Students thumbing through research materials at USF’s Tampa campus Library may soon find their fingers slipping through cracks. These cracks are where additional resources would have been if they are not sacrificed during budget cuts.
Budget cuts at USF took two slices from the Library’s budget, for books and journal articles, called book Other Capital Outlay.
Jim Gray, acting director for the Library, said $159,000 was cut during the summer and $320,000 in the fall. These reductions have already put a temporary halt on books. The librarians and faculty representatives will be prioritizing books and periodical subscriptions to consider what should be bought or renewed.
Gray said the Library staff is concerned because certain things may not be purchased for student and faculty needs.
“These are going to be hard decisions because we don’t know the price increase (for materials),” Gray said. “There’s also the possibility of future cuts if the economy doesn’t do well.”
Larry Heilos, director for Collections, said an immediate impact has already been felt in the Library approval plans.
The plans are arrangements with a book vendor, Yankee Book Peddler, that sends the most recently published books on the Library’s request list to the Library. Heilos said the plan is an efficient way to receive useful books, but it had to be put on a temporary hold.
“This plan eats up a large amount of cash,” Heilos said. “We are not canceling the plan, only putting it on hold to see what we have spent.”
Heilos said the Library notified the book vendor in December to hold the shipments to see how much money they have left for this fiscal year, which ends this June.
“It’s hard when shipments keep on coming in to tell what money we have left and what to spend on,” Heilos said.
John Keeth, acquisition librarian, said the Library approval plans were allocated for $900,000, but with budget cuts, it was reduced to $840,000. Then, the shipment of books had to be put on hold, but it should start again in February or March.
“We hope much sooner than March,” Keeth said. “We want to rework the profile to keep everything.”
The Library must also look at the profile for Collections development, which reviews subscription renewals to journals and periodicals.
Library staff and faculty representatives are going to discuss what subscription materials are necessary.
Keeth said the Library has to be prepared for the worst-case scenario if budget cuts strike the department again. Keeth said the Library staff is expecting budget cuts to continue for the next fiscal year, which begins in July. And they want to be prepared.
To further prepare for next year’s budget, the Library may have to make some adjustments to its Virtual Library, an online service for searching resources in books, journals and databases.
“This year was committed basically to protecting it,” Keeth said. “July is a whole new story.”
Keeth said some materials on the Virtual Library may be eliminated, depending on the new budget. “If the budget cuts continue, some hard choices have to be made here,” Keeth said. “Pain will be felt – there is no way to get around it.”
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