University Library Budget Request FY 1998-1999

Executive Summary | Collections | Resolving Structural Cost Issues | Innovative Requests
Appendix: Needs Statement for Academic Services
Summary Chart: Library Budget Request | Innovative Departmental Administrative Requests Chart

I. Executive Summary

The 1998-99 University Library Budget Request recommends funding to restore the collecting capacity of The Library, to establish recurring funding in support of library information technology, and to stabilize branch library services. The budget has two interdependent parts, Collections and Operations, each of which has suffered 30% losses over the past eight years, compromising the Library's capacity to support research and teaching across the full range of Berkeley's academic programs.

A. First Priority: Collections Augmentation.

Funding for the Collections remains the highest priority, as books and journals constitute a strategic intellectual asset for contemporary and future research and teaching. After eight years of inflation-driven reductions in purchasing power, the net cumulative loss to the base acquisitions budget is approximately 30%. Either there needs to be substantial base-budget augmentations over the next three years, with a multi-year agreement on inflation increases, or the University must define academic priorities to guide significant reductions in the rate of growth and depth of library collections. Current ARL statistics show Berkeley now ranked 8th in volumes added, and 4th in current serials.

B. Second Priority: Resolving Structural Costs.

The Operations budget has sustained cumulative reductions of approximately 30% over the past eight years. Three successive VERIPs reduced Librarian FTE by 40%, and aggressive re-engineering of support operations reduced personnel costs in administrative, technical, and Main/Moffitt circulation services. But these personnel reductions have not been sufficient both to fund budget reductions and eliminate the pressures on the budget resulting from unfunded structural costs of equipment replacement and seismic projects. Inevitably, the resulting personnel retrenchments to balance these structural deficits during fiscal year 1997-98 have had deleterious effects on services. This year, The Library requests recurring funding for equipment replacement, and for the restoration of branch personnel lost during FY 97/98. If these two items are funded, The Library can cease its personnel reductions and resume services at 1996/97 levels.

The Vice Chancellor has previously agreed to fund costs of future seismic projects; during fiscal year 1998-99, these will require $629,100 nonrecurring funds.

C. Innovative Requests.

Innovative requests in the 1998-99 budget continue to be driven by two goals from the 1995 strategic plan which has directed all subsequent Library operations: to improve services, and to reduce costs through improved productivity.

D. Appendix.

As requested by The Vice Chancellor, The Library presents possible approaches to rebuilding Academic Services to a level more consonant with its dual mission of supporting research and teaching on the Berkeley campus and serving as a world-class research library.

II. Collections

During the past six months The Library, in cooperation with the Blue Ribbon Committee on the Library and the Academic Senate Committee on Library, has developed data that document the cumulative loss in purchasing power of the collections budget. As the summary attached to Form 4 shows, by any measure, the estimated 1998-99 deficit in the base collections budget is approximately $4 million, since 1989. In addition, anticipated inflation will require that an additional $2 million be added to the base collections budget over the next three years if today's purchasing power is to be sustained. Therefore, The Library requests $3 million augmentation to the base in FY 1999, and an agreement for an additional $3 million in collections funding spread across the two subsequent years.

A. Three year agreement.

The Library seeks to establish a three-year agreement on augmentations to the collections budget. The primary goals of such an agreement would be to:

  1. Stabilize the purchasing power of the collections budget to eliminate inflation-driven serial cancellations, enabling multi-year strategic collections planning;
  2. Allow Berkeley to sign three-year license agreements negotiated by the California Digital Library, and, for the first time, controlling inflationary increases through negotiated rates;
  3. Restore $4 million in lost purchasing power.

B. Year 1.

The Library's request for a $3 million augmentation to the base collections budget this year would accomplish the following:

  1. Make recurring the $940,000 in temporary bridge funding;
  2. Make recurring the $250,000 temporary digital library supplement;
  3. Match the anticipated inflation rate of approximately $750,000;
  4. Restore $1 million in lost purchasing power to the base budget.

An early decision on inflation funding will be helpful: Publishers' subscription deadlines require that the Library begin consultation with the faculty about canceling serial subscriptions by April 1998 if no collections budget augmentation covering inflation is possible this year.

C. Years 2 & 3.

The Library recommends the following strategy for allocating an additional $3 million to the collections base during the following two fiscal years:

  1. FY 1999/00: $2 million, consisting of $1 million to cover anticipated inflation and $1 million to strengthen collections by restoring lost purchasing power;
  2. FY 2000/01: $1 million to cover inflation.

III. Resolving Structural Cost Issues.

The Library requests a total base budget augmentation of $1.225 million to stabilize services at 1996-97 levels by funding equipment replacement and branch services.

