When Universities Gut, Libraries Bleed: How Academic Libraries Respond to Shrinking Offerings

By Ford, Anne | American Libraries, November-December 2018 | Go to article overview

When Universities Gut, Libraries Bleed: How Academic Libraries Respond to Shrinking Offerings


Ford, Anne, American Libraries


When a university cuts majors, programs, or even an entire school, what happens to its library? The obvious answer: Nothing good.

As universities across the country trim offerings in hopes of addressing budget deficits, academic libraries must attempt to maintain services, even as it becomes more and more difficult to fulfill their missions.

"We're really getting slim," says Laura Jacobs, library science professor and interim director of the Jim Dan Hill Library at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The university, which has a reported budget deficit of $2.5 million, has suspended 40 programs, including the library science (LS) minor, since 2014. The library budget has seen large cuts as well.

Suspension means that a program is not permitted to accept new students as majors, not that the program itself is closed. That means that the library must continue to support the suspended programs, even while it has only two staff librarians (not including Jacobs) to serve a student population of 2,500.

"The administration would like us to expand hours," Jacobs says. "That's pretty hard to do." The library no longer maintains a reference desk, instead encouraging students seeking reference help to make appointments with a staff member (something many students appear reluctant to do). Even the number of student workers in the library has dropped, given the elimination of the LS minor.

Painful as it is, Jacobs finds it preferable to cut back on services rather than to spread herself and her staff even thinner.

"You can't split yourself into too many jobs," she advises. "If you're working on updating databases, to mentally shift over to reference or to do instruction for a class or to try to do collection development--it's pretty much crazy-making."

She's also attempted to shore up the library's relationship with university faculty, which, she says, has suffered from the fact that she is the only remaining member of the LS faculty.

"Building the personal relationships that are necessary for collection development has become more complicated because we don't have settings in which we automatically interact with faculty," Jacobs says. "Thinking about the library has dropped to the bottom of their list."

For example, she says, each month she sends Choice book reviews to relevant departments and asks them to alert her to any new items that should be acquired. But faculty response has dropped significantly.

"The music department just says, 'Choose for us,'" she says. "That works okay because I have a music background, so I can do it pretty easily. Whereas with social inquiry, I wouldn't begin to know."

Many miles to the east, a $16 million budget shortfall led the University of Southern Maine to lay off 50 faculty and 100 staff members and eliminate several departments a few years ago. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

When Universities Gut, Libraries Bleed: How Academic Libraries Respond to Shrinking Offerings
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.