Gelman Library’s budget for purchasing new materials has not changed in 6 years, resulting in a decrease in the amount of resources the University is able to purchase each year, a member of the Faculty Senate said.
University spokeswoman Emily Cain declined to comment on the amount allocated to Gelman’s resources in the acquisitions budget over the past 6 years, but University Librarian Jack Siggins said GW libraries have been forced to cut subscriptions to serials – magazines, newspapers, journals, annuals and periodicals – and databases due to a 10-percent increase in the cost of these resources per year.
“It certainly looks like neglect has been the pattern for 6 years and I don’t think it is something that we want to continue,” professor David McAleavey, library chair of the Faculty Senate, said.
Siggins said it’s cheaper to buy print titles than digital copies, which cost an average of 40 to 50 percent more.
“The real questions is what the library of the future needs to look like,” McAleavey said. “We are just in the process of trying to figure out how to address the issue in a responsible way. I don’t think the Faculty Senate is going to tug on the administration’s sleeve and say, ‘Please, couldn’t you give us more money.’ I think what we are going to ask for is, ‘Let’s develop a plan that talks in long-term serious ways.’ “
McAleavey said the acquisitions budget needs to be increased, or the library needs to take in more philanthropic donations to stay current with the digital trend.
“The University is also in the process of trying to squeeze cost savings out of its operations and where to put the money that is saved. It seems to me that if none of that money is going towards enhancing the library, some of that money should be going in that direction,” McAleavey said.
Siggins said there are other solutions that do not include increasing the library acquisitions budget, such as taking advantage of “innovative opportunities such as Google Books and growing back files of digitized content from publishers.”
“The libraries use every means possible to provide as much access as we can to as wide a world of content as possible, and we do so with the support and encouragement of the University leadership,” Siggins said.
McAleavey said it is of the utmost importance for students and faculty to have access to cutting-edge library resources.
“I sure would like to have the resources here on campus that would really make it the case that when people come to GW, join the GW community, as faculty and students, they enter an environment that can support their more advanced research as well as the practical needs that undergraduate students have, as well as graduate students,” McAleavey said.
The number of books added to the library collection has remained constant, with 20,000 books added each year, boosted as a result of gifts to the library to supplement the acquisitions budget.