Chief Librarian to Stay Until UCI Finds Successor
UC Irvine’s controversial head librarian, who was scheduled to retire on Monday, will remain on the job indefinitely while a committee keeps looking for a successor, officials said Friday.
Chief librarian Calvin J. Boyer has been asked to stay on the job “because we are not ready for an orderly transition,” conceded William H. Parker, vice chancellor for academic affairs.
“We are in the process of conducting a national search for the next university librarian, are reviewing nominations and will just have to see how the process goes,” Parker said. “We have asked Dr. Boyer to stay on until the campus is in a position to make a specific decision.” He said it could take from three to nine months to reach a decision on a successor.
Boyer’s administration was the subject of three separate investigations of charges of bias against women and minorities. Employees also complained of low morale and high staff turnover.
One investigating committee concluded that Boyer had a “dubious” commitment to affirmative action and that he lacked skills in solving conflicts and making decisions. Another said that Boyer failed to communicate adequately with staff, but it found no evidence of racial discrimination.
Administrators have maintained that Boyer was not forced to retire.
Parker said Friday that it is possible that an acting chief might be appointed to relieve Boyer until a permanent successor is found.
“The responsibility for designating acting heads rests with this office and we are exploring our options,” he said. “We will look at what is best for Dr. Boyer and for the university.”
Parker said that Boyer has also been offered a job in Parker’s own academic affairs office with a chance to remain on campus until next summer.
Boyer said that he is ready to leave his job on Monday but will do what is best for the university.
“Clearly, having served this campus for 11 1/2 years, I would entertain (suggestions) which are thought would be helpful to it.”
The acknowledgement that two days before the start of classes there is still no permanent successor to lead the troubled library points to continuing disarray, say employees.
“It’s very upsetting,” said one staff member who asked that his name not be used. “There is still battle between groups, it’s still very territorial. Because of his lack of leadership, many of these problems continue to fester.”
However, another staff member said he believes that Boyer has learned from his past experiences and it is appropriate to keep him in the job until a permanent replacement is found.
“I think it is very logical, because he has been there for such a long time,” said William Wong, who is on the eight-member committee searching for a successor.
Boyer would not respond to questions about the earlier allegations or morale, but confirmed that turnover at the library is greater than anywhere else at the university.
Parker agreed, but he also said that reviews of the library’s operation had revealed no major shortcomings.
“The quality of the service provided to library patrons is exceptional, resources are being used as effectively as possible and the quality of new hires keeps going up,” Parker said.
He conceded that low morale may be a problem but attributed it to a budget crisis that has forced slashes in nearly every department on campus.
“There have been no salary increases and people are pulling in their belts trying to preserve the quality of service,” Parker said. “Obviously, there is also uncertainty over the change in leadership, but that goes along with any change.”
On the budget crunch, Parker and Boyer reported some good news for the library: A last-minute infusion of more than $400,000 will avert a budget shortfall that would have meant fewer book purchases this year.
Parker said about $300,000 was reallocated to buy general collection volumes and another $120,000 to support the East Asian language collection.
Boyer said it is probable that an additional $200,000 in funds would become available, although the allocation has not been finalized.
He said the money will allow the library to maintain last year’s book budget of about $4 million and cover expenses caused by inflation, which is running at a rate of 15% to 20% for printed materials.
Parker also said the library’s budget has been affected by the first-ever sales tax on books and magazines.
“The university has responded to our requests for special support and while it will be a difficult year, I expect we will be in better shape than last year,” Boyer said.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT IRVINE LIBRARY