The Library Budget, 2010
A Letter from University Librarian Karen Butter
The Library has been asked to reduce its budget by at least 15% in response to the statewide fiscal crisis. With this magnitude of reductions, the library cannot continue to operate as it has in the past. The FY10 budget will require canceling subscriptions, reducing staff, resizing our operations, and eliminating services to meet the fiscal challenges.
As background for these decisions the library has 4 main budget categories -- personnel, operations, information technology, and materials. Personnel is the largest budget item at 66% followed by library collections at 17%. Approximately 71% of our operations are funded by the state. Thus, a very large portion of the budget will be reduced.
Over the past several months I have met with Library staff, the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost and Academic Senate Library Committee members to develop scenarios for the reductions. In addition to reductions, we are also looking at a new campaign for library gifts, grant support and new services that generate revenue.
We remain committed to our basic principles -- to achieve a balance between funding current operations and investing in the future. These principles include:
- Continued focus on outstanding customer service
- Preserving access to unique library materials
- Advancing learning management initiatives
- Creating the Teaching and Learning Center on the 2nd floor
- Digital access to current library materials.
We will reduce the Parnassus Library schedule by 22 hours a week effective September 7, 2009. These reductions include closing at 10:00 pm most nights and all day Saturday when UCSF usage is lowest. Additionally, the Mission Bay FAMRI Library will be closed on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Library arrived at this new schedule by reviewing usage data and determining the minimum hours we could reduce while still cutting costs at the necessary level. We will continue to analyze usage data and consult with students and other users to help us determine an optimal schedule of hours in the future. We are also identifying options for study space on campus that students can use when the Library is closed and will review extended hours during finals.
Books, Journals, and Databases
The collections budget will be facing a 7-10% reduction requiring significant cuts to library books, journals, and databases. Even with a flat budget, we experience inflationary costs that reduce our purchasing capacity. A modest 4% price increase requires an additional $60,000 just to maintain the current journals. Some publishers have held the line on price increases for the next year, but this only provides temporary relief.
A careful analysis of subscriptions, licenses, and recent purchases is underway to identify targets for cancellation. We will continue to eliminate material in duplicate formats as we have in past years. Additionally, little used reference and other databases will be canceled. We are continuing to review low use material, understanding the need to maintain significant journals used by smaller programs.
In general, the journal pricing model is not sustainable and we must work with faculty to look at new strategies for scholarly publishing.
These are very difficult decisions, and we know they may affect your immediate access to information. We invite your comments and suggestions.
Personnel and Operating Budgets
We are reviewing staffing levels for all services to identify operational efficiencies and ways to optimize the use of technology. We have eliminated vacant positions and have a temporary hiring freeze for all but essential positions. Some services will experience reduced staffing but we will work to maintain high standards for customer service. To reduce IT expenditures we will extend the life of servers, desktop, and public workstations. Additionally, we are reducing supply purchases and staff travel to meetings.
While we are taking budget reductions of historic proportions, the Library has received a small amount of new funding for high priority campus projects. Some are underway now and others will be initiated if additional funding is received. These projects support the campus and Library's Strategic Plan and create opportunities to provide new services.
These are very challenging times and we are forced to make very difficult decisions. We look forward to working with the UCSF community in meeting these immediate challenges while continuing to make progress in strategic areas.