A Decade of Progress -- 1992 - 2002
Louisiana State University

Transforming Libraries for 2000 and Beyond: the LSU Model

The LSU Libraries faced severe funding challenges in the early nineties. Through a strategy of network development, serials redesign, grants, reorganization, legislative support, and teamwork, the Libraries met its challenges. The LSU Libraries successfully transcended that decade and moved into 2000 and beyond with a model that has improved library services and supported libraries statewide. This document highlights the activities and outcomes that brought the model to fruition.

LSU Mission

Louisiana State University is the state's comprehensive research university. Louisiana State University offers challenging undergraduate, graduate, and professional educational programs for outstanding students from Louisiana, the nation, and other countries. Its nationally and internationally recognized efforts in a broad range of research fields create new knowledge and promote economic development. LSU libraries and museums preserve the rich cultural heritage of the state, and scholars and artists at the University contribute to the literature, history, science, technology, and arts of our culturally diverse community.

As the flagship university of the state, the mission of Louisiana State University is the generation, preservation, dissemination, and application of knowledge and cultivation of the arts for the benefit of the people of the state, the nation, and the global community.

LSU Libraries Mission and Rationale

As the library of the flagship institution in the state, we provide comprehensive access to information essential to teaching, research, and service at Louisiana State University. Through our human resources and maximum use of technology, the library staff meets these needs for the University community, extends information services to the state, and makes unique holdings available throughout the world.

Because of our status as the research library for Louisiana State University, "the state's premier public university research library, and one of the top research libraries in the nation" as designated by the Board of Regents' Master Plan for Higher Education, the LSU Libraries must build and maintain a preeminent library. The Libraries serve the University and the state as the critical resource for collecting, organizing, and providing access to scholarly information. They must be administered effectively to ensure the appropriate acquisition and use of financial, human, and material resources in support of the collections, facilities, personnel, services, and technology. The Libraries must partner with other campus departments to increase information access. They must explore innovative ideas to enhance information, technological assets, and to expand electronic delivery mechanisms that place needed resources in the hands of users. Through increased interinstitutional cooperation and partnerships with corporate, philanthropic, and nonprofit technology sectors, the Libraries must implement new initiatives in information technology for the campus and its users.

Background and Scope

In the late twentieth century, Louisiana's depressed resources crippled the LSU Libraries' abilities to provide the cutting edge services and resources essential to move their institution and users into the future. Technology demands battled for limited state funds that were rapidly being diminished by rising subscription costs. Attracting additional funding for new strategies and technologies became paramount. To meet this challenge, the library organization had to change. The traditional library model evolved into one that was dynamic and responsive to today's ever changing information environment.

Innovation, teamwork, partnerships, and new collaborative ventures on campus and statewide were essential to support the University and Libraries' missions. Added to these factors was an administrative team willing to take risks and test new ways of doing business. The result has been a new collection development model http://www.lib.lsu.edu/collserv/colldev/serials.html. Other academic libraries both here and abroad, including members of Association of Research Libraries (ARL) http://www.arl.org/, have emulated that model or turned to it for guidance. ARL is a not-for-profit membership organization comprising the leading 124 research libraries in North America. Its mission is to shape and influence forces affecting the future of research libraries in the process of scholarly communication. ARL programs and services promote equitable access to and effective use of recorded knowledge in support of teaching, research, scholarship, and community service.

This document showcases actions implemented in the recent decade that have provided a strong foundation for future growth. The outcomes reveal a high-tech, streamlined University Library that enables it to better serve its users, the state, and the worldwide community as the critical resource for collecting, organizing, and providing access to scholarly information in Louisiana.

Criteria and Activities
Activities involving creativity and innovation in meeting academic needs while developing exemplary programs that other libraries can emulate.

Funding and Leadership
Many academic libraries have been subjected to funding cuts in recent years. In Louisiana, curtailments in the oil industry in the late eighties and nineties brought these problems to the fore much earlier. This presented major financial barriers to LSU's traditional library operations and blocked building the electronic infrastructure essential to expanding information access. The LSU Libraries and other public institutions were almost totally reliant on dwindling state funds. Because Louisiana State University is the state's flagship university, the Libraries serve not only as the campus library but as a resource for other Louisiana institutions. The library is looked to for leadership as well as for its collections and services. Consequently, the LSU Libraries embarked on a strategy to seek new funding sources, better control expenditures, and streamline the organization as a whole.

Inadequate state funding inhibited developing electronic collections, impeded resource sharing, and resulted in an inadequate technological infrastructure. Few academic libraries' catalogs in Louisiana were online in the early 1990s. LSU Libraries had automated in the 1980s and was concerned that it might be years before most other academic libraries had funding to automate.

