May 26, 2022

“Budget Challenges” Cause UNC University Libraries to Announce Collection Cuts

UPDATED POST (October 27, 2021) University Libraries Discusses Recent Budget Cuts in Information Session (via The Daily Tar Heel)

–End Update–

From the UNC University Libraries Website:

As part of the University’s efforts to address its budget challenges, the University Libraries will absorb approximately $2 million in cuts to library collections during FY 21-22 and as much as $3 million during FY 22-23. The only way to reach these targets is through large-scale cancellations of scholarly journals and databases and reduced purchasing of books and multimedia items.

From a  by Provost Bob Blouin and Vice Provost for University Libraries Elaine L. Westbrooks

Staff of the University Libraries will make decisions about cuts and cancellations based on a variety of factors. These include usage data, publisher pricing models and licensing terms, history of inflation, and availability of content through other means. The Library additionally must consider the full range of scholarship and teaching across all disciplines so that none is disproportionately disadvantaged.

The University Libraries remains committed to ensuring that you have the materials you need for your work. Since breaking our package deal with Elsevier in 2020, the Library has learned a great deal about providing access to articles through new interlibrary loan and document delivery methods. We have also shifted in recent years to a model of acquiring many books on an as-needed basis. We will lean heavily on those same approaches in the years to come as we transform the way the Library provides access to materials.

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From the FAQ

Like all units, the University Libraries has reduced programmatic operations such as travel, events, and supplies and has eliminated positions or left vacancies unfilled. However, cutting library collections is the only path to reach such a significant total.

To spread cuts over two years and avoid penalties associated with mid-contract cancellations, the University Libraries will use one-time funding from vacant positions to help extend cuts over two years, but this is only a temporary bridge.

Reduced book purchasing is already in effect. Journal and database cancellations will take place over two years. Many licenses expire December 31. Therefore, a large number of cancellations will take effect January 1, 2022. A second large number will take effect January 1, 2023. Databases due for mid-year renewals will be canceled upon expiration of the current license period.

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Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.