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Scholarly Resources: 2022-24 Budget Reduction Plan


We welcome your comments:

2022-24 Budget Reduction Overview

Due to an extremely challenging budget situation the Library must reduce its collections budget by $1.7 million over the next two years. Added to our recent reductions, this will bring the total collections budget reduction to $4.425 million since 2016 – an approximately 35% reduction of campus, state, and unrestricted funding for collections. In the current 2022-23 fiscal year, an initial $850,000 will be cut from selectors’ discretionary allocations which are used for print and digital books, media, datasets, and the like. In the following year, the remaining cut of $850,000 will come from a reduction in recurring annual costs such as subscription databases, journal subscriptions, ebook packages, and journal packages.

Fiscal Year 2022-23 (Phase 1)

As in the past, the Library decided that the most appropriate way to distribute the reduction was to base it on each disciplinary group’s percentage of last fiscal year's total collections budget expenditure (serials, books, ebooks, data, etc). Once the percentages were established, they were applied to the subject division’s discretionary allocations to achieve the $850K reduction goal (see chart). Division heads and directors then worked with library selectors to balance the impact of this permanent reduction to the discretionary (aka monograph) allocations across the disciplines within their division. The same procedure will be used to determine the targets for the upcoming $850K serials cut in spring 2023 (more on this in the box below).


Discipline's Percentage of the Total Collections Budget

Phase 1 Reduction Total

Arts and Humanities



East Asian



Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS)


$251,173 ($183,056 deferred to serials reduction)

Life and Health Sciences (LHS)


$157,808 ($115,776 deferred to serials reduction)

Social Sciences






The Bancroft Library was exempted from the collections reduction process since most of their acquisitions and licensing budget is derived from restricted endowments. The EPS and LHS Divisions did not have sufficient discretionary (monograph, etc.) budgets to meet the phase 1 reduction target so this will be addressed in a higher target for the serials reduction in phase 2.

Fiscal Year 2023-24 (Phase 2)

For the serials reduction, a working group made up of representatives from across the Library’s subject divisions has been established to develop criteria and metrics that can be used to evaluate serials for cancellation. Ebook packages, journal packages, transformative agreements, databases, and UC-wide agreements will all be included in the review. Library selectors and liaisons will use these criteria and metrics to complete the serials review and then share the proposed cancellations with the UC Berkeley campus community as part of a wider consultative process in Spring 2023.

The current collections allocation model is based on historical past practices that may not reflect current research and teaching needs, any potential savings from a serials cancellation project and/or potential future increases to the collections budget will be realigned to support these new and current needs. 

The final cancellations must achieve a minimum of $850K in savings. More information about the plan for the serials reduction, including the final target amounts, will be shared when available. 

What is the Reason for the Reduction?

In short, the Library is operating with a smaller staff and fewer resources. Since 2003, student enrollment has increased 40 percent while inflation-adjusted Library funding per student has fallen by nearly half.

One reason for the decreased funding is the long-term disinvestment by the state in public higher education. Adjusted for inflation, state funding per student at Berkeley is less than half of what it was in 2005, dropping from $20,539 per student to $9,036 per student — a 56 percent decline. Inflation-adjusted tuition since 2003 has increased only $5,000, leaving a net reduction of $6,500 per student. Although philanthropy has been increasing, it has not made up the difference. 

In the spring of 2023, the Library will share its renewed vision for collecting, and will provide an opportunity for faculty, students, and staff to weigh in on the proposed cancellations of databases and journals.

And in the coming months, the Library will be working to develop a new strategic plan. The Library’s new strategic plan will be informed by Berkeley students, faculty, staff, campus leaders, and Library staff, and will lay out a sustainable vision for the years ahead.

What Can Library Users do to Help?

The Library will seek input in crafting a strategic plan that prioritizes serving the current Berkeley faculty and students and fulfilling the broadest range of needs, as possible, while taking into account the Library’s reduced budget and workforce.

Faculty, students, and others who use the Library can help by: 

  1. Sharing experiences, ideas, and perspectives: Respond to the call for comments for the serials reduction lists in Spring of 2023. Reach out to discuss these collection reductions with your subject librarian

  2. Being advocates for the Library: Share the value and importance of the collections in your work with campus leaders, leaders within the University of California system, and state leaders, who need to hear that the Library — its spaces, collections, and staff — are essential to the UC Berkeley experience, and help make the university among the best in the world.

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