BY CARYS MILLS
Ryerson has struck a deal that will let graduate students and faculty use the University of Toronto’s libraries for free.
But the deal isn’t free for Ryerson as it will cost the university $70,000 for the academic year.
“The university should pay the fee, not the individual,” said Ryerson’s provost and vice-president academic Alan Shepard, whose office is footing the bill.
The agreement comes less than two weeks after the University of Toronto started charging outside students a $200 fee per year.
“We’d all been talking about how to do this,” said Carole Moore, the University of Toronto’s chief librarian. “We were just looking for everyone who’s using the library to contribute.”
According to Shepard, Ryerson’s increase in graduate programs could have put pressure on the University of Toronto’s library, which is already facing budget cuts.
Last year 361 Ryerson community members used the University of Toronto’s libraries, taking out over 7,000 items. According to Shepard, these numbers were used to determine the payment needed from Ryerson.
“It’s sort of hard to calculate what this is worth to the university,” said Shepard.
“The university’s library is one of the world’s greatest,” said Ryerson’s president, Sheldon Levy. “As Ryerson develops graduate programs, its close proximity to Robarts becomes increasingly valuable.”
Jermaine Bagnall, Ryerson Students’ Union president, said the deal is “bittersweet.”
“It’s great that the grad students have access… but it doesn’t address the real issue,” he said. According to Bagnall, library funding should be coming from the government.
“It’s a shame they’re finding ways to make large sums of money,” said Naomi Arsenault, an immigration and settlement studies graduate student. Arsenault, who went to the University of Toronto for her undergraduate degree, said she would only use their library if she couldn’t find the information she needs at Ryerson or online.