Regent libraries could see cuts


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Officials are worried about what cuts to acquisition funding for the University of Iowa Libraries could mean for their collections.

A portion of the proposed Republican budget aims to cut acquisition funding by 50 percent.

Ed Shreeves, the associate university librarian and director of collections and scholarly communication, said he’s never heard of such a severe decrease.

“A cut of that magnitude would force us to take drastic action,” he said. “We’d have to cut out about half of what we buy.”

There is approximately $2 million left in the university libraries’ budget, so purchasing would be left at $1 million. If such a cut were instituted next year as well, it would hit the library system’s $11 million to $12 million budget, which supports all campus libraries except the law library.

The cut would mainly affect the humanities and social sciences — as opposed to engineering and health sciences — because they rely on books, rather than journals, which have already been purchased for the fiscal year.

“We’d have to stop buying, and there would be a hole in the collection that we probably wouldn’t be able to fill,” Shreeves said.

UI junior Kelly Grogg, who works at the Main Library circulation desk, said she believes books are the most helpful and reliable sources with which students can conduct research, and she has seen this firsthand while working at the desk.

“Students literally return 50 to 70 books at the end of a semester,” she said. “Especially graduate students, who are busy working on their theses.”

David Carrasco, a UI international-studies student, said the library is vital for students.

“Students need the resources available to succeed,” he said.

The cuts are part of a larger Republican-proposed budget bill that seeks to cut funding to several areas of K-12 and higher education.

The Republican budget, if passed, would cut funding for sabbaticals for 18 months for state university faculty and cut $15 million from the state Board of Regents’ budget. If passed, the bill would also affect state university libraries.

The last time UI Libraries saw a cut in funding was in the 1990s, Shreeves said. In fact, the budget has received 5 percent increases for the last eight years, he noted.

But he said that means nothing compared with rising costs.

“If there is no increase, it’s essentially a reduction because the cost of books and cost of journals routinely increases by 8 or 9 percent a year,” he said.

The library systems still doesn’t know exactly how the cut will affect staffing and buying.

The university’s process of choosing books goes through numerous tiers, which will be largely affected by the cut. Initially, subject specialist liaisons are assigned to look at books intended for purchase.

The responsibility to purchase is then delegated to approximately 25 people in the acquisitions department, who purchase the books. Shreeves job is to oversee the acquisitions.

“It’s hard to know what we would do,” he said. “The staff would in that area would certainly have less to do.”

Shreeves said the worst part is not knowing how it will affect the library system because library officials haven’t seen a cut of this level ever before.

“It’s frustrating not to know exactly what’s going to happen,” he said. “Reduction at that level requires quite a bit of planning, and that’s difficult if you don’t know what’s coming to pass.”

> Share your thoughts! Click here to write a Letter to the Editor.

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.