Librarian as an ex-officio and non-voting member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee (UGSC). There is still no direct role for The Libraries in the graduate course approval process nor in the graduate degree program evaluation process. For new graduate degree programs, departments may ask The Libraries for assistance in explaining the information resources available in the discipline. The library does not, however, provide the University administration with an independent assessment of the existing resources and the initial or continuing financial commitment necessary to provide appropriate levels of information for the proposed level, size, and emphasis of any given graduate or undergraduate program. Therefore, there are no budgetary connections between new programs and library resources. The forms for new course proposals simply ask the proposing department/faculty member to respond to the question "Are library resources adequate?" and the answers provided are generally either "yes," or "library resources are not needed," or more recently, "World Wide Web resources will be used." It is very rare for a new course proposal to indicate any attempt at changing, improving or working with the library regarding resources for a new course before the course can be offered.

For new graduate programs, the proposal requires an explanation of the library resources that will be needed along with those that already exist. Each department is free to address this question without any assessment by the library nor any indication of the amount of funding necessary both initially and on an on-going basis to support a new graduate program. [Exhibit 2.06, New Undergraduate Course Request; and Exhibit 2.10, New Graduate Course Request Form]. This is another contributing factor to the inability of library resources to keep pace with graduate and research initiatives.

Reference services

The reference or information desk at Renne Library is staffed by library faculty all but ten (10) of the 98.5 hours per week that the library building is open during a regular semester week. Here, as at other academic libraries, the number of contacts at the reference desk has steadily declined. In the past five (5) years, the contacts have declined 48% over the previous five (5)-year period [Appendix 5-C, Use Statistics for Renne and Creative Arts Libraries]. The reduction in traffic at the reference desk, as well as the decrease for in-house pick-up counts (items left on tables but not checked out that require re-shelving) is attributable in part, we speculate, to rising student comfort levels with an ever-increasing array of electronic bibliographic and full-text resources. The enhanced and expanded library instruction program may also be contributing to an improved sense of information self-sufficiency for students. We know that a decision by the reference faculty to no longer require that Speech Communication 110 (a large-sectioned core course) library worksheets be checked at the reference desk is a significant factor in the drop in reference desk contacts. This decision, however, freed librarians to work with students on more in-depth and intensive reference interactions and library instruction sessions. While the number of contacts are down, the quality of each contact and the amount of one-on-one instruction may have increased in length and depth.

Circulation and access

The Renne Library is open 98.5 hours per week during regular terms, and the Creative Arts Library (CAL) is open 78 hours per week [Appendix 5-D, Library Hours]. During finals week, the library remains open until 2:00 AM to provide additional quiet study hours. There are written policies governing all aspects of circulation and access issues, including fine policies and interlibrary loan service eligibility [Exhibit 5.16,Circulation Policies]. The shared Sirsi system is facilitating the development of consistent circulation policies and Web site structures for all four (4) MSU libraries. This coordination will make it possible for users to be "recognized" at any one of the campuses as MSU students or faculty members with library privileges that are not associated with a particular location. At the same time, users are able to use MSU's electronic library resources from any access point and at any of the four (4) libraries.

A number of policy changes were made during the past year. These changes were in response to the concerns of both graduate and undergraduate students as expressed through continued complaints, student government discussions with the Dean and Associate Dean, comments in the suggestion box, exit interviews of graduate students with graduate deans, and the experiences of the circulation staff in negotiating access for students when materials are so often unavailable. These changes were made to improve student access to limited resources. The policies have proven to be unpopular with some faculty, although the changes were made in consultation with the Library Committee, which includes faculty representation from each college [Exhibit 5.17, Library Committee]. The changes include a single-day circulation period for journals. The reasons for this change (from a three (3)-day circulation period) were two (2)-fold: to make it easier for faculty and graduate students in particular to find the journals they need on the shelves, and to reduce the damage and loss of journals and journal contents. This change, along with a new overdue fine policy that includes faculty, has resulted in numerous complaints. Without fines, many faculty were unresponsive to overdue notices or recall requests for other patrons, and thus materials were out of the collections indefinitely. The fine policy for faculty is resulting in more materials being available for use on a regular basis by students.

The Libraries is also enforcing its policy of limited renewals so that materials must be returned to the collections at least once a year rather than residing indefinitely in faculty offices. Together these changes enable The Libraries to make the most of limited resources and provide better access for all faculty members and both graduate and undergraduate students. The Libraries will continue to monitor the ways in which these and other use policies affect access by students and faculty to The Libraries' resources. Changes will be made as circumstances warrant.

Traditional interlibrary loan and commercial document delivery are both utilized to acquire materials for students and faculty; there are no charges for these services. The four (4) MSU libraries provide intralibrary loan amongst the four (4) campuses and the MSU Libraries are full participants in the international interlibrary loan network that serves libraries as a means to augment and enhance local resources. In an effort to provide high-demand and inexpensive journals within the collections while continuing to provide free interlibrary loan resources to meet specialized research needs, borrowing statistics are regularly analyzed for the appearance of inexpensive journal titles or other in-demand items that might be purchased by the library less expensively than they are borrowed. Approximately 220 inexpensive (less than $100 each) subscriptions have been added to The Libraries' holdings during the past four (4) years [Exhibit 5.18, Inexpensive Journals Added], so that the need for such titles can be met locally while expensive journals with a limited local audience can be provided on an on-demand basis. Also, short back-runs of some inexpensive but high-demand titles have been acquired in microfiche. These strategies have proven to be effective, efficient, and economical. The acquisition of full-text electronic journals, both current and retrospective, and the expanding availability of full-text articles in indexing databases is helping to reduce requests from undergraduates that have put undue pressure on interlibrary loan and document delivery services.

In spring 1999, The Libraries changed its bibliographic utility from the Western Libraries Network (WLN), a northwest organization, to the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), thus moving from access to only 12,000,000 bibliographic records to more than 40,000,000 bibliographic records. The Libraries contracted with the Bibliographical Center for Research (BCR), a service provider located in Colorado, for OCLC services and began using this new resource for cataloging and for interlibrary loan in March 1999. While other libraries in Montana will be moving to OCLC service through WLN later in 1999, The Libraries' administration determined that it was in MSU's best interests to transfer to a large established provider with enhanced services and consortial pricing arrangements for other library resources. The change in the bibliographic utility provides a far wider network for interlibrary loans and for other bibliographic services and enhancements. Students and faculty now have access to WorldCat, the OCLC database of 40,000,000 records for libraries worldwide.

