UNC libraries cope with 12.7 percent budget cuts

Students and faculty members who depend on resources from UNC Libraries might find smaller selections as libraries cope with a $3.6 million funding cut.

Due to University-wide budget cuts, the campus library system implemented a 12.7 percent cut to libraries, University Librarian Sarah Michalak said.

“The $3.6 million is cut from our system spreading across the various University libraries, the Health Sciences Library and the law library,” she said.

Of the total cut, $2.2 million came from the library collections budget for books and journals.

Library administrators chose not to cut any current staff positions, but 25 vacant positions have been eliminated since last year, Michalak said.

“When people throughout the year retired or resigned to go to a different job, we just didn’t fill that position,” she said. “This way, no one was fired.”

Eliminated positions were middle-management supervisors and will make library administration more compact, Michalak said.

Each library endured the same cut of about 12 percent across the board, which Michalak said was less drastic than she initially anticipated.

The cuts will be felt most next year when fewer books and journals are ordered, Michalak said.

The Health Sciences Library is planning on canceling subscriptions to 100 journals the library usually makes available, saving approximately $1,000 each, the library’s director Carol Jenkins said.

Michalak said the extent of cuts to libraries was decided by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney.

“Directors of the libraries chose what to cut from there,” she said.
Health Sciences Library administrators considered reducing library hours to minimize budget impact but have chosen a different strategy.

“We are going to do away with fees that we charge to faculty and students for interlibrary loans,” Jenkins said.

“We decided that we had to find a way to lessen the burden on our users, even if it’s more expense to us,” she said.

Michalak said none of the libraries suffered cuts to hours based on the budget cuts.

Every library will feel the effects of the cuts differently. Wilson Library will not suffer since its funding comes mostly from donations, not the state legislature, Michalak said.

But cuts to all other libraries will be noticeable, she said.
“I think that (because of the cut) there probably are fewer people in the library to help students and others,” she said.

Tara Bhupathi, a recent graduate of the School of Law, said she would not have been able to graduate from law school without the many resources of the Law Library.

“For keeping current with up and coming issues, it’s imperative that we have updated journals and information available,” she said.

“I think that it will impair a law student’s education to not have as many options.”

University administrators had these concerns in mind when doling out cuts, Jenkins said.

“I think the provost’s office may have protected the libraries a little bit,” she said.

“I think they know that a cut to the library hurts everybody because we embody the school’s central purpose,” she said.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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