The LSU Libraries collaborated with the LSU Office of Computing Services, the Louisiana Board of Regents, the state's Office of Telecommunication Management, and other academic libraries, to make available its expertise to develop and implement an aggressive strategy to:

  • Create a statewide electronic library network, LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network.
  • Fund full-text and citation databases for libraries in every parish (county) in the state.
  • Finance electronic classrooms and computer laboratories complete with new high-end workstations and housed in the Libraries, and
  • Initiate a digital library to showcase LSU's unique resources.

Since 1992, state and federal awards exceeding $10 million have funded an electronic network uniting the libraries in LOUIS (Louisiana Online University Information System): the Louisiana Library Network. Library administrators were PIs, Co-PIs, and/or grants team members on all network/library proposals. http://www.lib.lsu.edu/collserv/colldev/grants/index.html

  • 1992 - State Board of Regents provided $1 million seed funds for network development.
  • 1993 - LSU's proposal was the nation's first funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Library Research and Demonstration Program: Statewide Multi-type Library Network and Databases - $2,480,000. It brought the fledgling academic group into a formal statewide network with offices and equipment at LSU. Initially supported Internet access, 40 electronic indexes/abstracts, 1,000 full-text journals, and access to LOUIS libraries. Over 100 databases and thousands of full-text journals are now available. Also, the Louisiana Educational Tariff dedicated some $7 million to extend/support fiber optic networking for all parishes (counties) in support of library access. http://louis.lsu.edu
  • 1994-95 - The Libraries initiated collaborative proposals: $250,000 for engineering databases for five universities and $52,200 to develop a Coastal Louisiana site.
  • 1995-96 - A statewide campaign and press conference at the State Capitol promoted the network. Initial state funding of $1,085,00 was awarded and has increased regularly.
  • 1996-97 - Awarded $182,700 to equip two electronic classrooms in the Libraries. http://www.lib.lsu.edu/classroom/ The University funded one more classroom and three computer labs housing 225 high-performance, multi-media workstations with centralized printing. Upgraded 2000/01:
  • 1996 - 2001 - Awards totaling over $1 million from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and state grant sources to develop Louisiana's first digital library projects. http://www.lsu.edu/diglib/. Special Collections' and other materials were digitized and made available via websites at http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special and http://www.lsu.edu/diglib/.
  • 1997-98 - Awarded $1,000,000 to bring online more libraries, holdings, and resources and an additional $371,739 to fund the LSU Coastal Louisiana Digital Library.
  • 2000 - Awarded $149,350 for the Distance Education Electronic Delivery Network (DEED-Net) a statewide Ariel network among 23 academic libraries to deliver materials electronically for distance education programs.

Lack of funding was a barrier to the Libraries providing access to Special Collections materials.


  • Began seeking funding to increase access to the unique collections.
  • Reorganized Special Collections from stand alone units into a research division in the renovated original library building to support collection access and preservation efforts.


  • 1987-90 - $418,900 - National Endowment for the Humanities, funded Louisiana Newspaper Project to film and make accessible over 900 extant state newspapers.
  • 1990 - $97,400 - National Historic Publications and Records Commission grant established a formal University Archives program. http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/archives/index.html
  • 1991 - A $285,000 Board of Regent's grant created/equipped the Electronic Imaging Laboratory. The first CD-ROM was B. F. French's Historical Collections of Louisiana, published in 1846. http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/bffrench/index.html
  • National Endowment for the Humanities grant funded cataloging of 700 manuscripts.
  • Current participant in SOLINET's "American South" digital library project. http://www.AmericanSouth.org
  • 2000-2003 - An Institute for Museum and Library Services grant funded the "Louisiana Purchase" digital library project. http://www.lsu.edu/diglib
  • Special Collections print, new manuscripts, archives are acquisitions now in the OPAC.
  • Special Collections websites offer information on collections, use, reference e-mail, finding aids, photographs, and electronic access to digitally reformatted materials:
    http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/welcome.html     http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/

Fund raising was not emphasized at LSU until the nineties. Library endowments were minimal.

Increased focus on fund raising throughout the University.


  • Endowments/private funding for LSU Libraries increased 800% in the past decade.
  • Received largest single bequest ever made to LSU - $3.3 million.
  • Awarded funding for an endowed professorship.
  • Libraries' Stampede proceeds neared $40,000; purchased 25 workstations.
  • Donor funds have enabled the library to:
    • Add infrastructure components
    • Install a reliable security system
    • Acquire additional public workstations
    • Renovate and refurbish the new Music Resources Center
    • Add new equipment and special printers for the visually impaired, and
    • Increase the materials budget $200,000 in FY 02.

