Contingency fund tapped for $75,000 to meet bottom line
THE SANTA CLARA
January 11, 2017
Clarification: All information attributed to librarian Sophia Neuhaus is from an email to the Communication Department Faculty and Staff.
Students and faculty may be faced with fewer options when they search for a book or research article in the main campus library.
The University Library was required to reduce their acquisitions budget by $250,000 for this fiscal year, according to an email to the Communication Department faculty and staff written by social sciences and government information librarian Sophia Neuhaus.
“The library is not unique in that we got a budget cut this year,” said Rice Majors, an associate university librarian for resources and digital resources.
Majors, who oversees the acquisitions budget, identified a number of areas where spending could be reduced that added up to roughly $175,000. This amount came from reducing book-buying and the number subscriptions products, such as journals and databases, as well as $75,000 that was saved in a contingency fund.
“I had the money in the ‘just in case’ unallocated funds,” Majors said.
There was a five percent cut to the budget for buying new books, according to Majors. In past years, the library canceled old academic subscriptions and added new ones. The library saved a whopping $25,000 by not adding new subscriptions for the 2017 fiscal year. However, the library was forced to cut an additional $75,000 from their budget, which they could only do so by cancelling existing subscriptions, according to Neuhaus.
“Complicating this situation is the fact that the library already paid for many subscriptions this fiscal year and they cannot be cut,” Neuhaus wrote in the email. “The reductions can only come from subscriptions that the library has not paid for yet.”
She also wrote in the email that “some of the decisions might have been different” if the reductions were being made for the next fiscal year.
Due to the short turnaround, professors were not able to provide input regarding which subscriptions should be canceled.
“In the future if we have to make reductions, we would consult with faculty,” said Jennifer Nutefall, a university librarian.
According to Neuhaus’ email, the librarians had to make decisions regarding databases and journals immediately in order to cancel subscriptions to meet a Dec. 1 deadline.
“I think it is unfortunate that cuts have had to be made,” said Laura Ellingson, a women’s and gender studies professor who does qualitative research. “They will somewhat limit the availability of the tremendous variety of journals and knowledge available.”
According to Majors, because most of the resources are online, there is data on the number of clicks that each one garners.
“We go with the stuff that’s the highest cost per use,” Majors said.
In all, eight databases, one microfilm subscription, as well as 40 electronic subscriptions were canceled. However, the library still offers over 1,000 other resources. According to Neuhaus’ email, the cancellations will most affect business, humanities and the sciences.
“Low-use items are low for a reason,” Nutefall said. “That’s why we have Interlibrary loan. It’s not like we completely removed access.”
According to Majors and Nutefall, this is the first budget cut that has been made to the library collection budget since 1991.
Nutefall said the library has a budget just over $4.5 million and was first notified of the budget cut in early November of last year. Following the announcement, the library staff worked together to gather data on cost and usage for some of the subscription products to determine which resources could be canceled.
“We just have to think ahead and plan a bit better,” Ellingson said. “That’s not to say the cuts don’t matter, only that we should keep a good perspective on the incredible wealth of resources still available to us.”
Contact Erin Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.