Provost: Gelman’s budget for research materials to increase

The University will increase its funding for new books and research materials for the first time in a decade, Provost Steven Lerman said last week.

The burst of funding would come eight months after an outside review of Gelman Library found it to have sparse resources and staff for a research institution.

The library is given about $4 million to spend annually on new collections – a budget that the University’s recently hired head librarian, Geneva Henry, said likely could not keep pace with GW’s growing priorities in the sciences and engineering fields.

Lerman declined to say specifically how much extra the library will have in its budget, but said he hoped to start adding to the budget annually.

“I hope to add some every year,” he said. “But it’s hard to know five, seven, eight years from now. We might have more money, we might have less, but I’d like to get us on that path.”

Henry said she has begun compiling requests for new collections, looking at books that are frequently requested from other universities or which journals are cited the most in faculty research.

Henry said the March review, along with student lobbying, helped top administrators recognize the need to invest more in research materials. The cost of those collections has increased rapidly over the past several years, she said.

When she sends her requests to the provost, Henry said she will aim high – though she declined to give a specific amount.

“My numbers will be big, and I know we’ll be told that’s probably too much, but no, I will not go in asking for small or even maybe realistic numbers,” Henry said.

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