The University of Maine is a place
where students find and achieve their dreams. As I outlined in my State
of the University Address last month, our vision for the future involves
high academic standards, increased graduation rates, more endowed
academic chairs, and expanded graduate programs, including more support
for graduate assistants. The vision also ensures that UMaine's campus is
a welcoming environment: beautiful, affordable, and easy to navigate.
However, any complete vision of UMaine as the way university life should
be must address the role of our Raymond H. Fogler Library. Built in
1942, our library is Maine's largest and most advanced. The entire state
depends on it to support the highest levels of research and scholarship.
But for many years, the library has faced serious challenges.
Although Fogler Library collections include approximately 1 million
volumes and other resources, for lack of space, about a third of those
collections — books, journals, Special Collections materials, and
documents — must be stored in an annex building. The library also needs
more space to accommodate the many students and scholars who make use of
it every day. In addition to those space demands, the facility is not
yet fully ADA compliant and it needs technological improvements to meet
the growing needs of the 21st century.
The most overwhelming current challenge is the rapid escalation of the
cost of scholarly journals, increasing by about 15 percent annually. At
this rate, our periodicals budget would equal our entire library budget
by FY08, and the entire UMaine budget by FY35.
We are now working on a state strategy to address our desperate need for
an expanded and improved Fogler Library. We need to budget aggressively,
work at the national and international levels, develop a fair and
rational system for determining journal subscriptions, and seek the
necessary funding to keep Fogler Library healthy. We will be requesting
funds in the state supplemental budget to help with cost increases in
scholarly journals. And we will be campaigning for public and private
funds to support a major addition to the library, including necessary
technology upgrades to remain on the cutting edge in the 21st century.
Today we are rebuilding the majestic steps leading to the front entrance
of Fogler Library. The project is part of UMaine's commitment to safety
and stewardship. With it, we are taking the right steps to the future.
Peter S. Hoff
UMaine Today Magazine
Department of University Relations
5761 Howard A. Keyo Public Affairs Building
Phone: (207) 581-3744 | Fax: (207) 581-3776