In addition to the traditional reserve service provided by the circulation team, an electronic reserve system is also available to faculty and students. The Libraries uses scanning technology to convert paper text to electronic format in order to post sample exams, course syllabi and reading materials. The links are provided through The Libraries' Web page so that students can access this information from computer labs, other on-campus Internet stations, and through user authentication by a proxy server managed by the ITC.  Because of copyright restrictions, these resources are accessible to MSU users only. This represents another way in which The Libraries has used its electronic infrastructure to enhance service to students.

Until the Spring of 1999, The Libraries had been frustrated in its efforts to serve students at a distance who were unable to connect to the electronic resources through the campus network. Such individuals, however, whether located in Bozeman or in any one of the other large and small communities both within and outside of Montana, are now able to access most of The Libraries' electronic resources. Because of The Libraries' need to fulfill licensing requirements for commercial databases and to provide resources within the constraints of current copyright law, a proxy server now authenticates legitimate students and staff located at a distance from the Bozeman campus. The growing body of electronic databases and journals is now more fully available to students and staff regardless of their location and point of connection to the World Wide Web. This is a very positive step forward in the ability of The Libraries to support and enhance distance or distributed teaching and learning. The Libraries will monitor, interpret, and act upon the trends and issues that arise from the statistics on use regarding the proxy server and library resources by those at a distance.


The Libraries faculty and staff are actively engaged in a wide range of outreach activities including formal programs and informal consulting and leadership within the campus community, the state, and the profession. The involvement of the faculty in these diverse activities enriches the individuals and the entire organization. The visibility of individuals in collaborative projects, in teaching, and in service assignments helps to make The Libraries a very visible human resource for the University, as well as a necessary gateway to information and research materials. The MSU librarians and staff are regularly sought to provide advice, to present workshops, to consult, and to assume both formal and informal leadership positions. The MSU Libraries has done a great deal to assist the University in fulfilling its outreach mission. There is hardly a librarian from a public, school, special, or academic library within the state of Montana who does not know at least one (1) MSU librarian. This activity is documented in the curriculum vita of the individual library faculty members.

Additional ways in which The Libraries has provided unique contributions to the University and the citizens of Montana are presented in Exhibit 5.19, Outreach and Notable Initiatives. These include:

·         Publications

·         Teaching and presentations

·         Institutes

·         Liaison activities

·         Extramural funding for the extension or enhancement of services and collections

·         Participation in student recruiting and alumni relations activities

·         Service on committees, task forces, and state, regional, and national association boards

Together these activities represent a substantial contribution by library faculty to the University, the citizens of Montana, and the profession. Many projects are self-initiated and exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit of The Libraries.


The scope of the services and equipment maintained by ITC covers a wide range and can best be defined by describing its major networks and activities.

Servers and Internet access

ITC maintains a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC, recently bought out by Compaq) Alpha cluster for MSU's new Banner2000 administrative applications (financial aid, finance, human resources, and student records). Other DEC Alphas running Unix and OpenVMS support faculty, staff, and student e-mail accounts, Web pages, and statistical applications. Dozens of small Unix and NT servers support Internet functions (DNS, SMTP, HTTP, NNTP, etc.) and act as file, forms, print, and Web servers for Banner2000 and for general use. MSU is connected to the Internet via four (4) T-1 lines (1.54 Mbps each) supplied by Verio, Inc. MSU's Internet2 connection became active in Summer 1999, offering 30 times the capacity of a T-1 line for suitable interuniversity applications. The campus network backbone is optical fiber-based and supports 100 mbps FDDI traffic. Most intrabuilding wiring is Category 5 copper carrying 10 Mbps shared or switched Ethernet or 100 Mbps switched Ethernet. In December 1997, MSU won honorable mention in competition for the CAUSE (now EDUCAUSE) Award for Excellence in Campus Networking [Exhibit 5.20, CAUSE Awards for Excellence in Campus Networking].

Computing laboratories

Student computing laboratories maintained by ITC include 358 microcomputers, all connected to the campus network and the Internet. Many MSU academic colleges or departments also provide computer labs for their students. ITC does not have a count of the number of computers available in such labs.

Telephone and video conferencing services

Telephone services for MSU are provided by ITC and are based on a Meridian SL-1 switch. Services such as voice mail, telephone conferencing, etc., are available. MSU subscribes to two (2) video teleconferencing systems, MetNet and VisionNet. Separate studios for the two (2) networks are installed on campus and managed by the BTC.

Projects and recent initiatives

ITC operates in an environment requiring constant change and upgrades as needs and technologies change. The scope of equipment, programs, and services being offered is in flux as the staff responds to the ever-changing needs and the growing information literacy of the campus community. The following are illustrative of the Center's more recent responses to changing needs and requests:

·          As the bulk of statistical software usage has shifted from central servers to desktop computers, ITC responded by obtaining and making available software site-licenses

·          The mathematics department has installed a laboratory of Sun workstations to allow students to pursue their mathematics lessons in a powerful computing environment

·          A computer-aided design lab in Cheever Hall, the center of activities for the architecture program, has come under ITC's management

·          ITC has participated in architecture's Universal Lab project by adding network wiring to studios and by collaborating with architecture in networking the student-owned laptop computers now required of that program's majors


ITC provides twenty-five (25) to thirty (30) free classes each month year-round, each serving as many as thirty (30) faculty, staff, and students. The classes cover ITC issues including but not limited to:

·         Windows, OpenVMS, and Unix operating systems

·         Application software such as the Microsoft and Corel Office suite

·         Web page creation

·         Library Web resources

·         Internet search strategies

Classes are conducted using the computing laboratories at various locations across campus, The Libraries' electronic classroom, or the BTC. Schedules are mailed regularly to all faculty and departments and are posted on the Web and across campus.  Exhibit 5.21, ITC Class Schedules, Handouts, Statistics, and Evaluations, provides examples of recent training offerings along with supportive materials and statistics.  In order to meet the training needs of those who either cannot attend classes or whose learning styles might better be served with more individual instruction, ITC has placed commercially produced training videos on reserve in Renne Library. Any MSU library user may check out these videos. This extends the training reach of the Center.

The identification of new resources and the implementation of new technologies are also a part of the planning process for ITC. This activity is discussed further in this standard in the section on planning and evaluation.



In Bozeman, the two (2) library locations are the Renne Library, a separate structure located in the center of campus adjacent to the Strand Student Union (SUB), and the CAL located in Cheever Hall, one (1) block west of the Renne Library. CAL houses the majority of the architecture and visual arts materials while all other collections, except selected map resources, are located in Renne [Exhibit 5.22, Campus Map with Library Locations and Library Floor Plans]. Both facilities are heavily used by faculty and students, as well as by visitors and community members. Renne Library is the second most heavily used building on campus, second only to the SUB. Because the building has seating for a mere 8% of the student body, it is used to capacity at many times during the semester. At key times during each week of a regular term, the shortage of study space is a frustration to students.  

