The Subscription Changes list provides an journal and database subscription renewals and cancellations as of April 2015. The changes summarized here do not reflect any changes that may be necessitated as a result of the 2015-16 budget.
Note: I wrote the lines below before the announcement of the $50,000 cut to the Libraries' base acquisitions operating budget for 2015/2016 and beyond. We are in the process of analyzing what this means in terms of specific cuts to books and electronic resources in the various subject disciplines. Stay tuned.
You may recall that last July I sent you a message concerning journal and database cuts in the Libraries. I write today to update you regarding this matter.
Sadly, little has changed to improve the situation; indeed, where the Canadian dollar was hovering around ninety cents US last July, it is today trading at under eighty cents. A small blessing, actually, since within the last few weeks it was as low as seventy-five cents US. I'm no currency guru, but I have heard nothing recently to suggest that the exchange rate will soon rise to the kind of levels we celebrated a couple of years ago. I dream of sweet parity!
Similarly, as we all know, the budgetary outlook for the University is at best cloudy. Protracted planning and discussions over the last few months resulted in a proposed budget that allocated the Libraries a flat "operational" (i.e., non-endowment) acquisitions line of approximately $540,000. While this was, in the reality of rapidly rising prices (especially for e-resources and databases) and a declining loonie, a budget cut, I was grateful that the news was not worse.
Fast-forward to today, and as we all know, the situation of the University is suddenly significantly worsened, to the tune of nearly another $1M, thanks to the Province's freeze on tuition and cut in its promised allocation to New Brunswick post-secondary institutions. With a budget that is heavily weighted toward faculty and staff salaries, there are few "pots" of free cash available. For myself (and I don't think I'm atypical in this regard), the security of staff in the Libraries is my first priority. And while I cannot guarantee that all vacant positions will be re-filled, I will do whatever is in my power to avoid layoffs of existing staff. The likelihood of further Library acquisitions and subscription cuts is therefore quite high.
The one bright spot in all this is that endowment income for the University -- the Libraries included -- is projected to increase by at 20%. This will be a huge help to those subject areas able benefit from endowment income. The downside is that most endowments carry with them fairly strict conditions set by the donors as to how the income may be expended. Thus, while we might be able to continue acquiring in some subject areas, others lacking such income will not be so fortunate.
With e-resource packages now eating up over 90% of our Acquisitions operating allotment, the endowment "haves" will limp along; the "have-nots" will be in a far more difficult situation. Still more painful choices lie ahead.
All of that said, most of what I wrote in last July's message remains true today, so I'll not repeat it (you can find it here).
Thank you for your patience, understanding, support, and good humor as we transit this challenging period. And as always, I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and concerns.