Budget and Planning Highlights
The budget problem: at once chronic and acute
Libraries everywhere are suffering, especially in this period of worldwide economic downturn. The extremity of the situation is local, UC-wide, and worldwide.
The campus has not increased the UC Berkeley Library's permanent materials budget since 2001.
For over a decade, the cost of building library collections has been rising faster than collections budgets. This largely is due to the annual rate of inflation on library materials. It is due, as well, to the growth in knowledge production. We have seen:
- uncovered increases in costs due to inflation.
- fluctuating exchange rates disadvantaging U.S. currency in many foreign markets where we acquire content needed by UC Berkeley researchers.
- a dramatic rise in the number and specialization of journals.
- the availability of full text and searchable electronic versions of items we previously only had in print.
- the emergence of new genres of digital content.
The three-year, $4.6 million supplement to the Library's collection budget made by Chancellor Berdahl in 1998 dramatically helped the Library to rebuild collections after losses incurred during the 1990s. Part of this money was intended as a hedge against three years of inflation. Through very efficient use of these new funds, the Library was able to protect our purchasing power over not three, but six years. Since 2003, however, we have had to use additional strategies to manage increased expenses.
Since that time, inflation has increased expenses by about $600,000 per year, and this effect is cumulative. In each year since 2003 to cover this growing deficit, we have used a combination of canceling print, reducing book and journal purchases, using one-time funding sources, and fund-raising from private sources. In recent years, generous supplements from individual departments and faculty grant fund sources played an increasingly important role in preserving collections in certain fields.
The longer term
As is true with all institutions of higher education, UC Berkeley needs to find a sustainable financial model for providing access to and archiving information in support of our instructional and research programs.
The Library can continue to manage resources wisely by
continuing to pursue consortial purchase agreements for core resources, enabling us to negotiate lower prices in those instances due to larger orders.
enhancing cooperative collection programs with UC, Stanford, and others.
working with CDL, the UC Libraries, and other academic institutions to expand and improve our already substantial methods for timely and efficient resource sharing.
maintaining our commitment to preservation of print and extending that to ensuring the long-term viability of electronic materials.
pursuing targetted investments in shared print collections that enable UC campuses to rely on a single print copy of those titles for which we have ubiquitous electronic access.
The academy will have to help by
advising the Library in the ongoing process of reducing collection expenditures to align with available resources.
identifying for the Library the top priorities for on-campus collections.
addressing the current, unsustainable model of scholarly communication, that requires use of the Library's collections budget to purchase from publishers the product of UC-based research, often at exorbitant prices.