UNCG Libraries Collections Budget Changes for 2023/24

Overall Context

Like other campus units, the Libraries are experiencing budget reductions. For the six years leading up to 2023/24, ALL of the UNCG Libraries' budget cuts have been taken from travel, equipment, furniture, supplies, and other operating budget lines, and through the elimination of one quarter of the libraries' faculty and staff positions. NONE of those cuts were applied to the collections budget. But because the Libraries have been assigned an 8% budget reduction ($840,000) for 2023/24, we are no longer able to fully protect the collections budget. Approximately 75% of our budget reduction is being taken through the elimination of 7 vacant positions. The remaining 25% is being taken from collections. Despite the fact that we are yet again protecting collections from their proportional share of the cuts, this reduction will inevitably result in high-impact cancellations. Unfortunately, we are anticipating additional (and more painful) collections cuts for the following year (2024/25).

A draft plan of the proposed collections cuts was posted to the library web site and linked from the library home page in early April, 2023. We notified all department heads and departmental library representatives that the draft plan was available, encouraged them to notify their departmental colleagues, and allowed four weeks for campus responses. Based on the input we received, we made some tweaks to the plan and will begin implementation as invoices arrive.

Summary of cuts for 2023/24

Our collections budget has three major components. All are affected by the budget reductions.

  • Books

    We are reducing departmental book budgets by 17%. We are also reducing or eliminating allocations to several special purpose book funds, and terminating our Project Muse ebook package. Although we are reducing the book budget, we anticipate that improved efficiencies will allow us to add a similar number of new book titles in 2023/24 as were added 2022/23.
    More detailed information on changes to the book budget

  • Journals, magazines, and other continuing subscriptions

    The library provides access to over 100,000 journals. About 10,000 of those are current subscriptions directly from the publisher. We are canceling nearly 500 of those subscriptions. For some journals that we cancel, we will retain access to current issues through other formats and/or platforms. For canceled titles for which we have no alternative current access, Interlibrary Loan can typically obtain articles for UNCG students and faculty within 2-3 days.
    More detailed information on changes to the serials budget

  • Databases

    The University Libraries provides access to over 600 databases and other electronic resources. Many of these are either freely available or provided by NC LIVE, a centrally funded state-wide database provider. UNCG pays for 84 database subscriptions and will cancel six of those during 2023/24.
    More detailed information on changes to the databases budget

Comments and Feedback

By assigning all cuts to other budget lines over the past six years, and by shielding collections from its proportional share of our cut this year, the UNCG Libraries have made collections our top spending priority. Nonetheless, we have to enact reductions for 2023/24. This draft collections cut proposal makes every effort to minimize the impact of these reductions. The Libraries will continue to provide current access to the vast majority of our journals, databases, and other resources and our collections will continue to grow. If you have questions or concerns about the context or details of these collection budget reductions, please send comments to Tim Bucknall (bucknall@uncg.edu), Assistant Dean for University Libraries.