A. Equipment Replacement.

Library operations and services depend on reliable, up-to-date information technology; in time digital library investments are likely to provide enhanced services and collections, and possibly operational cost savings. At Berkeley, annual costs for equipment replacement are now approximately $650,000 (compared to ARL Peer data average annual expenditures of $1.3 million). Unlike our peers, the Library's S&E budget at Berkeley has never been adjusted to reflect equipment expense. To stabilize the operations budget, the 1998/99 budget includes a request for a $650,000 augmentation to the base operating budget for equipment replacement.

B. Restoring Branch Services.

The Library's 1995/96 budget request examined the potential impacts of anticipated budget reductions exceeding $1.2 million. These impacts included potential loss of up to 61 FTE, productivity losses, and deterioration in services. The budget request ended with the statement that "faculty and students will not accept reductions in library access or service." Since the 1995/96 fiscal year, aggressive re-engineering of central Technical Services, Administrative Services, and Main/Moffitt Circulation improved productivity and reduced costs significantly. However it has not been possible for these units to absorb the entire reduction in FTE required by campus cuts to the operations budget. In 1994/95 The Library reported a total of 402 FTE staff and Librarians to the ARL; today, there are 360 FTE, a reduction of 42 FTE.

During the current fiscal year, public services have deteriorated as attrition to balance the structural deficit caused by budget reductions, unfunded seismic project costs and unfunded information technology requirements has been extended to the branch libraries. The Committee on Library and other faculty, as well as librarians have all said that further attrition of branch staff or re-engineering of branch operations are not workable as means of achieving budget reductions. Therefore, The Vice Chancellor requested that The Library provide information on resources necessary to stabilize branch operations.

The Library requests restoration of 12 FTE branch staff lost during 1997-98 and 11 FTE to enable all branches to keep up with workload demands and provide consistent opening hours in the major branches. The base operations budget would need to be increased $575,000 to provide this stabilization. During the summer of 1997, The Library conducted a staffing:workload study of all branches. That study identified three key workload measures and analyzed branch staffing to perform this workload. Using benchmark branches from the Biosciences and Engineering branches, which, although not generously funded by historical norms, were able to function at 1996/97 staffing levels and workloads, staffing:workload ratios were normalized across all branches, yielding the total staffing deficit relative to workload of 11 FTE. In the absence of base budget increases to stabilize branches, there will need to be support for reengineering of branch operations, or possible reductions in services.

In addition, continuation of the $126,000 SEIP funding is essential to maintain Main Library Circulation Services.

Funding of these operational costs (equipment replacement, branch staff, SEIP) is The Library's highest operations budget priority and its second priority overall. Without this funding, there will need to be reductions in services.

C. Seismic Project Support.

As authorized by The Vice Chancellor's memorandum of 13 February 1998, $629,100 is identified for anticipated seismic project costs during 1998/99. The allocation for seismic projects is to be negotiated each year.

IV. Innovative Requests

The Library is continuing to seek ways of improving services, enhancing productivity, reducing costs, and generating revenue.

A. Productivity improvement.

Innovative requests this year (Form 1A) build on previous initiatives in The Library's strategic plan. This year's request includes $60,000 to reduce costs associated with student time-card processing. Automated support of time-card processing will improve accuracy and quality of records while freeing staff for more productive services.

B. Service enhancement.

1. Electronic Reserves has been a continuing request since 1995/96. Many universities have successfully implemented automated course reserves, which make available, over the campus network, materials formerly available only at a circulation desk. During fiscal year 1997/98, The Library conducted a successful pilot project, and hopes to implement electronic reserves for most courses over the next three years. This year's request of $137,000 would create online course reserves for the ten largest undergraduate courses. Electronic reserves are a high priority because they will improve services to undergraduates, and lower Library transaction costs.

2. Self-Checkout has been implemented in many public and university libraries, including UC Davis and UC Irvine. The Self-checkout system improves users' efficiency by reducing the time they spend in lines waiting for staff to charge out library materials; it also reduces the operations costs of circulation operations. During 1998/99, with funding of $160,000, The Library proposes to implement self-checkout at Main, Moffitt, Business, and Engineering. Self-checkout is a high priority request because it improves service to our students and faculty.

