Academic Libraries: Budget Cuts Force Kansas State University Libraries to Reduce Hours and Staff, Cut Journals
Kansas State announced Friday that Hale Library will no longer be open 24 hours during the regular school year.
The decrease in hours comes after university-wide budget cuts caused Hale to lose almost a million dollars in general funding over the past two years. The same cuts also contributed to the 5.8 percent increase to student tuition for the 2016 fiscal year.
The cut in hours is expected to save Hale $110,000 annually.
The library first moved toward being open 24/7 on Oct. 3, 2006. At the time, the hours were extended because of the influx of traffic Hale received between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. according to a July 16 article in the Collegian.
The reduction of hours is the result of balancing large cost increases in subscriptions and general use budget reductions imposed universitywide. The university imposed one-time callbacks in FY 2016 of $10.7 million and then reduced base budgets totaling $11.6 million in FY 2017. The budget reductions were an outcome of state general fund reductions and a modest student enrollment decline. The impact to K-State Libraries over the past two years is a loss of almost $1 million in general use funds.
The budget decrease coincides with a dramatic increase in the cost of maintaining quality research collections.
Journal prices have increased 6 percent annually, on average, with the cumulative result much higher. For example, from 2010 to 2015, the cost of subscription packages from just five major publishers increased $417,000, or more than 21 percent.
Because collections and staffing account for more than 90 percent of K-State Libraries’ expenses, there are few options for cost savings. The Libraries administration recently made the difficult decision to discontinue several journal subscriptions along with staff reductions of 17 FTE through attrition between FY12 and FY16.
“Unfortunately, this latest cut will primarily impact students,” Dean of Libraries Lori Goetsch said. “Reduced building access limits access to computers, internet access, printers, and scanners, spaces for both group collaboration and quiet study — all key to the academic lives of K-State students. We are working with the smallest Libraries budget in a decade, and we have to make adjustments according to our financial reality.”
The following services and spaces will not be affected:
• “Ask a Librarian” services remain staffed more than 80 hours every week through chat, email, telephone, text, service desks or by appointment.
• K-State Libraries faculty members with diverse subject specialties are available for instruction and research consultations.
• The Anita C. Lehner 24 Hour Study Area, on the first floor, remains open 24/7 year-round. The room is equipped with six computers and a printer.
• Two self-checkout machines on the second floor allow patrons to check out books when Library Help is closed.
• Faculty, staff and students have access to online resources from off-campus 24/7.
K-State’s open access initiatives are also part of the effort to create affordable access to current academic research. The Libraries’ Center for the Advancement of Digital Scholarship will continue to promote the Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative, open access publishing and more.
Read the Complete More From a Kansas State University News Release
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.