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Statement from Sara Zimmerman
Here is an email LOUIS Exec. Director Sara Zimmerman sent to LOUIS library directors on Thursday (June 23) which explains some things about the current status of the LOUIS Crisis and what HCR 129 means; all is verbatim except the addition of some hyperlinks:
Group, I wanted to give as accurate an update as I can at this time. There are still some uncertainties, but for now, this is what is going on.
As you are all aware there was a huge grassroots effort to get the word out about LOUIS. Many, many people in the academic library community stepped up and went well beyond expectations to make sure that the details of LOUIS were well known. It is my belief that these efforts paid off in our best interest.
You may know that HCR 129 was the result of this push. Representation Jackson (no party, BR) was contacted by Mike Matthews, Northwestern, and a meeting was set up at LLA Legislative Day. The result of the meeting was HCR 129. It had very strong wording, specifically “directing” the Regents to restore funding at the 09-10 level ($2.2M gap) and interestingly, it kept passing in House meetings. This resulted in the Regents requesting a meeting between LOUIS and Rep Jackson. At that meeting a compromise to the wording was constructed. HCR 129 was amended and has passes the House and Senate unanimously. While the compromise no longer included funding (for various reasons), I believe it sets the consortium up to thrive in the future. Rep Jackson's resolution, while amended, was successful. The end result are solutions for 3 goals that we had going into 10-11.
Goal 1. Funding for 11-12. Recall that each LOUIS member indicated they would pay the entire fee even if additional funding sources were not found. The good news is the fee you saw in November will be reduced because we now have a $500k commitment from the Regents and it looks very promising that there will be another $500k as a line item in HB1 (Sen. Michot/Long and a result of the PR campaign, pressure from Regents and members). The exact amount of each member’s fees will be determined once HB1 is signed. Over the last couple months, the Regents have used this as an opportunity to discuss LOUIS with the System Offices and will continue discussions with them. HCR 129 is a partnership between Regents, Systems and Members and the Regents are uniquely positioned to keep LOUIS on everyone’s radar. The results of many discussions are that for 11-12, the libraries will pay the membership fee and the System Offices are aware of the fees. I plan to send out the membership fees as soon as the dust settles and we know all sources of funds. The one unfortunate piece of this is funding is strictly for publicly funded academic libraries, only.
Goal 2. Put LOUIS on everyone's radar. Unbelievable and amazing success! Every elected official, the Regents, System Offices, campus administration, faculty, students and the general public know "LOUIS". This will help LOUIS in the long term and I believe we should continue to demonstrate the collaboration, savings and synergy of LOUIS. After all, LOUIS has been doing More with Less since 1992! And has demonstrated success! I want to give a “shout-out” to Karen Niemla, ULM, who created SaveLOUIS.org. This site had/has a significant impact on getting LOUIS information to about 150 elected/appointed officials each time an email was sent. From here on out I expect the HCR 129 to be the driving force to keeping LOUIS prominent in higher education.
Goal 3. Help insure LOUIS has sustainable funding into the future. This is paramount. HCR 129 directed Regent to come up with $2.2M for LOUIS in 11-12 but it would have been for 1 year which wouldn’t contribute to the goal. Top that off with being an adversary of the Regents instead of having a partner which wouldn’t contribute to the goal either. We don’t want to win the battle and lose the war. The resolution forces all parties to work towards ensuring academic libraries are funded in the future …which is the goal. LOUIS has the Regents as a Partner (again) and they believe in and understand LOUIS is a crucial component of higher education. They have the ear of the System Offices, campuses and the legislature. I think we are in a good position to work with all partners to make sure LOUIS is funded in a way that doesn't compromise services in the future. This coming year the LALINC Executive Committee will be the driving force behind the effort to define services and resources with the LLN Commission will re-engaged to help fund the recommendations. It will be a test to see the level of commitment from the Regents, Systems and even the state.
This happened because of each of you. Thank you for the dedication to getting the word out and being available to speak, attend meetings, write your legislators and notify your faculty and staff. I'm so impressed with each of you and look forward to the coming year.