The announcement of the 2016-2017 tech fees are just around the corner! But what are tech fees, and how do the FIU LIbraries benefit from them?
Tech fees are university fees assessed on base tuition for undergraduate, graduate, law and medical students and used to enhance instructional technology resources for students and faculty. Tech fee proposals are submitted each year in the spring, reviewed by the Technology Fee Advisory Council, which makes recommendations as to which projects should be funded, and is ultimately approved or not by the Provost’s Office.
The Libraries have been awarded over ten million dollars in tech fees over the last seven years, an impressive number when compared to the sheer volume of proposals that are submitted each year. This is due in part to its neutrality, as students from all departments and members from the entire FIU community regularly use the library (for example, one year, the SGA benefitted from a library tech fee proposal when they checked out iPads for use during student government elections). Proposals from the FIU Libraries take into account the needs of faculty and staff. Faculty members will often suggest resources they feel should be added to the collections, while the results of student surveys and observational studies are used as support in other proposals.
Library tech fees have traditionally fallen within one of four categories; one-time purchase resource acquisition, technology-based construction (the Green Library Hub, the Hubert Library ASK! Center, and the high-definition media viewing facilities at both campuses, for example), GIS/Digital Collections, and equipment (both circulating items and standing items such as book eye scanners and self-checkout machines).
Virtually every department has been impacted by tech fees, and many improvements to the Libraries wouldn’t have been possible without the support of tech fees. The renovations to the Hub and the ASK! Center, for example, were million-dollar projects. Tech fees are also responsible for the laptop/iPad checkouts, funding the program when the original budget had dried out. Other funded projects include delivering library content on ereaders, ADA-accessible library scanners, digital film scanners, digitization and preservation of FIU audio and video, and learning and research labs.
Of course, as the university evolves, so do the needs of the Libraries, and there are always future projects to look forward to, including electrical renovations on the 6th and 7th floors, an increase in streaming video, and more e-journal access.
The FIU Libraries will continue to use tech fees to meet university goals, positively affect teaching and learning, and improve the experience of its patrons.