The following campus message was sent on October 1, 2021 by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin and Vice Provost for University Libraries Elaine L. Westbrooks.
Dear Carolina Community:
We are writing to let you know about significant upcoming changes to library collections at UNC-Chapel Hill.
In January, the University shared our plan to address Carolina’s budget challenges. All units have been asked to absorb reductions to both personnel and operations budgets.
The operational cut to the University Libraries will be approximately $2 million in the current fiscal year and an additional $3 million in FY 22-23. The only way to reach this target is through large-scale cancellations of scholarly journals and databases and reduced purchasing of books and multimedia items.
Administrators and staff of the University Libraries have spent this year analyzing expenditures and speaking with publishers and with the University’s finance team. They are now entering a plan to implement the reduced budget over two years.
When the Library has implemented cuts in the past, survey input from faculty members and researchers helped guide decisions. That degree of nuance will not be possible here, nor do there remain minor or secondary materials to cut in any discipline.
Staff of the University Libraries will make decisions about cuts and cancellations based on a variety of factors. These include usage data, publisher pricing models and licensing terms, history of inflation, and availability of content through other means. The Library additionally must consider the full range of scholarship and teaching across all disciplines so that none is disproportionately disadvantaged.
The University Libraries remains committed to ensuring that you have the materials you need for your work. Since breaking our package deal with Elsevier in 2020, the Library has learned a great deal about providing access to articles through new interlibrary loan and document delivery methods. We have also shifted in recent years to a model of acquiring many books on an as-needed basis. We will lean heavily on those same approaches in the years to come as we transform the way the Library provides access to materials.
We recognize that you are likely to have questions about this process and its impact on your work. Your library subject liaison should be your first point of contact for questions about materials that you use. In addition, the University Libraries invites you to one of two virtual information sessions so that you can learn more and ask questions. They will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2-3 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 25 at 1-2 p.m.
Bob Blouin, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Elaine L. Westbrooks, Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian