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Financial Challenges to the Collection, FY12-13

Like all other University of Wisconsin units, the UW-Madison Libraries are facing significant budget challenges. Flat or decreasing State budget allocations inhibit our response to changing market costs. Escalating expectations for immediate access to content compete with desires for depth and breadth. Our collections of distinction demand development and attention just as emergent trends and disciplines do. Ever rising publisher prices and restrictive business models continue to confine us. In the past, the Library has used flexible funding sources (such as gifts or grants) to supplement an increasingly inadequate budget; these funds are now less available for special purchases as they are needed to support routine services. These combined pressures (and more) will result in significantly reduced buying power for collections in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

In previous years, we have focused almost exclusively on our journal and serial subscriptions as a means of balancing budgets. While this has been largely effective in containing costs, particularly in the sciences, we now need to look more broadly at our collection development strategies to determine the ongoing and intellectually justifiable areas of collaboration, support, restraint or cutting. Selection and liaison librarians across campus have been charged with the difficult task of identifying new strategies and then of working with their representative communities to defend and communicate to them more broadly.

While these are tough times for the Libraries' collections, we must celebrate our successes. We still acquire remarkable and immediately relevant resources. We are still committed to curating and preserving our collections. We still actively collaborate - with CIC and CRL for example - bringing our talents and assets with us. We still innovate for the sophisticated researcher and the greater public good. While we need to scale-back in these difficult times, we remain vibrant and committed to the teaching, learning and research of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond.

March 2012

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