UVa Library Press Releases
Frequently Asked Questions about Library Budget Cuts
Q: Why is the budget situation so bad?
A: Basically, the state of Virginia does not have enough revenue for to pay its expenses. Earlier in 2002, the state made cuts to cover a $3.8 billion shortfall. In August the Governor announced an additional $1.5 billion shortfall for fiscal years 2002-2004, bringing the total revenue shortfall to $5.3 billion.
For a detailed explanation of the state's financial crisis,
see the Governor's site: http://www.governor.state.va.us/Initiatives/Budget/Budget.htm
For information on the University's overall budget cuts,
Q: What percentage is the Library being asked to cut
from its budget?
A: The Library had already cut 4.6% from its budget for 2002-2003, or about $800,000. In response to the projection of the additional $1.5 billion state shortfall, the Library has had to cut another 5.5%, or $900,000, from its budget this fiscal year. The University Administration has returned about $400,000 to the Library to restore cuts in Library hours and cuts in the collections budget. So the Library's cuts to date have totaled approximately $1.3 million in 2002-2003.
Q: Why did the cuts have to be made so fast, without
consulting with students and faculty?
A. The state ended its 2000-2002 funding biennium in July, 2002 and began its next cycle for 2002-2004. As the Governor explained, the need to make cuts in the 2002-2004 budget became clear in May. By August the continuing drop in revenue collected by the state made another round of cuts inevitable. So the need to begin planning for the cuts occurred in May-August: exactly the time of year when most faculty and students are away from the University for the summer. With the resumption of fall activities, we consulted with the faculty library committee (http://www.virginia.edu/majorevents/committees.html), with Student Council (http://www.student.virginia.edu/%7Ecouncil/committees/university.html), and with other faculty and students.
Q: Is there a bright side to any of this?
A: Yes. The crisis has made the Library's core mission--maintaining the collections and providing access to them--more visible. It's forcing us to focus on what's most important to our users--and it's made them aware of the Library's role in their education and in the community overall. We've received overwhelming letters and emails of support, ranging from students to faculty, to staff, to people who use our collections across the country. And we have also received wonderful shows of volunteer support from staff, students, and the local community: see http://www.lib.virginia.edu/press/02-03/budgetsolution.html
Q: What am I going to see as a result of cutting the
A: Last year our collections budget was $5.0 million. At present this year the collections budget has been reduced by approximately $600,000, to $4.4 million. On top of this reduction is the continuing inflation in the prices of journal subscriptions and books. This inflation will reduce our buying power by another $300,000. So the total reduction in funding for collections this fiscal year is $900,000, or 18% since last year.
By the time the budget cuts were imposed this year, we had already paid many of our journal subscriptions for the year. So the book budget has to provide a substantial part of the reduction. We expect to buy one-quarter fewer books this year than last year.
We have also dropped subscriptions to printed journals where we have subscriptions to the electronic versions of the same journals. We have stopped binding all journals and books this year. And we have cancelled various electronic indexes, microform sets, etc.
For next fiscal year (2003-2004) we will have to cancel
at least $300,000 of journal subscriptions, in addition
to buying fewer books again.
Q: How did the hiring freeze affect Library hours and
A: At present, 26 of the Library's fulltime positions, or 12%, are vacant. We are now at the 1976 staffing level--27 years ago--despite a 21% growth in student enrollment.
On a volunteer basis, Library staff are sharing duties to maintain key services. Because staff in all areas are stretched thinly, you may see some declines in the speed with which your questions are answered or books are processed or retrieved for you. Nevertheless, we are trying hard to ensure that you get what you need from the libraries as efficiently as possible.
Q: Now that the freeze has, er, thawed, will you be
restoring those positions?
A: We are planning to fill four positions that are crucial to our ability to deliver service in key areas. The others, however, we will keep frozen for the time being.
Q: How are library hours affected?
A: Library hours were cut by 20% in early September in an effort to begin saving money for the cuts expected to come in 2002-2003. Some 80 student assistant positions were left vacant. Thanks to a grant from the University Administration, it has been possible to begin rehiring students and restoring hours. Most of the hours lost to the budget cuts, with the exception of the science departmental libraries, have been restored. The hours will remain in effect for the remainder of the academic year. Check here for the complete list of hours.
Q: Why did the Library cut the number of printers and
switch to a pay-for-print model?
A. When the state's financial crisis hit, we had to find immediate ways to meet required budget cuts. Outsourcing printing to the University's Printing and Copying Services (PCS) department saved the Library $200,000 in maintenance and supplies. It also reduced the amount of wasted paper and recycling costs, both of which were a source of concern to students and staff. And it freed remaining resources to focus on core services, such as maintaining and providing access to collections.
Q: Which libraries have printers?
A: The University's Printing and Copying Services (PCS) began installing swipe-card printers in most libraries in the fall of 2002. You can use a pre-paid PCS card (available from the machine in Alderman or elsewhere on grounds) to print your work.
You can also capture your work by saving it to a disk, email, or, if you are a student or faculty member, to your home directory on the University server.
Q: What about the ITC lab in Clemons?
A: ITC switched their lab in Clemons to the PCS swipe-card system in January 2003. Printing in Clemons and all libraries is now available at PCS print stations. See http://www.itc.virginia.edu/printless for more information on printing at the ITC lab in Clemons.
Q: Why aren't the construction projects affected by
the budget cuts?
A: The construction projects include the new Harrison Institute/Small Library in front of Alderman and the renovation of the Science and Engineering Library in Clark Hall. These projects are not affected by the budgets cuts because: 1) the University had signed contracts in place before the cuts took effect, and 2) the funding comes partially from the sale of bonds specifically for construction and is not considered by the state to be "general funds" that can be cut. In addition, funds for the construction projects include money from private donations that are outside the state's funding.