Lack of state funding inhibited the growth of collections and services at LSU and at other state-supported university and college libraries throughout Louisiana.


  • In the 1990s, the state legislature allocated bond money to public academic libraries.
  • In the late 1990s, the legislature began annually allocating funds to a Library Acquisitions and Equipment line within the higher education budget.
  • LSU Libraries have been allocated the lions' share of LSU's additional funds receiving $1.8 million annually.

The Libraries used these monies and other special funding:

  • To fill gaps in the monograph collection;
  • To purchase workstations for patrons and staff;
  • To enhance the telecommunications infrastructure, and
  • Additional University funds of $255,000 were allocated to purchase fifteen years of Web of Science http://www.lib.lsu.edu/databases/descriptions/webofknowledge.html research/citation resources along with recurring funds to update current files and provide campuswide access. An additional $100,000 was made available in 2002 to acquire another decade of backfiles.

With the launch of LOUIS, the need for more automation knowledge became evident.

LOUIS/LSU Libraries developed a training program for libraries across the state incorporating:

  • Staff training at library sites.
  • Regional training sessions bringing scattered staff together at central sites.
  • A tier structure whereby more sophisticated libraries, once trained, assumed training and trouble-shooting responsibilities for smaller institutions in their geographic area.


  • More technologically sophisticated staff throughout state's public academic libraries.
  • Training model in place for future needs.

LSU Libraries acquired the NOTIS system in the mid-eighties with a license enabling it to add other libraries on a single mainframe. In the 1990s, over two dozen other libraries automated as a network using the software. By 2000, the need for a new generation system had become critical.

LSU Libraries joined the LOUIS network staff and other academic libraries to:

  • Evaluate existing systems and develop a plan to acquire a new library system.
  • Made a presentation to the state's Commissioner of Higher Education and Board of Regents' staff on the need for a more powerful system. Requested state funding.
  • Provided a similar presentation to the Chief Academic Officers of all the state-supported academic libraries. The academic officers endorsed the proposed funding.
  • The LSU Chancellor and Provost went on record as solidly supporting the request.


  • 2001: Regents included funding in a $25 million Information Technology allocation.
  • The network received $4 million: $3.5 million for the system and technology to migrate; and $500,000 for migration costs.
  • Migration began July 2001, extended over 18 months, and included 26 academic libraries--LSU and two others came online December 2001 with the remainder online in 2002. http://lsu.louislibraries.org/uhtbin/webcat
  • The training model cited previously provided the structure to upgrade staff skills statewide bestowing the knowledge and confidence needed for a successful migration.

Activities directly involving leadership in developing and implementing exemplary programs that other libraries can emulate.

In the nineties, rising subscription costs claimed 85% of the Libraries' materials budget. This left patrons without access to needed serials while others were underutilized. No electronic journals were available except those supported by the state network.


  • LSU Libraries designed and implemented the Serials Redesign Project:
  • Document delivery (DD) was incorporated to increase access to journal articles.
  • Two initial pilots succeeded; all departments were surveyed during the next five years.
  • Low demand titles were identified; 2,694 canceled in the nineties totaling $811,619.
  • Subscriptions were placed for 293 new journals requested by faculty.
  • Subsidized unmediated DD service was launched, supported from cancellation funds http://www.lib.lsu.edu/databases/descriptions/ingenta.html


  • ACRL award winning article, "Libraries 2000: Transforming Libraries Using Document Delivery, Needs Assessment, & Networked Resources," College and Research Libraries 58:355-74, described the project; other libraries instituted similar programs http://www.lib.lsu.edu/collserv/colldev/serials.html. The article was also featured in China's academic library journal: Ta hsueh t'u shu kuan hsueh pao 16:1 -11.
  • 1998 Serials Redesign assessment survey of faculty, research associates, and graduate students resulted in a 91% approval rating on the key question:

    Does the combination of subscriptions and subsidized document delivery meet your needs for journal articles?
            - Always - 11%     --Most of the time - 80%
            - Seldom - 9%     --Never - .5% (less than one percent)

    Prior campus dissatisfaction with journal resources has now become support. Academic departments rely on collected data and comply with journal subscription policies.
  • Instituted ongoing reviews of standing orders, microforms, and other resources freeing more funds for new titles.
  • http://www.lib.lsu.edu/collserv/colldev/SerialsRedesign.htm
  • Today the LSU Libraries has over11,000 electronic journal subscriptions and more than 15,000 print ones. Another 2,000+ e-journals are available in aggregator databases. The state network supports an additional 4-5,000 electronic journal titles.
  • DD costs have decreased more than 50% since users can access electronic articles at their desktop.