Appendix 5-C illustrates use statistics for both libraries since AY1990.  Since FY 1994, exit-gate statistics show that the use of the Renne Library has grown steadily to over 650,000 individuals per year, an increase in the last five (5) years of 14%. This increase in the use of the building is starkly contrasted to the significant and steady decreases in several key service areas during the same period. Checkouts (not including renewals) at the Renne circulation desk have decreased 16%, pick-ups of materials used in-house have declined 13%, and checkout of reserve materials has decreased 48%. The decline in the use of reserve materials may be due to a combination of factors. These following explanations are not based upon empirical data, but rather upon experienced observations and are strictly speculative:

·         Attrition of senior faculty who relied upon traditional reserve materials in the past

·         Use of the library's electronic reserve services

·         Growing use by faculty of personal Web sites with links to remote sites for their course materials

·         Use of customized Web sites prepared by librarians in conjunction with instructional sessions they prepare for specific courses.

Together with a changing student culture, evidenced nationally in part by the decline in the purchase of required textbooks, these factors may account for the decline in the checkout of reserve materials.  

Traffic and circulation of materials at the CAL in Cheever Hall has remained relatively stable within a modulating range during the same period. There are two (2) notable areas of decline, however, at the CAL:

·         The number of materials used in-house has fallen 16%

·         The number of slides (collection of 80,000) re-filed has declined by 42%.

A partial rearrangement of seating and shelving at CAL may result in increased in-house use of materials during the current fiscal year, but it is too early to predict what the statistics will show. The decline in the number of slides being re-filed might be explained by:

·         Faculty re-filing their own slides

·         Faculty using electronic images in their classroom presentations

·         Deterioration of the slide collection due to age (fading and discoloration)

·         Reluctance (because of copyright issues) on the part of the library to continue to make slides to assist art and architecture faculty in their classroom teaching

Together these factors may account for the seeming decline in the use of the slide collections. The library evaluates any requests for slide production from books or journals in light of copyright restrictions and the long-term appropriateness for the collections rather than merely the short-term need of an individual faculty member for a particular lecture. The Libraries would prefer to add slides or digital images produced by commercial sources because of their quality and copyright status, although such acquisitions are limited because of budget constraints.

At the same time that there has been a decline in the circulation and in-house use of materials, The Libraries has experienced a fairly steady rate in the requests for materials to be borrowed via interlibrary loan. Regular interlibrary loan protocols that draw upon the collections in other libraries are used for many requests, but increasingly The Libraries relies upon commercial document delivery services to acquire journal articles in a timely and efficient manner. The interlibrary loan statistics are monitored to identify trends, and the journals with the heaviest borrowing records are analyzed every six (6) months in order to identify any high-use undergraduate titles that might be purchased for local use at an affordable price. Through a series of initiatives, including the acquisition of high-use, low-cost journals that support undergraduate education and the expansion of electronic full-text databases, the use of interlibrary loan services by freshmen, sophomores, and juniors has declined over the past few years.

Renne Library

The Renne Library building consists of an original brick masonry building (1949) with a large addition constructed in 1961. The inadequacies of the combined building are many but the most notable are:

·         Inadequate ventilation and fluctuating temperatures

·         Central atrium that wastes space, carries noise, and requires special maintenance

·         Split floor levels between the older and newer buildings requiring ramping and stairs

·         Inadequate lighting with no task lighting

·         No fire suppression system and inadequate fire exit arrangements

·         Unfinished spaces that are desperately needed for stacks and study areas

·         Inflexible work spaces due to load-bearing concrete walls

·         Asbestos-coated ceilings

·         Inadequate electrical and electronic conduits/outlets

·         General lack of space for people and materials

There is a three (3)-step plan in place to ameliorate the inadequacies of the Renne Library. Phase One (1) will renovate the vacant third floor of the old (east) building to become a reading room, which would predominantly be varied single-seating accommodating approximately 150 students. Phase Two (2) will renovate the north half of the fourth floor of the building, displacing the warehousing of university records management and replacing it with book stacks and perimeter carrel seating to accommodate an additional thirty-six (36) students. Phase Three (3) will see an addition to the west side of the 1961 building and is expected to be put into service by 2010.


Concurrent with the first two (2) phases, would be a comprehensive upgrade of lighting, the installation of a sprinkler system, and adjustments required by codes and life-safety improvements for the entire building.  The estimated cost for these renovations to the existing space is $7,500,000. The legislature has approved the funding through bonding to complete these projects within the next four (4) years, and the planning and implementation for this major project is currently underway. The University administration has pledged support for a major capitol campaign through the MSU Foundation to partially fund the design and construction of the Phase Three (3) addition [Exhibit 5.23, Library Renovation Brochure; see also Standard Eight].

Students find the limited physical facilities of The Libraries to be particularly problematic. In a SERVQUAL (service quality assessment instrument) study conducted in 1997 to measure the service performance of The Libraries, the most often cited inadequacy concerned capacity and environmental issues, particularly for the Renne Library [Exhibit 5.24, SERVQUAL Study Results].  Faculty and graduate students do not mention the physical environment as often, but these individuals usually have their own offices where they work and study. The 10,000 undergraduates are those in competition for study and workspace within the library and they are the ones who often spend long hours in a building with inadequate lighting, poor air circulation, and erratic temperature control. These inadequacies, in addition to sitting space for only 8% of the student population, make the building uninviting and often very noisy, at least on the first two (2) floors where study tables are often full to capacity with four (4), six (6), or even eight (8) students at a time.

Creative Arts Library

The CAL is located in Cheever Hall, one block west of the Renne Library. The library contains primary resources in support of the art and architecture programs. The library is staffed seventy-eight (78) hours per week by staff members from the circulation team and with student assistants as necessary. The library is pleasant and busy. Computer workstations provide access to the electronic catalog, databases, and specialized files such as Architectural Graphics Standards. Both seating and shelf space at CAL are limited, and during 1998 a task force identified a variety of strategies to provide approximately fifty (50) additional linear feet of shelving to accommodate another five (5) years of collection growth within the limited space, without reducing already inadequate student seating. Through a variety of creative solutions, the shelf space has been provided without adversely affecting access for students and faculty. Unneeded duplicates were removed; materials in classifications outside of the primary art and architecture areas were transferred to Renne or withdrawn as appropriate; and closed serial runs were evaluated for retention [Exhibit 5.25, CAL Space-Saving Recommendations].

The slide collection in the CAL contains approximately 80,000 slides, mostly created in-house for lecture support. The slides are aging, deteriorating, and inadequately indexed for access. There is a need for more access to digital images to be used for classroom visuals; the provision of course or lecture visuals is not currently an identified priority for The Libraries.

