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University Libraries spared major cuts to collections

Although University Libraries had planned for a $1.3 million reduction in its collection expenditures for 2017-2018, these cuts will not go forward this year. Because of the huge impact this cut would have had on researchers at MU and the other campuses, the University administration has agreed to cover the Libraries’ collections fund deficit. The Libraries are thankful that this decision was made, and we will continue to make every effort to provide the resources that are most critical to the work of our faculty and students.

This year’s projected $1.3 million cut reflected a reduction in the campus budget and expected journal inflation costs. A cut this large in the Libraries budget would have left us unable to afford journal package deals from major academic publishers, and we would have had to start negotiating the purchase of individual journal titles with reduced collection funds. These actions would have affected all UM system libraries due to cooperative buying agreements between the campuses.

Budget shortfalls of this magnitude have been an ongoing problem for the Libraries. Last fiscal year, the Libraries had a $1.2 million collection cut. This led to a 20% cut to the collection funds of all subject specialists. We also negotiated all of our journal packages down, so that we are receiving fewer journals, primarily in the sciences. In addition, the number of journal titles we rent instead of own was increased. Consequently, we continue to work with faculty and students to maintain access to needed resources through Interlibrary Loan service and increased use of open access.

We are happy to report that our collections will be minimally affected by this year’s budget. Some packages will be re-negotiated, and to balance journal cuts to the sciences made last year, the book funds for the humanities and social sciences are being reduced 20%. However, because the increasing cost of journals is an ongoing issue for the Libraries, the subject specialist librarians will continue to communicate with and ask for input from the faculty and students in their areas. Thank you to everyone who has already provided input on collection decisions and please contact your subject librarian with any questions or concerns.

Taira Meadowcroft

Taira Meadowcroft is the Public Health and Community Engagement Librarian at the Health Sciences Library at the University of Missouri.