January 20, 2022

Library Budgets: New Year Brings Brighter Outlook for Library Collections at UNC University Libraries

From the UNC University Libraries:

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz will direct $2 million to the University Libraries annually, providing relief to strained library budgets and softening the impact of planned cancellations. The recurring funds will come from the facilities and administrative (F&A) costs built into research grants to support core University operations.

Library staff have worked closely with administrators over the past year to address financial challenges, including campus-wide reductions and the high costs and excessive year-to-year inflation in the price of scholarly journals, which are national trends.

This $2 million is in addition to $800,000 previously added as a one-time contribution to the Library’s budget to help combat inflation in the current fiscal year and a $1 million contribution to address a budget shortfall in FY 2021.


“I am grateful to the Chancellor for recognizing the urgency of this situation and taking action,” said Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks. “The University Libraries will continue to do our part to help Carolina meet its overall budget goals while working to advance the teaching, research and clinical care mission of the University.”


Westbrooks said that research universities everywhere face challenges when it comes to scholarly journals.

“This is an industry that takes the research done at Carolina, that our faculty create and peer review for free, and that is largely paid for by taxpayers, and they sell it back to us at unreasonable prices,” she said.

These conditions make library budgets precarious and especially vulnerable when institutions must balance their budgets.

Westbrooks urges researchers to learn more about the scholarly communications system and to use their position to leverage change.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.