Map collection

An auxiliary map collection is located in Traphagen Hall, two (2) buildings west of the Renne Library, and is maintained and staffed by the Earth Sciences Department. The map collection is small and contains a wide range of map resources, primarily provided by the Renne Library through its Federal Depository status. With a few exceptions, individual government document maps received by The Libraries are forwarded to the Map Library for inclusion there. If space and resources were available to provide these materials within the general library collections, they would be more readily available to the entire campus population. The status of the map collection in Traphagen Hall is officially acknowledged as part of MSU's Federal Depository arrangement [Exhibit 5.26, Documentation of Map Library as Depository Location].

Merrill G. Burlingame special collections

The Libraries' special collections are located on the fourth floor of Renne Library and focus primarily on eight (8) general areas that are defined in the collection policy which guides collecting decisions. These areas are:

·         Yellowstone National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Region

·         Senator Burton K. Wheeler

·         Montana history, with emphasis upon areas adjacent to Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park

·         Montana agriculture and ranching

·         Montana architecture and architects

·         Montana Native Americans

·         Prominent Montanans

·         Trout and salmanid fishing, habitat, and research

These collections contain more than 34,000 volumes and 1,200 linear feet of manuscript materials. Access to these collections is available thirty (30) hours per week, with closed stacks and typical research collection restrictions.



The ITC is located in the basement of Renne Library, but with a separate entrance at the rear of the building. Staff offices, equipment and storage space, and the user Help Desk are the primary occupants of the center's space.

Both central computing and telephone equipment are located in this facility. Additionally, twelve (12) ITC administrative system programmers/analysts are housed in Montana Hall. Other facilities include student-computing laboratories containing 358 microcomputers. ITC-managed student computing laboratories are located in: Reid Hall - Rooms 302, 303, 304, 305, 306; Roberts Hall - Rooms 109, 110, 111; Cheever Hall - Room 122; and Renne Library - Room 17 (during non-peak library instruction hours), along with mini-labs on the second and third floors of Renne Library.

Access to services

Access to computing services and programs is governed by acceptable use policies and other clearly defined University policy statements outlined by the Computing Policies Manual [Exhibit 5.27, Computing Policies Manual]. This policy, along with the statement of Computing Resources Available to Students, provides clear guidance for students and others regarding the use and accessibility of University equipment and networks [Exhibit 5.28, Computing Resources Available to Students]. It also identifies the locations of general-purpose computer labs, residence hall labs, and departmental computer laboratories.

MSU data network

The MSU data network makes the resources provided by ITC available throughout the academic buildings on campus and from the wider Internet. Examples include, but are not limited to:

·         Admissions

·         Class registration

·         Grades and student records through the Banner 2000 software's Web interface

·         Web-delivered class materials

·         General Web-based information about MSU and its programs

The residence halls network, administered by Residence Life, extends the University's data network and the Internet into all dormitory rooms and will soon provide wireless data network links to graduate and family housing units.

Student computing facilities

According to the 1998-99 ASMSU student government president, the ITC student computing laboratories are generally perceived by students to be sufficient in number and of appropriate speed and capacity. The range of software available to students in the ITC student laboratories also appears to be sufficient. No complaints to the contrary have been filed in ITC's offices in at least three (3) years. The semester hours and schedules for each laboratory operated by ITC are available via the Web at ITC. s information site [Exhibit 5.29, Computing Laboratory Schedules]. Although hourly usage counts are not taken in each laboratory, statistics for the laboratories in Reid Hall 306 and Roberts Hall 110 are available. These statistics indicate that the labs are busiest from approximately 11:00 a.m. each day until 3:30 p.m. with approximately 90% full capacity during some of those peak hours in Reid, with only 75% full capacity during peak hours in Roberts. In the Reid Hall lab, there is increased use during the evening hours from 7:30 p.m. until approximately 10:00 p.m., but with less than 75% full occupancy [Exhibit 5.30, Laboratory Use Charts for Two Computer Labs]. Since neither of these laboratories is ever used at capacity, these statistics further enforce the belief that the computing laboratories are meeting the needs of most students for additional computing access. Although statistics are not available to verify the belief that increasing numbers of students are bringing personal computers to campus, this would appear to be the case. Students are now able to use these computers not only for computation, word processing, and spreadsheet work, but, with the expanded campus network and Internet connectivity, they are able to use their equipment for Internet access from a wide range of access points in addition to computing laboratories.   

Remote access

ITC established a formal relationship with MCI to provide faculty, staff, and students with dial-up remote access to University resources. This relationship continues on an interim basis with Cable and Wireless USA (being bought out now by Prodigy Communications Corporation, pending regulatory approval), which bought out MCI's Internet business. The reason for outsourcing this service was to allow the private sector to bear the overhead of managing remote access services and to guarantee that state-of-the-art equipment would be 99% available, a goal that the University could not afford to meet in-house. ITC provides Internet connectivity to the campus as a core service, outsourcing remote access only for private individuals. Information about obtaining an account is available from ITC's Web site and in a widely distributed brochure [Exhibit 5.31, CatConnect Brochure and Information].

Maintenance and user assistance

ITC also outsources some maintenance contracts. Most importantly, the maintenance for its DEC servers is outsourced to Compaq Corporation. This shifts to the supplier the burden of maintaining an inventory of parts and making trained technicians available on call to make repairs to machines owned by ITC or by other campus entities. ITC provides system administration as a core service, complementing that with these outsourced maintenance services.  For individual users, ITC staffs a Help Desk with a direct e-mail link from ITC's Web page. The desk is staffed with service-oriented technical staff to provide information and immediate assistance whenever possible for campus users. The Help Desk hours of operation and responsibilities are posted on the ITC Web site [Exhibit 5.32, Help Desk Information].




A 1993 major reorganization has positioned the library organization to be minimally hierarchical and maximally flexible; the organization is productive, effective, and efficient, and continually explores ways to become more so [Appendix 5-E, Library Organization Chart]. These strategies, despite a 14% reduction in staffing during the last decade, have enabled The Libraries to position itself so it can act opportunely or as optimally as possible regardless of developing fiscal, technological, or priority-shift scenarios. Although The Libraries has always made information resources a priority, the organization itself contributes to the ability of the library to allocate approximately 45% of its budget for information resources while approximately 45% is expended for personnel [Appendix 5-F, Library Current Budget Information]. This is considerably better than the national averages of 36% for information resources and 49% for personnel or operations at libraries belonging to the ARL.

