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Library Collection Expenditures Reductions (2016-2017)

The Library & Archives will be dropping some database licenses and journal subscriptions, and has temporarily reduced book purchasing. I would like to provide information on our plans and explain why this is necessary.

The Laurentian University library acquisitions budget allocation for 2016-2017 is $2,104,225. This is the same amount as in 2015-2016 and should remain at this level for the next two years despite severe budgetary pressures on the University. This is the highest acquisitions allocation that we have ever had and, unlike several other Ontario university libraries, we have not experienced a reduction to the acquisitions budget in recent years.

However, the unfavourable currency exchange rate since 2013-2014 and chronic higher-than-CPI price inflation on scholarly content have eroded our buying power. Even after considerable expenditure reductions in 2015-2016, totalling over $300,000, we still finished the last fiscal year with a $218,208 acquisitions deficit. We must, then, continue to reduce our purchasing and to drop more licenses to achieve a balanced library acquisitions budget.

To manage this situation, we have taken the following steps:

  1. We have temporarily curtailed routine book selection by our librarians, purchasing only specially-requested and higher-priority titles. If you require that a given book be available for use in a given course, we can likely still purchase the book. As always, you may use RACER, our interlibrary loan service, to access books that are not in our collection. If we can achieve sufficient space in our budget by dropping lower-use databases, we can return to regular book purchasing in the next fiscal year. [Expected one-time savings: about $20,000]
  2. We have reviewed the list of journals to which we subscribed (mainly in print) that are not a part of an e-journal suite. We have cancelled the majority of these titles after considering usage data (extremely low, often null), centrality to Laurentian programming, alternative availability of the journal articles, and the price of each title. Individual articles from cancelled titles can normally be obtained within days through our RACER service. We have attached the list of these journals to this message; if there is a given title that seems to you too important for us not to subscribe to locally, we can reconsider that title, although past usage will be an important factor in any decision. [Expected ongoing savings: about $80,000]
  3. We have identified for cancellation several databases, a number of them e-journal suites, that are lower-use and/or higher-cost/use products. We would like to confer with users of these databases before making a final decision. We have attached a list of the databases to this message. Cancelling such databases does not necessarily mean losing access to all content: bibliographic discovery can still occur through a broader database with a search engine (e.g., Web of Science or Scholars Portal Journals) or a service such as Google Scholar. Some full-text content can be found in other databases or in open access versions, and document delivery through RACER always remains an alternative. [Expected ongoing savings: up to $170,000, some from 2016-2017, the rest from 2017-2018]

Even though the journals to which we anticipate losing “on tap” access represents a small proportion (2%-3%) of the journals to which we retain access, we appreciate that this may be problematic for some researchers, course instructors and students. We have, however, tried to structure our approach such that the fewest people and programs will be affected and such that effects will be softened by partial alternatives. We have been reaching out to departments and programs that seem directly affected, but I invite anyone to contact me or my librarian colleagues to discuss the matter. I thank you for your anticipated understanding.

My best wishes for the holidays (in spite of this unpleasant news!),

Brent Roe
University Librarian

Library contacts

Faculty Liaison Librarians:

Collections Coordinator

Desmond Maley ( ; x3323)

University Librarian

Brent Roe ( ; x4841)