The Consortium Library Vision and Strategic Plan states: “The Consortium Library is a complex institution with multiple roles. It provides access to authoritative information and instruction on the knowledgeable and critical use of information. It ensures access to knowledge today and to succeeding generations. The library is a place where the fragmented world of knowledge is organized and unified. The library provides access to its collections connecting to a diverse group of library users on and off campus, in the local community, at extended sites and through distance education programs. The library strives to be a place where active collaborative learning occurs by providing a facility for individual and group learning. It is a destination for discovery for turning ignorance into curiosity and curiosity into understanding. The Consortium Library can serve as a powerful force in the educational, cultural, social and economic life of our communities.”
Central to the University’s mission, the Consortium Library provides and maintains collections and resources that support the educational and research programs of the University of Alaska Anchorage The Library has systemically and strategically looked at how it fulfills the UAA Mission and strategic plans. Along with its purposeful vision statements, the Library closely considers curriculum and research needs supporting student success and faculty and staff work.
The Library budget is funded primarily from General Funds (GF), which comprise 92.5% of the overall budget. There is a small amount of revenues (7.5%) generated by or provided to the Library. Based on the ARL practice, the budget was split between personnel and acquisitions, 65% and 35% respectively. During relatively good budget years this split was maintained but it is now becoming more difficult to support. Another important point to consider is that the Library does not receive tuition dollars or student course fees to backfill the budget cuts passed on to the Library during these economic times.
In FY15 the overall library budget was cut by $448,430. In FY16 the budget was cut by another $602,423, for a combined $1,050,853 reduction over those two fiscal years. This represents a total GF reduction of 17%. The FY17 reduction of $741,320 and represents another 12%. FY18 reduction of $80,471 (1.4%) and FY19 reduction of $38,518 brings the grand total cut to $1,911,162.
The library has managed these cuts very carefully by reducing 16 personnel (8 faculty positions and 7 staff positions eliminated and 3 staff positions reduced), library hours, and acquisitions (resources). The library faculty have participated in the decisions of what resources to cut based on their professional expertise, which was supported by data on usage, cost, overlap analysis, and alignment with UAA's curriculum and research programs.
In FY14 the acquisitions budget was just under $2.1 million. For FY16 it is $1.7 million, and FY17 & FY18 at $1.4mil. The library purposely created a large carry-forward, unrestricted fund balance, which went to acquisitions, keeping the cuts to a minimum. In FY18 fewer resources were cut because of the flat acquisitions budget; however, the need to cover inflationary increases resulted in some resources being eliminated. The inflationary fixed cost increase for FY18 was about $84,000. For the fiscal year of 2019, the library budget was given a small reduction and allows for the FY19 acquisitions budget to maintain current spending levels and resources. Library salaries were carefully managed so a small increase was created for acquisitions, which will cover the inflation fixed cost increases and provide a total acquisitions budget of $1.5mil.
Strategy Going Forward
The Library is prepared to take its share of cuts during these tough budgetary times and will continue to manage reduced funding as best it can. It is important to note that as cuts are made to the Library's GF, there is no other revenue to replace the GF cut. Unfortunately, more cuts will mean a reduction of more resources and staffing. While the Library will manage these cuts using data and professional input throughout the process, there will be a lasting impact on the ability of the Library to meet the teaching and research needs of UAA. Fulfilling our role as the knowledge center of the University has been and will continue to be compromised.
If you are interested in supporting the Library financially, so it may maintain its collections and keep materials current, please consider making a donation to the Consortium Library. https://consortiumlibrary.org/about/giving.php