Challenges for academic libraries in difficult economic times

Added by Catherine Gray on 18 March 2010 11:54

A new guide from the Research Information Network focuses on how academic librarians are experiencing and responding to financial cuts in the current economic climate. 

Research Information Network - Press release, 18 March 2010

Based upon data gathered in the UK and internationally, and focus groups with senior librarians during late 2009, the guide looks at the financial position of libraries, their strategies for dealing with challenging economic circumstances, and the value of libraries.

After a decade of growth in budgets and services, academic librarians now expect a sustained period of cuts over the next three to five years. The scale of these cuts means librarians are having to reconsider the kinds and levels of service they can provide in support of their universities missions. 

This guide shows how librarians are responding to the issues of balancing expenditure between information resources and staffing and how they plan to sustain levels of service, as well as developing new services to meet new needs. It demonstrates that library directors need the support of senior managers across the higher education sector, as well as from publishers and other information providers, to help address the challenges, as well as the opportunities, faced.

Michael Jubb, Director of RIN, said:

Libraries have for long played a central role in the lives of universities, in supporting learning, teaching and research. Like the rest of the higher education sector, they are now facing a renewed and intensified period of financial stringency. This guide outlines the key issues that library directors must address, in cooperation with senior managers in the university and information sectors”.

Toby Bainton, SCONUL Secretary, said:

Higher education institutions in the UK are making some difficult decisions. In planning for financial adversity it’s important for senior managers to recognise how essential libraries are to institutional goals.
“The UK higher education sector enjoys global renown and its steadily improving library services have been at the heart of its growth and development. Now libraries specially need the recognition they deserve.”

Challenges for academic libraries in difficult economic times is available at Hard copies are also available to distribute to colleagues, email

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