3. Replacing The Library's Wyse terminals will improve services throughout The Library. Currently, 300 library workstations lack access to web-based services including Pathfinder, Web-Melvyl's catalog and indexing services, full-text services, and the World-Wide Web. Thus faculty and students frequently must search for a PC-based workstation before they can conduct their online library research. Replacement of the 300 remaining terminals with full workstations, at a one-time cost of $600,000 will enable users to access Pathfinder, the Library's new and more powerful catalog, indexing and abstracting services, and digital collections (including the potential titles to be included in the California Digital Library's Science, Technology, and Industry Collections). Although providing access to the increasing corpus of web-based information resources is a high priority for The Library, we have ranked replacement of the Wyse terminals as a medium priority in comparison to electronic reserves and self-checkout. (Note that replacement of the Wyse terminals is a one-time cost; subsequent equipment replacement of these workstations would be covered by the equipment replacement budget requested in section III, above.)

4. The East Asian Library is the only library on the Berkeley campus whose card catalog has not been converted to online form. Until the catalog is converted, faculty and students will have to search both the online and card catalogs to gain comprehensive information about the library's East Asian collections. In addition, online circulation cannot be effectively implemented until the catalog is automated. One-time funding of $300,000 will automate the East Asian Library catalog, thereby improving services to the users of that library. It is essential that the East Asian Library catalog be automated before the move into the new East Asian Studies Center and Library. Because of the relatively small number of UCB faculty and students who will immediately benefit from this project, The Library has ranked it as a lower priority than those items above, although the online catalog would also allow other UC campuses to gain easier access to information about EAL's collections.

C. Revenue Generation.

Revenue Generation was mandated as a goal for The Library, as for the rest of the campus. Therefore, a task force was constituted to review the possibilities for entrepreneurial initiatives to improve our revenue generation capacity. Examples of the kinds of enterprises that might be developed include document delivery, fee-for-service reference and research services, and selling of advertising on The Library's website. Clearly, the sooner we begin to develop our enterprises, the sooner they will begin to generate revenue. Although the likelihood that there will be significant profit from these enterprises is slight, there remains the possibility of modest recurring income. Therefore, we propose a three-year investment of $128,000 per year, from campus sources, to be dedicated to development of library enterprises.

V. Appendix: Needs Statement for Academic Services

Finally, The Vice Chancellor has requested an analysis of critical academic program needs. Although not a part of this year's budget request, the needs outlined below can form the basis for future discussions between The Library and the Academic Senate Committee on Library and the campus administration regarding rebuilding professional staff.

During the past eight years, the Library has sustained a cumulative loss of 40% of its librarians. These losses have had deleterious effects on The Library's ability to develop library collections and to deliver services supporting research and teaching. The Library has developed two types of analyses to define librarian staffing needed to support academic programs: 1) a normative metric related to peer institutions, and 2) an itemization of academic programs currently not receiving adequate professional staffing. These two analyses provide alternative approaches to rebuilding the librarian cadre in support of traditional library operations. They do not suggest new programs of the types in operation in many peer libraries (for example, instructional technology support or assistance with scholarly publishing and electronic text projects). The Library anticipates that such new program definition will follow appointment of a new University Librarian.

1. Metric: In 1994, LAUC and The Library Administration formed a joint task force to study librarian staffing, campus-wide, at Berkeley, and in peer institutions. This task force determined that Berkeley's ratio of 8 faculty per librarian in fiscal year 1989/90 had risen to 12 faculty per librarian by fiscal year 1992/93. The report further noted that ratios in other institutions varied widely, but that seldom was the ratio as high as at Berkeley (Stanford 5:1; Harvard 3:1; Yale 3.5:1; however Michigan 12:1; Illinois 12.5:1). That report recommended that Berkeley reduce the ratio of faculty to librarian to 10:1 within five years. Based on the 109 librarians employed at that time, and the anticipated faculty "omega" of 1420, an addition of 33 librarians would have been required to meet that target. A recent review of Librarian staffing shows that the ratio of faculty to librarians is now 14:1 (1150 ladder faculty; 82 librarians). Achieving a ratio of 10:1 would require the addition of 33 positions at a cost of approximately $2 million.

Defining Academic Program Need: Rather than using historical or peer norms to suggest a numerical target for librarians on the Berkeley campus, another approach is to review critical professional vacancies which currently exist within The Library, and which must be prioritized and rebuilt over the next few years if Berkeley is to retain its commitment to corresponding academic programs. The Library has identified 31 critical professional staffing needs; funding of these positions would require that $1.9 million be added to the operations budget.

Budget Charts FY 1998-1999:

  • Summary of the Library Budget Request FY 1998-1999
  • Innovative Departmental Administrative Requests


    Copyright © 1998 Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
    Authored by Peter Lyman, University Librarian, February 27, 1998.
    Document maintained by: Ann Moen
    Last update 3/5/98. Server manager: contact