Scholarly Resources: From Jeffrey MacKie-Mason

University Librarian Jeff MacKie-Mason

University Librarian
Jeffrey MacKie-Mason

We welcome your comments:
scholarly-resources@lists.berkeley.edu

What are scholarly resources?

Scholarly resources are materials that are needed by UC Berkeley faculty and students including but not limited to books, journals, archives, audio and visual recordings, data files, databases, and other collections in either print or digital format.

Colleagues,

The University Library, like all units across campus, faces a sizable cut in campus funds for fiscal year 2017-18. To implement this year's permanent reduction of $2.4 million, we have identified savings in three areas: salary savings (through retirement, open positions, or positions moved to one-time strategic gift funds), operational savings, and a $1 million reduction in expenditures to purchase or  license scholarly resources.

This year will be the largest and most challenging for Berkeley, and the Library, as we work to eliminate the deficit based on a four-year plan stipulated by the Office of the President. The cut to our scholarly resources budget will likely be the most visible, and perhaps most upsetting, across campus. The reductions are painful to the Library and the scholars we serve.

Providing access to scholarly resources is one of the Library’s core services. We are a public good that benefits the entire Berkeley community — connecting researchers with materials, regardless of discipline, department, or school. A reduction this drastic affects us all.

Some may ask “why reduce spending on scholarly resources?” Unfortunately, when faced with a reduction this big, there aren’t “good” places to cut. The Library, as documented by the recent Faculty Commission, has been suffering very large reductions over the past 15 years. For example, we've already reduced staff FTE by 27% since 2004, and are making additional personnel reductions this year. By embarking on a thoughtful, transparent, and inclusive process to reevaluate our scholarly resources spending, we aim to minimize the impact on researchers as best we can. 

We have an interim, one-year plan to reduce collections expenditures for fiscal year 2017-18. We will use the coming months to plan and implement a more permanent strategy. I have asked Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources, to lead this effort in collaboration with the Library’s Collection Development Leadership Group.

As always, our mission is to serve, so we will be sharing draft plans with faculty, students, Library staff, and other campus stakeholders, genuinely seeking input. We will have more details for campus departments in February. In the meantime, please find additional details in our FAQ. Immediate feedback can be sent to scholarly-resources@lists.berkeley.edu.

Jeffrey MacKie-Mason
University Librarian
Chief Digital Scholarship Officer
Professor, School of Information and Professor of Economics