Library to keep permissions, leadership over its IT services

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

Booth Library will maintain permissions and leadership over library technology services under the new information technology centralization plan that started in July 2018.

The plan came to filtration after the Vitalization Project when Workgroup No. 2 recommended a reorganization of the IT structure on campus so it would be more efficient.

In July 2018, the Center for Academic Technology and Support was combined with Information Technology Services, and Joshua Awalt, the interim assistant vice president for ITS, said in an email Tuesday that this was the biggest step in carrying out the workgroup’s plan.

Stacey Knight-Davis, the head of library technology services, brought forward the library’s concerns for the plan during the Jan. 8 Faculty Senate meeting.

She said during the meeting that ITS plans to “take over all library technology infrastructure and control most of library systems in summer 2019.”

Knight-Davis said there was no need for library faculty to relinquish control over library IT services because they are trained and experienced professionals. She also said the library was exempt from the workgroup’s final recommendation.

Discussion over the plan and its concerns continued Wednesday afternoon during a closed library faculty meeting, and after the meeting Knight-Davis said everyone is getting closer to understanding the purpose of the centralization plan.

She said Eastern’s Provost Jay Gatrell reassured library faculty that permissions would remain, though the fine details regarding how the servers in the library will be migrated to ITS.

During the same senate meeting, Gatrell said the “grand plan” is that every server or system on campus be linked to ITS and every individual server have someone who is available as backup.

Knight-Davis said the only questions left now are how this is going to happen and what kind of changes will happen as a result.

However, she and Gatrell said conversation will continue regarding the plan and the library’s role in it, and Knight-Davis said it will make sure that everyone is on the same page.

“This afternoon’s meeting was a very positive one, and I am confident that we will be able to work together to create a collaborative IT environment that meets the needs of the library, faculty and students,” Gatrell said in a statement.

Knight-Davis said originally she was concerned ITS was going to take full control over library technology services.

“What concerns me is every other unit I see work with ITS it’s a slow nibbling removal of control, and when the initial conversation is, ‘We’re going to take full control,’ it makes me quite nervous,” she said at the meeting.

Gatrell said the plan is ongoing, and Awalt said in an email Tuesday that they would like to integrate library IT systems by the end of this year.

Knight-Davis said ITS is doing the best they can do but wants them to recognize that they are entering uncharted territory since the library faculty directly interact with the library servers, something that is unusual.

She said she knows Awalt’s heart and mind is in the right place and he is just trying to do what’s right.

The bottom line, she said, is to talk more about the topic and the details to make sure everyone understands.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].