Contributed by Andrew Weiss
November 2013 marked a milestone in the open access movement as CSUN became the very first of the 23 Cal State University campuses to adopt an official open access resolution for its faculty. Work on this resolution began in a largely unacknowledged Faculty Senate subcommittee, the Faculty Senate Library Committee (FSLC), which meets regularly each semester in a conference room in the heart of the Oviatt Library’s administration wing. The result of this new policy has been an increase in the awareness on campus of the value of open access, from President Harrison and Provost Hellenbrand to the faculty and students.
Many of our Library eNews readers may not be familiar with the FSLC or the work that it carries out during each academic year. The committee itself is comprised of one faculty representative from each college and one from the Library, two at-large representatives chosen by the Faculty Senate, two student members chosen by the Associated Students, and Library Dean Mark Stover (a non-voting member), for a total of 14 members. The committee elects one member each year to serve as FSLC chair. As a result, the committee provides consultation on Library programs and services from a faculty perspective. The voices of faculty are important, and this committee consists of strong advocates who see the Library, according to the FSLC mission statement, as a central component "of the university’s mission and of community life at CSUN."
Outgoing Chair of FSLC
Susan Auerbach, outgoing chair of the FSLC and one of the leaders who helped bring the open access resolution to the Faculty Senate, provides some perspective on her time with the FSLC. "Last year, the FSLC took seriously the need to learn more about open access and consider its pros and cons for faculty in diverse disciplines,” she writes, adding: “I'm pleased that we had substantive discussion and debate on the topic and were able to craft an open access recommendation that won approval from Faculty Senate."
Indeed, one of the important factors contributing to FSLC’s success on campus is a willingness to follow through with ideas and to be persistent in the face of obstacles. Among the items on the committee’s agenda for the coming year is to ratify a newly drafted and more keenly focused mission statement that more closely reflects the scope of the FSLC’s ongoing work.
The upcoming year promises to be one full of important discussions and considerations for the committee. With more structural renovations happening in the Library, the ongoing analysis of the Library’s print collection and the continual shift to the brave new digital world of online content delivery, faculty input on the shape and face of our 21st century library will be as valuable as ever.
We are extremely grateful to the FSLC for their work and accomplishments, whether they be as high-profile as the CSUN open access resolution or as prosaic as discussions about library policy, collection shaping or space utilization. We value their commitment to the Library and the tenets of academic freedom itself, as well as their willingness to confront and discuss the issues facing us all in the future.