MSU Campuses

Since September 1997, the libraries at the four (4) MSU campuses have been consolidated into a single entity [Exhibit 5.33, President's Letter Regarding the MSU Libraries as One Library]. The Libraries (as a system) is managed by a Management Council, which is chaired by the Dean of Libraries and is composed of the senior library operations manages at each of the four (4) locations (Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, and Havre).  Progress thus far has been marked by the following major accomplishments:

·         Coordinated management

·         An MSU union catalog (a Sirsi, World Wide Web accessible system)

·         The centralization and coordination of collection development

·         The harmonization of circulation and fine policies to optimize intralibrary circulation

·         Coordinated staff development

·         A unified database acquisition and negotiation process

·         The organization and coordination of staff functions across location boundaries (i.e., instruction, cataloging, systems maintenance, etc.).

The goal is to achieve optimal operational functionality, quality service, and access at each location. With local input, the best possible management practices are being implemented.  Economies of scale are helping to stretch resources. Staff expertise is helping to enhance the skills and abilities of personnel at all levels of the organization. The sharing of information resources is enhancing access for all students and faculty in the four (4) MSU institutions. All units benefit fiscally from this "one-library-with-four-locations" approach through collective purchasing and negotiation power for print and electronic information resources and for supplies and equipment. The students and faculty benefit through access to all MSU available resources and consistency in access and circulation procedures. Library personnel benefit through varied professional development activities, shared expertise, and teamwork across campuses. While this system arrangement is still in its early stages, the union catalog is already functional, collective licensing and purchasing arrangements have resulted in greatly extended access to resources and economy-of-scale savings, and collaborative activities across all levels of the organizations have encouraged professional development and cooperation. This is the first area of full coordination across the units of the MSU institutions.

An additional aspect of cooperation and outreach is the expanded sharing via a contract for services of the MSU library catalog with five (5) other Montana libraries including Dawson Community College, Rocky Mountain College, Little Big Horn College, Dull Knife Community College, and Stone Child Community College. Representatives from these libraries meet regularly to discuss database management, resource records, and policies. A smaller consortium with many of the same members has existed since 1990, and the new expanded consortium has maintained the same name - OMNI.  The members include all but two (2) of the academic institutions in central and eastern Montana and they provide enhanced access to information resources for the citizens in two-thirds of the state. It is another way the MSU Libraries is working to fulfill the outreach mission of the university while functioning as efficiently as possible. Formal contracts for shared system services have been executed with each participating library [Exhibit 5.34, Agreement for SIRSI Participation by Other Libraries].


The library staff is of excellent quality and, it is believed, in spite of downsizing during the decade of the 90's, of adequate strength. The Libraries' administration is committed to and supports programmatical staff development at both the professional and classified levels.  All staff are equipped with high-level technology appropriate to the optimization of their productivity and effectiveness. Each member of The Libraries' staff has a detailed position description, which is reviewed periodically, and reviews of all faculty and staff performance are conducted annually [Exhibit 5.35, Position Descriptions for the Libraries Key Personnel, and Exhibit 5.36, Resumes of the Libraries Professional Staff].

Most of the 17.33 FTE members of the Libraries' faculty have two (2) graduate degrees, both a Masters of Library Science and a subject graduate degree. Their combined and varied experience together with their diversity of interests and research activities provide a broad range of expertise to the benefit of students and faculty. The librarians are held to comparable standards for promotion and tenure as other members of the University faculty. Their productivity and degree of excellence in performance are judged according to The Libraries' Review Guidelines [Exhibit 5.37, Library Faculty Review Document] in compliance with the University's Faculty Handbook. In addition, adjunct faculty librarians have been employed when possible to help staff the reference desk on weekends and evenings in order to allow tenure track library faculty members to be available more often during the regular workweek. This enables the tenure track faculty to more fully participate in University and library committees and work groups, to conduct library instruction sessions in collaboration with faculty in departments across campus, and to consult on a wide variety of research and instructional issues.  

The Dean of Libraries has consistently provided funding for all librarians to participate in professional activities, research projects, and professional development opportunities; such activities have been regional, national, and international in scope. Funding has varied from year-to-year, but typically each library faculty member is allocated at least $500 annually to be applied to professional development activities and travel including conference attendance or participation in workshops, courses, or seminars appropriate and beneficial to the individual and The Libraries' Librarians have also been successful in augmenting such funding with grants and outside resources. Additionally, faculty or staff may request funding for special or additional professional development activities. The Dean and Associate Dean provide funds as appropriate. Library faculty are prolific in publication and other forms of research activity. The MSU Libraries' faculty members are leaders within the state and region and hold national and international office. They give freely of their expertise in outreach efforts for the state of Montana and especially for their colleagues in the other MSU libraries. They are members of various university committees and participate in faculty governance and academic activities.

The professional staff in the library includes both system personnel and a development officer for fund raising and public relations work. The electronic infrastructure, functional state-of-the-art tools, and information software and data files are essential components of this and all university libraries. The roles of the computer support personnel have become ever more important, and the necessity for having computer expertise on many teams and within many projects grows daily. The close working relationship with the ITC has resulted in collaborative management and cooperative decision-making across the two (2) organizations. This means that library issues are considered in campus information technology planning and vice versa. The Director of ITC serves as a member of The Libraries' Electronic Management work group and the Director of Library Systems serves on the ITC management team.

There are 32.67 FTE classified staff members and approximately 6.3 FTE student workers employed in The Libraries during most semesters. The individuals are organized into functional work teams with responsibilities for daily operations of circulation, acquisitions and processing, interlibrary loan and document delivery, and support services. There are opportunities for advancement within the organization, and staff development is funded and encouraged. Staff turnover is minimal with many long-term productive employees providing leadership and continuity in expertise and work processes. This is further evidence of the contention that The Libraries' excellent staff is its primary strength.

Some of the best supporting evidence for the excellence of The Libraries' staff can be found by comparing national standards to the MSU operation, by considering the performance records of faculty members, and by considering the assessments provided, both formally and informally, by those outside of the library organization. As illustrated earlier, 80% of the graduating seniors across the previous four (4) years, have been satisfied with the services of The Libraries despite a less than 65% satisfaction with the collections.

The Faculty and Professional Staff Surveys include comments such as "the library staff is unfailingly helpful and creative in finding ways to address my research needs" and "librarians at MSU are outstanding." These remarks are in stark contrast to the many negative comments regarding the collections and library funding found in the survey comments. The respect and esteem that librarians enjoy from colleagues elsewhere on campus further supports the contention of excellence regarding library staffing.

The Dean of Libraries manages The Libraries in conjunction with the Associate Dean and in consultation with faculty and staff. The Associate Dean directly supervises most library faculty members and the team leaders of classified staff working groups. Weekly team leader meetings are held to exchange information and to discuss issues while regular meetings with individual team leaders provide an opportunity for mentoring and problem solving. Faculty meetings are held bi-monthly or when needed. The three (3)-member Library Faculty Advisory Committee, elected for three (3)-year individual terms on a rotating basis, meets regularly and advises the Dean regarding a variety of issues and faculty concerns. Librarians who serve on campus committees strive to keep colleagues informed regarding developments through e-mail or oral reports at faculty meetings. The library faculty are well-informed about campus-wide initiatives and activities.



