From the SF Chronicle:
Blame the decrepit state budget, inflation, a shift from paper to electronic research – or all three. But Berkeley has reduced its library spending by 12 percent since 2008, even as the University of Michigan, its main public competitor, has spent 24 percent more.
Berkeley now spends about $50 million to Michigan’s $64 million – and has lost 70 of its 400 library professionals. An additional 20 positions will be kept vacant after retirements over the next three years, Leonard said.
For now, the campus has set aside its library closure plan.
Between 2008 and 2011, for example, campus libraries circulated 33 percent fewer print materials.
Yet people still checked out nearly half a million print books, monographs and journals last year, down from 715,383.
Deborah Blocker was one of them. An associate professor of French, Blocker was awestruck at the quality of the libraries – and the librarians – when she arrived at Berkeley in 2005.
“The first person who contacted me was a senior librarian who said, ‘What can I do for you?’ ” she said.
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