I know you all have received President Price’s message to the Duke community about securing Duke’s financial future. The Duke University Libraries, like all units on campus, are still working through what these spending controls mean for our collections and services to the Duke community. We are in touch with the Provost’s Office for further guidance, but for now I would like to convey some important information about library collections and new acquisitions of both print and digital materials. I hope you will pass this information along to your faculty, many of whom have sent us requests for book/journal/e-resource purchases, a number of which are needed immediately for courses and/or research.
The Libraries will continue to make payments on existing contractual obligations, including renewals for electronic resources that support teaching and research, and currently due invoices. In addition, we are prioritizing spending on new orders for those digital items that directly support summer online courses, fall courses, and research, with priority funding given to those research efforts that support COVID19 work, per instructions from the Provost’s Office. We are in close communication with the directors of the Divinity School Library, the Medical Center Library, the Ford Library at Fuqua, and the Goodson Library at the Law School, with the understanding that faculty and students across campus, in all schools, avail themselves of the general DUL collections as well as those that are more specialized, and that we share in many licensed digital resources.
The Libraries are working hard to expand access in a number of ways that do not require new purchases. Last week we enabled electronic access to approximately 40 percent of our print book holdings through HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service, and we have been working with the Internet Archive as it has launched its National Emergency Library (1.4 million digital volumes). We are also maintaining our normal, substantial, electronic subscriptions to millions of articles, e-books, and databases, all discoverable through https://library.duke.edu/. I have already heard quite a number of success stories of faculty and students finding what they need through these means.
And although library buildings are closed, our services continue. Librarians continue offering consultations and instructional sessions with faculty and students via Zoom, and fielding their many questions via chat service and email. The interlibrary loan system nationally has shut down for now, but electronic document delivery is still possible in some cases, and we are facilitating that much as possible, including in some cases through personal contacts at other libraries. More information about Duke University Library services is available here: https://library.duke.edu/about/coronavirus
I realize this is a major disruption in library services. We expect that these restrictions will be temporary, as the financial picture and Duke’s path regarding access to physical resources and academic offerings this fall become clearer. Thank you very much for your understanding. I appreciate your sharing this information with your faculty.