The ITC was reorganized as a result of new management in response to the Information Services Task Force Report of 1995. The Center is organized into five (5) management units:

·         Projects and finance

·         Administrative systems

·         Network systems and operations

·         Academic computing

·         Sales and support services

Each unit administered by a manager responsible for the personnel and work of the unit. Exam scoring and general scanning services are also now provided through ITC. In addition, ITC has an indirect, but formal administrative relationship with both the Libraries' Systems Coordinator and the College of Agriculture's Systems Coordinator. Both the location of ITC within the Renne Library, and the informal relationships established by staff members of each organization with the other, have served to strengthen the ties between the two organizations. The Libraries' Director of Library Systems reports to both the Dean of Libraries and the Director of ITC.


ITC employs fifty-six (56) full-time and five (5) FTE part-time staff members. In addition, ITC employs about twenty (20) FTE student staff members as consultants in the student laboratories and for various jobs within the computer center itself. All of ITC's full-time and most of its part-time staff are in positions for which formal position descriptions are on file. These position descriptions follow Montana State guidelines and are part of the State employee's classification system. The MSU office of Employee Relations and Services enforces adherence to these standards. [Exhibit 5.38, Position Descriptions for ITC Key Personnel, and Exhibit 5.39, Resumes of ITC Professional Staff.]

Each of the five (5) management units of ITC has a staff-training budget. The annual organizational total for travel and training related to staff development, exclusive of the extensive training taking place for Banner2000 which is budgeted with one (1)-time money, is about $35,000. These funds are allocated within the management units according to perceived needs and current initiatives.


The ITC is administered by a director with the assistance of five (5) unit managers and an administrative officer. These individuals, in consultation with the various technology professionals within their staff units, and with the advice of various standing and ad hoc advisory or working committees and task forces, implement the Computing Policies Manual. Additionally, they attempt to achieve the goals and directions outlined in the task force report of 1995 within an ever-changing educational and technological environment. As curricular developments have an impact upon central computing resources, ITC's management coordinates the installation of curriculum-related software in the ITC student computing laboratories. The Director administers the Center's budget and is responsible to the Vice-Provost for Outreach and Executive Director of Information Services for the successful administration of the ITC and its diverse operations [Appendix 5-G, ITC Organization Chart].




In addition to the various means by which clientele are able to make recommendations for the purchase of print, audiovisual, and electronic resources, the library maintains contact and encourages both formal and informal input from faculty, students, and citizens in a variety of ways. The suggestion box in the lobby of Renne Library may be used for purchase suggestions or any other kind of suggestion, comment, or complaint. The Dean records each question or suggestion and the response to each in a notebook that is kept with the suggestion box. The responses are available to all; if the individual making the suggestion or asking the question includes an address, the written response is also sent directly her or him. These interactions are viewed as a continual and informal assessment.  

The Dean of Libraries meets several times a year with student leadership to discuss issues or concerns; there is also student representation on the University Library Committee, an advisory board, which meets with the Dean of Libraries at least once a semester to discuss broader services, relations, or policy matters. In addition to student representation, the University Library Committee consists of a representative faculty member from each college. The Dean, Associate Dean, and the Information Resources Librarian meet informally with each single department over a brown bag lunch on a periodic basis. This provides an opportunity for department members to discuss library issues specific to their particular degree programs, research interests, and the information culture within their discipline. Departmental Library Representatives meet individually and collectively with the Information Resources Development Librarian and/or the Dean of Libraries at least once formally each year and as needed otherwise. Additionally, the Dean, the Associate Dean and the Information Resources Development Librarian take advantage of every opportunity to meet with, discuss, or otherwise engage faculty in issues related to The Libraries and the resources available through them.

The Libraries conducts continual assessment with its various university clientele, both formally and informally. On a more formal basis, The Libraries seeks student and/or faculty feedback via a Likert-scaled instrument (anonymous for students, signed by faculty) for each course-related instructional session that is given [Exhibit 5.40, Faculty Instruction Evaluation Forms]; for semester-long credit library courses assessment is accomplished via the use of the university's "Knapp forms" [Exhibit 4.32, Knapp Evaluation Instrument]. In addition, The Libraries requests feedback on the annual senior class surveys administered by IR. These surveys and the exit interviews conducted by previous Graduate Deans have identified inadequate library resources as a hindrance for students in the pursuit of their degrees. Every third year (the first was conducted in 1997) The Libraries intends to administer a lengthy SERVQUAL survey to a sample of faculty and students. The findings of the 1997 survey administered by a graduate student in the MPA program show that the two (2) areas identified as inadequate by students and faculty - collections and physical plant/building - are consistent with the findings of this self-study. The theme for student responses has a focus on the physical plant and the lack of quiet study space. The responses from faculty tend to be more concerned with the inadequacy of collections.

As another means to provide formal feedback and to inform long range planning, a contract with a marketing firm was signed in the spring of 1999. The firm did marketing research by means of eight (8) focus group interviews to ask the question, "What do you want the library to be and to provide for you?" The evaluation of present services and resources is not the central focus of this marketing study, but rather the focus is to identify future directions and needed initiatives to meet the needs of today's and tomorrow's students. The results were not available at the time of this writing, but will be available later in the fall of 1999. Preliminary results are provided [Exhibit 5.41, Focus Group Preliminary Report].

The formal and informal assessment processes, along with the regular statistical profiles of libraries and library systems, routinely provide data and anecdotal evidence that is used on an on-going basis as library faculty, staff, and administration continually engage in a dialog regarding national and international trends and issues. The library organization is one of communication and discussion; working teams and cross-functional teams and groups engage in regular problem solving and process definition discussions. The trends and issues in information resources, instruction, curriculum development, library services, and information technology are manifested on each campus in unique ways and each library's response to these forces will be unique. While there is not a formal step-by-step process by which assessment leads to change, there is continual change and responsiveness evident in The Libraries During the last ten (10) to fifteen (15) years, the MSU Libraries has often been at the cutting-edge of innovation in response to changes in the environment and the clientele. Unlike most other colleges, those who work in The Libraries have a central focus and mission that makes provision of the best possible services a more unified vision.