Accessing today's varying library resources and web pages can be puzzling to patrons. As electronic resources grew, it became clear that web sites were often overlooked and patrons were not connecting to electronic information when absent from the OPAC.


  • All full text journals in aggregator and journal databases were identified http://www.lib.lsu.edu/epubs/ejournals.html
  • URLs and bibliographic records were added to the OPAC enabling users to link to full-text from on-campus and remote locations when permitted by licensing agreements. Example: http://www.jstor.org/journals/00218723.html
  • Began utilizing CORC, (OCLC Cooperative Online Resource Cataloging), a metadata creation system for bibliographic records and pathfinders describing e-resources.
  • Government documents incorporated in the online catalog.
  • Access to all electronic full-text products is ongoing.


  • LSU's project led other Louisiana libraries to emulate the project on their campuses.
  • The LOUIS network, with LSU Libraries', exports LSU's electronic journal records to a separate database that is available to the other academic libraries and their patrons. http://louis.lsu.edu
  • LSU librarians, with Rice University and Texas A & M, worked with MARCIVE to put documents records in their OPACs. LSU documents use increased 300% the first year. http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS13103
  • Original Cataloging, with selectors, have created 192 CORC records linking users from the OPAC to subject-oriented electronic resources. Example: http://www.lib.lsu.edu/bus/finance.html
  • When the netLibrary 14,000+ collection was acquired, the records were loaded in the OPAC with links to the resources. 5,000 uses were recorded in the first year.
  • URLs for all new electronic acquisitions are automatically added to the Library's databases.
    http://www.lib.lsu.edu/epubs/ejournals.html   http://www.lib.lsu.edu/databases/

LSU Libraries needed to streamline operations, reorganize, and add appropriate new programs to meet the needs of today's academic library.


  • Dean assumed Public Services administrative responsibility.
  • Technical services, collection development, document delivery, interlibrary borrowing brought together under one Associate Dean.
  • Mentoring program implemented to assist library faculty in attaining promotion and tenure.
  • Collection development (CD) selection decentralized, assigned to subject specialists.
  • Main library merged reference and government documents.
  • Separate music and education resource facilities created in the main library.
  • Created historical and political units in Special Collections to improve access.
  • Began participating in ILL van delivery network servicing 103 libraries statewide.
  • LSU Libraries participating in University strategic planning.


Substantial and productive relations with classroom faculty and students

Improving communications with faculty and students to promote services and instruction.


  • Published 8-page issue of the Libraries' newsletter in Fall 2001 to promote services.
  • Focus groups explored perceptions of library services: users seemed unaware of array of resources and overwhelmed by size/complexity of main library indicating need to better promote library resources and services and improve library guides.
  • Developed a copyright policy for the Libraries.
  • Began advertising instruction, resources, and services via campus media.
  • Improved distance education services.


  • Letters to all faculty, with copies of the newsletter, were sent in Fall 2001 and 2002.
  • Newsletters available at library service points and mounted on the Web at
  • Focus groups praised electronic journal collection and expressed overall satisfaction with the library and its services; students favored more e-resources.
  • Implemented online tour of the main library; accessed by some 200 students each month.
  • Copyright policy made available on the Libraries' website.
  • Eleven student newspaper ads and twenty campus radio spots increased service demands.
  • As Distance Education (DE) demands rose, the Libraries implemented a DE Web Page (more than 5,000 hits in 2001 to date), appointed a DE Librarian, and instituted an 800 number to support DE services.
  • The Distance Education Electronic Delivery Network (DEED-Net), funded by a $149,348 Board of Regents grant, implemented an Arial network for the states public academic libraries.
  • DEED-Net provided 150 posters and 14,000 brochures to promote distance education services at participating state academic libraries.

Enhancing user relations through 24/7 services, remote access, and electronic support.


  • LSU Libraries established a web site on its own server in 1996:
  • Proxy server implemented to provide secure remote access for users.
  • 24/7 services/access implemented for the University community.
  • Implemented electronic reserves.
  • Computing Services designed a user-friendly University kiosk/portal and, with the Libraries, added links to electronic reserves, indexes/databases, e-journals, LOUIS catalogs, Libraries' Home Page, LSU Electronic Theses/Dissertations, and more.
  • Libraries uses innovative means to maintain accurate links to electronic resources.
  • Focused on DEED-Net for remote delivery to distance education students/faculty.
  • Provide library access/services for related local and civic group members.


