Library budget woes unaddressed

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Eyeopener News Team

Ryerson’s library cannot acquire new resources unless the school provides permanent funding, an employee at the library said.

Jane Schmidt, manager of the Collections Services Team, said the school’s operating budget has failed

– and has ever since she started working at Ryerson – to consider surging prices of electronic subscriptions for journals and databases, giving the library one-time-only cash rather than base funding.

A 2010-11 report from the Canadian Association of Public Libraries, put Ryerson dead last in terms of library funding – 3.16 per cent of the school’s total expenditures went to the library.

And while the school strives to boost enrolment to get more government grants, that only adds to the library’s woes.

The prices of subscriptions, which take up almost 80 per cent of the collections budget, go up as enrolment increases, Schmidt said in an email.

“[Subscriptions] are subject to inflationary increases just as the university utilities are,” she said.

Schmidt voiced her concerns to Paul Stenton, vice-provost university planning, at a budget town hall on March 4. He said her comments were helpful.

Besides one-time-only cash, the library has coped so far by shifting funds usually spent on books, a situation Schmidt said is “clearly unsustainable.”

“This is disadvantaging the research agenda of the university, in my opinion,” she said.

But interim Provost John Isbister said government budget cuts have every department feeling the pinch.

“In spite of this, we are providing and will continue to provide excellent service in every unit, including the library,” he said in an email.

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