The Libraries' Mission and values statement, together with the formal statement of goals, provides direction for planning and for new initiatives. The Mission and value statement together with the concomitant administrative goals are reviewed on a regular basis, and The Libraries' faculty and staff have opportunities to contribute to and to discuss the implications of the goals. The current electronic infrastructure is the direct result of planning and implementation of strategies to meet goals. The previously discussed renovation of the building, as well as the initial planning for an expansion of the existing building, are direct responses to the needs of students for space and a livable environment in which to study and conduct research. The Libraries has attempted to be responsive to the needs of the University community within the constraints of limited funding. Not being satisfied, however, to rely upon regular budget dollars to accomplish goals, The Libraries recognizes the need for extramural funding.

Because of continued resource deficiencies, there has been a heightened commitment to and emphasis on a library development program since 1993. In 1996, the library hired a Development Officer (whose title has evolved to Director of Development & Library Relations) to direct the fund raising and public relations activities of The Libraries. The Libraries has made significant progress in "growing" its development and relations program.  A now five (5)-year old Friends of the MSU Libraries association is thriving and instrumental to efforts in this area. The Libraries maintains an excellent working relationship with the MSU Foundation.  Extramural funding has provided the wherewithal to build an electronic classroom and to renovate Renne Library's microform/audiovisual viewing facility to the direct benefit of students. Endowments are now producing approximately $25,000 per year in funds for the collections.  Further, a dean's discretionary account is now available at the Foundation to provide the dean with options to aid in the purchase of special library materials, to fund staff development opportunities, and to assist in fund raising efforts. Since 1993, the Libraries has raised approximately one (1) million extramural dollars that directly or indirectly affect the Libraries' ability to provide both information resources and services [Exhibit 5.42, Summary of Extramural Funding]. The Libraries is committed to a development strategy that is integral to its strategic plan and the meeting of its goals.

An additional element in the planning process is the annual report by the Dean of Libraries on the state of the library. along with an articulation of the direction and fiscal environment for the coming year. This formal presentation to both classified staff and library faculty helps to emphasize current priorities and to recognize changing circumstances. The Libraries also holds an annual staff retreat to address organizational and/or program issues. These retreats have sometimes included library staff members from the other MSU campuses and topics have included the culture of change, communication, instruction, team building, and visioning for the future library. Together these activities are an attempt to involve the members of the organization in the planning and implementation process for the achievement of goals.



ITC has formal assessment procedures in place for the instructional component of its services so that evaluations of class offerings are conducted regularly and these evaluations are used to improve the instruction, the instructional aids, and the course topics. The handling of complaints, suggestions, and compliments are handled at the point of contact or by the Director on an ad hoc basis. There is no formal structure for the on-going evaluation of services, although any interruption in service or failure to respond to network needs does tend to result in immediate feedback to the Center staff and management. The recent self-study surveys indicated that approximately 70% to 90% of University personnel believe that they have adequate access to e-mail and computer-knowledgeable people. This is some indication that there is a fairly high level of satisfaction with computing services and access.


Computing and telecommunication resource planning is typically done in an inclusive manner. The Banner2000 system was selected over the equivalent Peoplesoft software by a committee. The majority of members from the committee were from departments that would be impacted by the selection. Similarly, the planning for the Internet2 connection and the writing of the grant proposal were collaborations between the Executive Director for Information services, ITC staff, and a number of faculty whose research would be impacted by the connection. Daily communication through both formal and informal means provides the opportunities for planning with The Libraries for changes and enhancements to the "info-structure" that supports the information resource needs of the University constituents relative to library resources in all forms. ITC staff members were intimately involved in the selection of a new library system (Sirsi) and continue to be consulted and provide advice on Internet access issues, database file selection and management, and other electronic components of library services.

As part of the planning process, ITC helps move segments of the University community to new levels of technology access by being involved in new acquisition decisions. This occurs in a variety of ways, but most notably through the administration of the student computing fee. These funds ($500,000-$600,000 per year) are distributed through a competitive proposal process chaired by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, with two (2) voting faculty members, two (2) voting student members, and advisors from ITC and the computer science department. [Exhibit 5.43 provides details regarding the Student Computer Fee monies and awards.] Other technology acquisitions (computers, software, networking technologies) are typically made with the advice of the affected computer user community. A recent example is the adoption of Microsoft Outlook for e-mail and calendaring; that acquisition was guided by a committee representing academic and administrative departments, as well as ITC staff.

Representatives from both ITC and The Libraries sit on the university's Web Advisory Committee [Exhibit 5.45, Web Advisory Committee]. The committee meets monthly during the school year to deal with operational issues related to the MSU Web site and to plan content and delivery changes. ITC staff members are also consulted by departments and colleges as MSU's Web presence is expanded.



The status of the MSU Libraries can best be summed up as follows:

·         Strengths:

·         Staff

·         Electronic infrastructure

·         Weaknesses:

·         Collections

·         Building and physical spaces

·         Financial resources

Both the collections and the physical plant are inadequate to meet the educational and research needs of the University community. The collections are too small because of chronic inadequate funding, so that while their scope is appropriate for the undergraduate programs offered, there are simply not enough titles, copies, and/or licensed simultaneous users to support the work of 10,000+ undergraduates. The collections in all formats - books, journals, and electronic resources - are particularly inadequate to meet the needs of graduate students and faculty researchers. At the same time that university programs have expanded and grown and funded research has become a growing and driving force within the University, inflation has driven up information costs. Emphasis on, and demands of the graduate and research programs, driven by G&C, have exacerbated the funding difficulties. When compared to libraries with similar levels of research support, The MSU Libraries is funded at only half of its research peers. The Libraries has not been funded to compensate for increased student/faculty numbers, expensive information needs in support of research, nor the increased costs for materials. The inadequacies of the physical plant are numerous. The newer part of the Renne Library was built in 1961, and it is egregiously inadequate in its size and amenities to meet the needs of today's or tomorrow. s students and faculty. There are plans to undertake a $7,500,000 renovation of the present facility over the next four (4) years and, there is planning underway for an addition to the building for occupancy by 2010.

The University community and the library administration have been aware of these strengths and weaknesses for some time. This awareness is reflected in the two (2) previous accreditation self-studies, the evaluator's reports, and the interim reports.  In addition, all user surveys and daily interactions between the library and its clientele support the need for better funding for materials and physical space. The 1998 self-study questionnaire distributed to faculty, professional staff, and classified staff provides yet further evidence of these facts.

