November 19, 2017

UC Libraries, Citing Budget Woes, Seek "Creative Solutions" from Vendors

By Josh Hadro

Purchasing is already “under scrutiny;” further major cuts are coming

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  • Some campuses facing 20% cuts for 2010
  • Voters’ rejection of relief proposition compounds budget shortfall
  • Time has come for "creative solutions"

Facing an extraordinary statewide budget shortfall, exacerbated by voters’ rejection of ballot measures for relief, the University of California (UC) libraries have written an Open Letter to Licensed Content Providers [PDF] seeking understanding from vendors on pricing. 

Currently, the statement said, "[m]onographic purchasing has already been seriously curtailed, and every electronic content license is being placed under careful scrutiny."

According to the letter, "targeted reductions to library materials budgets for fiscal year 2010" could be as high as 20 percent at some UC campuses, compounded by additional cuts possible in 2011. As a result, the libraries are asking companies to be amenable to "creative solutions that can preserve the greatest amount of content to meet the information needs" of the UC academic community.

Possible solutions
Some of the creative solutions called for by the statement include:

developing processes for individual campuses to disengage from systemwide agreements without penalty to other campuses and without penalties being levied upon re-entry; deeper overall discounts when new or add-on products are acquired; and in some if not many cases, outright cost reductions.

The UC libraries are not the first to write or sign on to statements expressing such a sentiment, and explicitly cite similar examples from the Association of Research Libraries and the International Coalition of Library Consortia

More recently, the NorthEast Research Libraries issued a statement expressing to vendors the recent library hardships. However, this latest statement from the UC libraries appears to be the first to come from a unified system, smaller but more tightly integrated than some of the looser coalitions signing on to the ICOLC statement.

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