  • Libraries' homepage accessed 10 million times last year, averaging 29,000 per month.
  • On/off-campus access to 256 courses in current e-reserves system available 24/7. Down from over 300 last year as more faculty move to self-service e-reserve. Use increased from 39,820, Fall 1998, to 57,771 Fall last year. Annual use exceeds 100,000.
  • Computing Services' kiosk/portal, Personal Access Web Services (PAWS), won the 2000 EDUCAUSE award for Exemplary Practices in Information Technology Solutions; accessed 3.8 million times last year. http://www.lsu.edu/index2.html
  • Software checks Libraries' pages for broken links, reports those needing correction.
  • 2,189 requests were filled via DEED-Net for DE faculty and students in first six months.

Instruction is an increasingly important part of library programs. LSU has taught a for-credit skills course since the 1930s. Books and Libraries was first published in 1936 for the credit course and was used throughout the country. New technologies have demanded new instruction approaches.


  • Web-based instruction modules added to existing credit course.
  • Libraries' instructors continue publishing textbooks and have incorporated electronic instruction.
  • Promoted/increased on-demand, single-shot instruction sessions.
  • Instruction Group created; the 10 members plan courses/outreach activities.
  • Increased number of BI instructors to eight.
  • Special Collections broadened user base by increasing outreach.


  • 50 sections taught with 885 students completing the credit course last year. http://www.lib.lsu.edu/instruction/lis1001/Geninfo.html
  • Instruction Web pages accessed 43,629 in 2001 through November.
  • LSU instructors' textbooks adopted by other institutions: Books, Libraries, and Research; Library Research Skills Handbook; The Research Process: Books and Beyond.
  • Some 800 one-shot sessions offered in FY 00. This year sessions exceeded 900.
  • More than 7,000 students participated in one-shot sessions last FY.
  • Plans in development to offer discipline-specific library skills courses for credit.
  • Special Collections staff serve as guest instructors for approximately 80 classes annually. http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/frames/services.html
  • Special Collections provides online exhibitions funded by state/local grants. "Preserving Lear's Parrots," funded an online exhibit, restored art works, and provided a workbook for 5th through 8th grade school children that won Honorable Mention in the ACRL Rare Books & Manuscripts Section exhibition catalog competition.
  • Guest curators and University faculty from numerous departments act as speakers and participants for exhibition programs.
  • Challenge
    Faculty needed information and instruction on new electronic databases and resources.

    The electronic resources librarian, and another state university colleague, developed "e-struction." Offered the past two years, it includes a series of electronic tutorials, each on a specific tool. The course is now extended to other LOUIS libraries.


    LSU Libraries needed to increase minority staff to meet demands of diverse users.


    • Library Diversity Committee appointed.
    • Minority recruiting efforts increased to fill vacancies.
    • Libraries encouraged minority staff to attend library school.
    • Minority librarians increased participation in campus and professional activities.


    • The Committee and Staff Development officer presented monthly programs featuring speakers, films, and discussions related to race, cultural background, disabilities, etc.
    • Staff now includes 17% minorities: 12.8% Faculty, 25% Library Associates, 37.5% Civil Service.
    • Two minority staff graduated from library school; others now enrolled.
    • Participated in University College program on "Networking With Minority Students."
    • Provided 12 presentations to minority students, summer scholars, faculty/staff in FY 00. http://www.lib.lsu.edu/sci/chem/guides/srs119.html
    • Established instruction program for the Academic Center for Athletes and the Majority-of-One program for African American athletes.
    • Library minority faculty have won the 1997 Black Scholars Award, Black Student Union faculty member of the year, "Distinguished Speakers Series" award, and many others.

    The LSU Libraries has been innovative in its use of partnerships, teamwork, and risk-taking to fund and deliver increased library services and resources. Not only is it a leader on the LSU campus, but the leadership it has exercised in Louisiana has benefitted academic libraries and users statewide. The Libraries' successful activities in achieving its goals have reshaped the organization and the ways in which the University administration, faculty, and students now view us. This may best be demonstrated by the following:

    • The Libraries' budget remained stable while others were decreased during the nineties.
    • Student focus groups commended the Libraries for the library research credit course.
    • The State of Louisiana now funds the major portion of the library network. http://louis.lsu.edu


    1. LSU General Catalog 2001/2002, v. 93 No. 1, p. 10.
    2. LSU Libraries Planning Document 2002/2003, http://appl004.lsu.edu/unitplans2001.nsf