While it is true that additional resources would go a long way towards addressing the primary weaknesses of the MSU Libraries, there are additional strategies that might aid The Libraries in helping achieve the University's mission. Possible strategies include, but are not limited to:

·         Greater involvement of the library in advising the administration and appropriate committees concerning the existing levels of information resources, as well as the needed funding to support new programs, courses, and research initiatives

·         Improved means by which to tie funded research projects to the funding of information resources necessary for the research and for the benefit of the entire University community

·         Integration of information literacy skills into the curriculum at both initial and more advanced levels of instruction so that the evaluation, as well as the identification and use of appropriate print and electronic sources, is a measurable learning outcome for all graduates

·         Financial support for new initiatives in university-sponsored electronic scholarly publications, enabling researchers to be less dependent upon the commercial publishing marketplace for provision of the vehicles by which scholars communicate

·         Recognition and encouragement of peer reviewed electronic publication in the promotion and tenure process

In summation, the MSU Libraries, despite chronic under-funding over a period of at least three (3) decades, has sought to be pro-active in addressing the information needs of the University's students and faculty and the deficiencies of the library's physical facilities. The Libraries' collections are built with quality materials, albeit not enough of them. The Libraries' electronic infrastructure is excellent and is well positioned to adapt to the evolving information market place and increased demand for electronic information services. The Libraries' faculty and staff are superb and extremely productive in terms of library work completed, service to all levels of the academic and regional community, in successfully winning grant funding for projects, and in undertaking and completing meaningful and substantive research and publication.

In the area of fiscal resources, The Libraries assertively vies annually for base budget funds; it has put in place a development program that has thus far been successful and promises to continue to be so; it has a plan on the table for the renovation of the current facilities; and, it is in the beginning stages of planning a building addition that will be a centerpiece of the University's next capital campaign. While recognizing the fiscal and political inhibitors to progress, the MSU Libraries is determined to make planned and methodical progress; it has done so and will continue to do so.

All of the progress towards goals and the improvements in circumstances provided by external funding do not replace the need for adequate institutional support. The recognition of the important role that information resources play in the ultimate success of the teaching/learning enterprise and the outreach, research, and service mission of the University will need to be made concrete in a number of ways for future success in linking people and information. The MSU Libraries, with the aid of the ITC and the BTC, will continue to provide connections between people and information both on and off campus. While the resources are not always ideal, they are managed efficiently, with creative solutions and exceptional individuals.


ITC's change to a service culture and the centralization of resources and services has greatly benefitted the campus community and contributed much to the fulfillment of the University's mission. The access, equipment, and software provided by computing services enables MSU students, faculty, and staff to link to the world through technology. The Internet, teleconferencing capabilities, and telephone services provide e-mail, visual images, and voice mail so that no one associated with MSU need be isolated nor work in a vacuum. The Dean of Libraries considers ITC to be a vital part of the University's "info-structure" and this info-structure is an essential component for success in the fulfillment of the University's tripartite mission of instruction, research, and outreach through service.

Possible changes or strategies that might further strengthen the info-structure and the services and access to technology for MSU's user community might include the following:

·         Unification of the ITC staff into a single office building; the current separation into two (2) buildings discourages collaboration and the sharing of resources

·         Realignment of the ITC budget such that funding is based on current demand for services rather than traditional budget allocations [Appendix 5-H, ITC Current Budget Information]

·         Deployment, by telephone service provider US West, of digital subscriber loop technology in the Bozeman metropolitan area; this would offer faculty, staff, and students megabit-grade connectivity to the University's IT resources and the Internet

In summary, the ITC has undergone tremendous change during the past ten (10) years. It has been transformed from an isolated entity to an integrated component of the campus. It has become central to the educational, research, and service missions of the University.

Together The MSU Libraries and the Information Technology Center strive to enhance the information environment for the University.



Table 5-01

Senior Survey Summary Responses - Satisfaction

Table 5-02

MSU Compared to Association of Research Libraries Averages


Appendix 5-A

Library Mission and Goals


Appendix 5-B

Library Strategic Plan


Appendix 5-C

Use Statistics for Renne and Creative Arts Libraries


Appendix 5-D

Library Hours


Appendix 5-E

Library Organization Chart


Appendix 5-F

Library Current Budget Information


Appendix 5-G

ITC Organization Chart


Appendix 5-H

ITC Current Budget Information



Exhibit 5.01

Information Services Task Force Report

h ttp://

Exhibit 5.02

Information Resource Management Policy


Exhibit 5.03

Library Representatives Responsibilities and Current Representatives


Exhibit 5.04

Acquisitions Data


Exhibit 5.05

Faculty Participating in New Faculty Library Funding


Exhibit 5.06

Buying Power Graph


Exhibit 5.07

MSU Compared to National Standards for College and Research Libraries


Exhibit 5.08

1999 Serial Titles Canceled


Exhibit 5.09

Increase in Research Funding Compared to Journal Cancellations


Exhibit 5.10

MSU - Bozeman Libraries Web Site

Exhibit 5.11

Student Computer Fee Awards to The Libraries


Exhibit 5.12

Library Instruction Statistics Since 1990


Exhibit 5.13

Worksheets, Handouts, Guides, Web pages, Etc., for Library Instruction


Exhibit 5.14

LIBR 221 Information - Sylabus and Evaluation Summaries


Exhibit 5.15

Vitae of Library Faculty


Exhibit 5.16

Circulation Policies


Exhibit 5.17

Library Committee

Exhibit 5.18

Inexpensive Journals Added


Exhibit 5.19

Outreach and Notable Initiatives


Exhibit 5.20

CAUSE Awards for Excellence in Campus Networking .html

Exhibit 5.21

ITC Class Schedules, Handouts, Statistics, and Evaluations


Exhibit 5.22

Campus Map with Library Locations and Library Floor Plans


Exhibit 5.23

Library Renovation Brochure


Exhibit 5.24

SERVQUAL Study Results


Exhibit 5.25

CAL Space-Saving Recommendations


Exhibit 5.26

Documentation of Map Library as Depository Location


Exhibit 5.27

Computing Policies Manual

Exhibit 5.28

Computing Resources Available to Students

Exhibit 5.29

Computing Laboratory Schedules

Exhibit 5.30

Laboratory Use Charts for Two Computer Labs


Exhibit 5.31

CatConnect Brochure and Information


Exhibit 5.32

Help Desk Information

Exhibit 5.33

President's Letter Regarding the MSU Libraries as One Library


Exhibit 5.34

Agreement for SIRSI Participation by Other Libraries


Exhibit 5.35

 Position Descriptions for the Libraries Key Personnel


Exhibit 5.36

Resumes of the Libraries Professional Staff


Exhibit 5.37

Library Faculty Review Document

Exhibit 5.38

Position Descriptions for ITC Key Personnel


Exhibit 5.39

Resumes of ITC Professional Staff


Exhibit 5.40

Faculty Instruction Evaluation Forms


Exhibit 5.41

Focus Group Preliminary Report


Exhibit 5.42

Summary of Extramural Funding


Exhibit 5.43

ITC Student Computing Fee Awards Summary


Exhibit 5.44

Web Advisory Committee

Return to Self Study Table of Contents.