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The Proposal

The MU Libraries’ Proposal for Student Investment in the Libraries

In an era of unprecedented change in higher education, nothing has changed more fundamentally or more rapidly than university libraries. Information must be available to students and faculty in multiple formats, at any time, and in any place. Library spaces now include group study rooms, technology labs, informal work spaces and cafes, all with an expanding array of equipment. Skilled librarians and staff support teaching, learning, and research in an increasingly complex information environment.

At MU, an austere budget climate has resulted in MU Libraries falling behind our peers in services, space and collections. With the enactment of Missouri Senate Bill 389 limiting annual increases in tuition and fees to the Consumer Price Index, there are few viable options for increased campus investment in libraries. That’s why we are reaching out to students to help transform MU Libraries into a dynamic, learning-focused library for the 21st century.

Working closely with MSA and GPC executive committees, MU Libraries’ leadership has developed a plan for investing in our library system. The plan includes modernized spaces, innovative services, and expanded collections.

The student vote will take place on Nov. 16, 17, and 18, via email or at polling places in the Student Center. Students should watch for an email about the MSA election.

Summary Proposal gray dot Full Proposal gray dot Proposed Budget
  • 24/7 access
  • Improved web and mobile services
  • Expanded research consultation services
  • Digital media support
  • Expanded instructional outreach
  • Support for distance learning & online services
  • More power outlets and improved wireless access
  • Expanded Bookmark Cafe
  • Enhanced quiet study spaces
  • New collaborative spaces
  • Digital Media Lab in Ellis
  • Technology to support media creation
  • Electronic classrooms
  • Digital signage and displays
  • Expansion to offsite storage facility
  • More books, more journals, more digital collections
  • Access to core scholarly databases
  • Popular reading collection
  • Film and non-print media collections
  • Support for open access publishing



Why is the library fee important now?

The MU Libraries have reached a tipping point. Thirty years of consistently eroding funding have taken a toll on collections, facilities and service capacity. The libraries now face further decline, placing our libraries in a comparatively low ranking with our peer institutions.

The libraries have begun to plan for cuts to collections, hours, and services as a way of managing the mandatory campus 2% give-back, on top of other initiatives which have taxed the budget. With an infusion of new funds, and with a new partnership with students, the libraries could strategically begin to create new user spaces, maintain and build collections, and improve the level of library services.


Why is MU struggling to afford adequate funding for the Libraries?

The cost of information resources consistently increases annually by a higher rate of inflation than the Consumer Price Index (CPI). It is rare that the inflation rate for scholarly journals dips below six percent annually. The enactment of Missouri Senate bill 389 limits increases in tuition and fees to the CPI, leaving us with few viable options for increased campus investment in libraries. MU’s comparatively low tuition, combined with limited increases in tuition and fees, has held down costs to students. However, this has created an austere budget climate in which the MU Libraries are falling behind peers in services, space and collections.

What will be the cost to individual students?

The fee is based on credit hours, and is incremental over six years in order to alleviate undue cost without commensurate benefit to students who may not stay here long enough to see the changes. See the Fee Schedule for details.

How will the funds be used?

With the renovation of Jesse Hall nearing completion, the MU Libraries have an immediate need to renovate over 65,000 square feet in Ellis. This spring we will engage the student body in a series of forums on the use of space in our Libraries, both function and design. These renovations will be among the first investments made if a student fee were to pass. In addition, we plan to offer 24/7 access, to significantly expand collections available to students and faculty at MU, and to address long standing compensation issues for staff.

Can you give me a quick summary of the proposal?

A one-page summary is provided here.

Will graduate and professional students be affected?

Yes. The graduate and professional students will pay the fee if it is voted in. These students will also benefit from increased information resources, improved library spaces, and expanded services as a direct benefit of their fees.

What changes are being considered for the library buildings at MU?

See the Full Proposal for information about upgrades to spaces in Ellis and the preliminary drawings for Health Sciences.

What changes have other university libraries made?

There are multiple ways that university libraries are changing to adapt to ever-changing technologies, information formats, and evolving services. You may want to take a look at some quick examples of what other libraries have done.

How can I learn more about what is being planned?

The detailed proposal is available for you to review.

How can I provide my feedback?

We welcome your feedback. A comments page is available for this purpose.

How can I help?

We are looking for students who would like to serve as Ridenhour MU Libraries Student Ambassadors, which is a group of students with an interest in representing the needs of students to the library administrators and who would like to talk with fellow students about library services and needs.