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Scholarly Resources: 2020 Reduction Introduction


University Librarian
Jeffrey MacKie-Mason

We welcome your comments:


Once again, the UC Berkeley Library, like all units across campus, faces a sizable cut in budget beginning in fiscal year 2020-21 due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the campus. To meet this target, the Library identified salary savings (through retirement and vacant positions) and a $1 million reduction in expenditures to purchase or license scholarly resources.

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 cut this large affects us all. When we last had to reduce the budget for scholarly resources, in 2018, we had enough warning that we could engage in a year-long review, which included engagement with faculty and students to determine how best to make the cuts. The pandemic budget crisis came on quickly and unexpectedly and our initial decisions had to be made quickly. The cuts to our budget made in October 2020 affect the current fiscal year, which began in July 2020.

On the accompanying page, we describe the principles that are guiding us, and the strategies we have adopted to implement this year’s budget reduction. Unfortunately, we have been warned to expect this lower budget to continue for the next several years, perhaps to get worse. Thus, though we did not have time for extensive consultation to design the immediate reduction in acquisitions and licensing, we can and will assess the impacts on different areas and types of research and teaching, and adjust how the reductions are taken in future years based on what we learn.

As always, our mission is to serve, so we regularly invite input from faculty, students, Library staff, and other campus stakeholders. If you have comments you would like to share, please email

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

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.