Library Collections Budget News
The Library collections received an additional $700,000 to spend on acquisitions for the coming year, bringing the total collections budget to a level just shy of $11 million. The new money is being used to put a number of collection resources on solid footing, while rebuilding some of our book programs that bring in scholarship from the international arena.
Soaring prices for electronic resources that are much in demand by our students and faculty have pushed the Library in the past few years to pay for recurring access with nonrecurring dollars. The new money will go in part to put these electronic products on stable funding, assuring our users that continuity to the resources on which they rely will continue. We also will be able to make some modest advances in purchasing new electronic products, enabling our students and faculty to continue their research and scholarship from many sites outside the library building.
With these new dollars, we also are able to cover much of the cost of inflation for our journals, ensuring continual access to many of the titles our campus requires for teaching and research. It is very interesting to note that the journal inflationary rates that have plagued the sciences for many years are now borne by the social sciences, with corresponding dropping rates of inflation for the sciences. Engineering, for example, has an inflation rate for 2001 of just 3%, down some 20 points and more from a decade ago. The humanities are enjoying an actual decrease in cost of journals, meaning that more money is freed up to purchase books and journals in areas such as history and classics.
Books from Britain and Western Europe are the focus of a modest expansion in our acquisitions programs that bring in more of the international scholarship needed to support many disciplines throughout the University. After some years of budgetary constraints and cuts in these programs, it is a refreshingly positive trend to be able to refocus collecting efforts on acquiring materials from countries with active and vital publishing programs, such as Germany and Italy.
We also are able to establish a fund for the emerging area of biotechnology. Along with our recent faculty excellence hiring of a biotechnology librarian, this fund will give us some ability to respond to this important new field of research. Finally, we have used some of the new money to absorb spiraling costs in postage, which has risen over 20% in the past year.
Our collections increase in 2001-2002 provides us with an opportunity to stabilize our budget and invest in many items that our faculty and students have requested. In this coming year, we will focus our attention on the Library Allocation Steering Committee recommendations for distribution of new collection dollars. We will model new approaches to allocating money to support our campus needs, based on the direction given us by the LASC report. This work will be handled by the Library Collection Development Committee Budget Subcommittee, which includes members of the Senate Committee on the Library as well as Library faculty. We look forward to sharing the results of this work with the campus community in the coming months.
Written by Karen Schmidt, Associate University Librarian for Collections