Supporting Scholarship in Universities: A Response to the Growing Cost of Information Services
In research universities the priority given to libraries in the allocation of scarce university funds is very high. Support for the major scholarly resource for many faculty and students is widespread among faculty, and almost as strong among students. During the past decade, libraries have done well in the competition for funds. At Brown University, our advisory committee on the budget considers more than twenty different important functions and concludes that the top three priorities include the libraries. After reviewing budgetary allocations elsewhere, I believe that this is also true at many other institutions.
If this is the case, we might well ask why there is concern among administrators and librarians about the inadequacy of library support, and about the deterioration of library collections. Both of these perceptions are real: the number of volumes added annually to collections decreased from 1976 to 1982 and increased only in 1983, 1 and the allocation of funds to preserve the collections held and needed for future scholars is far short of the minimum necessary. 2 The reason for the problem is evident. The cost of purchasing books, serials, microforms, and similar materials and of providing the needed library services has risen more rapidly than has the income to universities, the general higher education price index, the