Board of Trustees approves contracts, new library resources

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The Board of Trustees approved the upgrade and purchase of new wireless networking equipment as well as the purchase of new books and online resources for Booth Library at its meeting Friday.

Bill Weber, vice president for business affairs, addressed the board on the need for new wireless networking equipment.

He said Eastern had a major networking upgrade in 2004 to the infrastructure and the equipment from then is beginning to deteriorate.

“We have in place a four-phase plan for replacing and upgrading our various network switches,” he said. “This purchase would be for phase one of the upgrade process.”

The process will cost $305,169.50 and will be put in place over the next few years.

The board also addressed the addition of new resources to Booth Library.

This is a purchase made annually and includes addition of books, journals, databases, abstracts, indexes, yearbooks and newspapers, and is not limited to just print, but to electronic media as well.

Weber said Eastern has been doing business with EBSCO Information Services for many years and that EBSCO’s online research databases are some of the primary content providers in Illinois.

“Through this purchase, our faculty, staff and students get access to a wide variety of journals and other publications,” he said.

The amount, which is not to exceed $725,000, comes from appropriated funds.

Allen Lanham, dean of library services, said the library has been moving toward electronic resources because patrons can access them all over the world.

This sparked discussion with the board about the benefits and downfalls of electronic resources over print resources.

“The decision for the library here at Eastern to move to electronic access is for the convenience of faculty and staff as well as for the actual library because we don’t have to have print journals on the shelf,” he said.

President Bill Perry said the most important thing about library resources is access.

“Electronic resources at our library or at any library in the consortium, save us money and time that we can invest in our students,” he said.

Perry said another benefit of electronic resources is space.

“If you can buy things electronically, you don’t have to have that shelf space,” Perry said. “We will always want certain resources like historic books to be in print, but if you’re able to get more resources electronically, you don’t have to worry about expanding the library someday.”

The board also approved the Contract Renewal and Successor Agreement for the University Professionals of Illinois, Local 4100, which agreed to a 1.5 percent increase across the board for the next four years.

The UPI ratified the tentative agreement on Sept. 17, 2012, which will affect approximately 659 employees in the bargaining union.

Roger Kratochvil, the chairman of the board, said the agreement is effective Sept. 1, 2012 through August 31, 2016.

Labor agreements for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 399 and the Teamsters Local were also approved.

The board delayed the approval of a board policy amendment proposal involving public comments until its next meeting, to take place Nov. 9 in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Robyn Dexter can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]