As the worlds of instruction, scholarship, and publishing change, so does the Library. As a public institution, UC Berkeley Library continually adjusts our efforts based on available resources.
The Library is building and preserving collections in a rapidly changing world.
Technology is reshaping the world of information into one characterized by
- constantly shifting expectations for and methods of teaching, learning and research
- increased publishing, especially of digital information
- increased demand from our users to access materials online
- increased demand for access to emerging forms of scholarly publications (e.g., data, blogs, interactive digital publications, etc.)
- common but erroneous beliefs that "if it's on the the internet, it's free to access" and "material in all disciplines is digitized, and no current or future research depends on print."
The budget problem: at once chronic and acute
Libraries everywhere are suffering, especially in this period of worldwide economic downturn. The extremity of the situation is local, UC-wide, and worldwide.
For over a decade, the cost of building library collections has been rising faster than collections budgets. This largely is due to the annual rate of inflation on library materials. It is due, as well, to the growth in knowledge production. We have seen:
- uncovered increases in costs due to inflation.
- fluctuating exchange rates disadvantaging U.S. currency in many foreign markets where we acquire content needed by UC Berkeley researchers.
- a dramatic rise in the number and specialization of journals.
- the availability of full text and searchable electronic versions of items we previously only had in print.
The campus has not increased the UC Berkeley Library's permanent materials budget since 2001.
The three-year, $4.6 million supplement to the Library's collection budget made by Chancellor Berdahl in 1998 dramatically helped the Library to rebuild collections after losses incurred during the 1990s. Part of this money was intended as a hedge against three years of inflation. Through very efficient use of these new funds, the Library was able to protect our purchasing power over not three, but six years. Since 2003, however, we have had to use additional strategies to manage increased expenses.
Since that time, inflation has increased expenses by about $600,000 per year, and this effect is cumulative. In each year since 2003 to cover this growing deficit, we have used a combination of canceling print, reducing book and journal purchases, using one-time funding sources, and fund-raising from private sources. In recent years, generous supplements from individual departments and faculty grant fund sources played an increasingly important role in preserving collections in certain fields.