Study ranks research library funding

The University’s total library expenditures are only about one-fifth the size of Harvard University’s, the library with the largest research budget in the nation, according to 2007-2008 data from the Association of Research Libraries.

During the academic year the ARL studied, GW’s total library expenditures amounted to $23,490,425 – a figure that ranks as the 58th largest budgetary value among 113 university research libraries across the United States and Canada that supplied data for the study.

Total expenditures used to develop the statistics included library materials, monographs, microform units, government documents and volumes, as well as salaries and wages for staff and operating costs.

The largest ranking library expenditures belong to the storied Ivy League Harvard University, which totals $117,884,297. Georgetown allocated $25,913,015 to its libraries that year, whereas Howard University budgeted $10,273,315 – the lowest ranking number in funding of all the rankings. Data for American University was not provided.

Boston University – one of GW’s market basket schools – designated $21,007,389 for libraries. But New York University, another market basket school, authorized nearly double the funding both GW and BU did that year, creating a grand total of $44,602,730 in library expenditures.

Aside from the funds the University directs to GW’s libraries, 16,506 students opted to contribute $50 to the library through their tuition bills in the 2010 fiscal year. This contribution provided an additional $825,317 in funding, said Andrea Stewart, associate university librarian for administration, development and personnel.

The voluntary library gift option can be unchecked on tuition bills in the event that a student does not wish to donate. There is a 60 percent retention rate for these donations.

“Some of these gifts may have come from the same individuals as repeat gifts, and some may have been individual gifts,” Stewart said.

The Class of 2010 also allotted about $31,000 of funding for the renovations of Gelman’s first floor that have yet to be designated to specific items, Stewart said.

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