Faculty Senate Library Committee

Report on Fiscal Crisis at Murphy Library

Faculty Senate Library Committee

March 6, 2008


To: Faculty Senate


Submitted by: Faculty Senate Library Committee

William Barillas (English), Paul Beck (Library), Barbara Bennie (Mathematics), Linda Dickmeyer (Communication Studies), Tim Gerber (Biology), Joshua Hockett (Undergraduate student representative, Spring 2008), Donald LaCoss (History), Kathleen Lynch (Graduate student representative), William Ross (Management), Melissa Ruplinger (Undergraduate student representative), Sarah Putnam (Undergraduate student representative, Fall 2007), Shauna Sallmen (Physics), Chia-Chen Yu (Chair, Exercise and Sports Science), Consultant: Anita Evans (Library Director).



Murphy Library faces a financial crisis. This report describes the growing inadequacy of funding for acquisitions and related services in Murphy Library. 


Funding for acquisitions and related services has been flat since the 1999/01 biennium. At the same time, the increasing cost of periodical subscriptions, electronic resources, and books, increasing requests for ILL/Document delivery services, and the decrease in library student worker FTE have put an additional burden on Murphy Library. The financial crisis is forcing the Library to reduce book purchases, cut periodicals, cancel electronic resources, and cut library student worker positions.


In addition to the increasing subscription fees for periodicals and electronic resources, new majors and programs have been added since 2001. Due to the increasing number of students and faculty for these new majors and programs and the curriculum expansion, the Library needs to keep up a current, solid collection of materials. In addition, professional associations which review programs require the Library to hold a certain collection of academic journals and resources for accreditation purposes. Yet there has not been additional funding for these accreditation purposes. These trends have added to the Library’s financial burden in acquisitions and related services.


Because it is imperative that Library information resources for faculty and student research are adequately funded, the Faculty Senate Library Committee believes it is important to inform the Faculty Senate about Murphy Library’s current challenges and fiscal crisis. This report also includes the Faculty Senate Library Committee’s suggestions on how to manage the challenges in acquisitions and digital information and the growing demand for document delivery/Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services.


While this report describes Library’s efforts to cope with reduced funding, the Faculty Senate Library Committee stresses that the only way to maintain quality services and access is to obtain additional funding. The Faculty Senate Library Committee has submitted proposals last and this year to reallocate differential tuition funds for library use.



1. Acquisitions Budget Crisis (See Appendix A for detailed facts.)

Annual inflation rates have been estimated at 8-10% or higher for library materials. The high inflation rates are primarily due to vendor cost increases across the nation and abroad which the Library has little control over. With inflation at approximately 8% each year, the acquisitions budget purchasing power has declined substantially. Because the Library has not had adequate funds to match the inflation rates, the cumulative effect is that a 71% increase would be needed at an 8% inflation rate to maintain the purchasing power equivalent to FY01 for FY08.


Increasing Cost for Periodical Subscriptions

·        The Library has been facing continual price increases for current periodical subscriptions. 

·        Faculty members have made requests for periodicals that Murphy Library has not been able to meet. 


Increasing Costs of Electronic Resources

·        Murphy Library’s e-resources costs have increased for subscriptions. The budget cannot sustain the increasing subscription fees, and as a result the number of local e-resource subscriptions has decreased by 20 titles from 70 resources in 2003/2004 to 50 resources in 2007/2008.


Increasing Requests for ILL/Document Delivery Services

  • Cutting periodicals has put an additional burden on Interlibrary Loan/Document delivery. Interlibrary loan requests have an increased 115% in the past four fiscal years. Due to the growth in undergraduate research, an expanding curriculum, and increasing number of distance education students, the Library needs to keep up a current, solid collection of materials and ready access to remote information resources.


Increasing Library Usage from Growth, Quality and Access Plan

  • The Growth, Quality and Access Plan is projected to increase Library use among students and faculty in the following years due to the growing number of new students and faculty and programs. Library use already is increasing. As one measure, the gate count increased over 10% from FY06 to FY07. Additional funding for the acquisitions budget for periodicals and electronic resources are critical to meet the demand. 


Declining Book Purchases (See Appendix B for detailed facts.)

  • Flat budgets largely account for a declining number of book purchases.


2. Student Employment

Decrease of Library Student Worker FTE

  • Student employment (student employment and work study) has declined from 12.01 FTE in FY98 to 7.0 FTE in FY07. The FTE has declined because of budget cuts, reduced work study availability, and the increase in minimum wage. Funding has declined from $77,000 in FY02 to $60,866 in FY08. Fewer students have impacted library services such as: reduced assistance at the reference desk; a cut in Special Collections hours; longer turn-around times; less innovation with library technologies; not collecting comprehensive assessment data for building usage, etc.




Library Committee’s Preferred Solutions

1. Request additional funding

  • Differential tuition funds for library use. The Faculty Senate Library Committee submitted a proposal last and this year to reallocate differential tuitions for library use.  Students at other UW campuses including the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and University of Wisconsin-Superior in recent years have approved differential funding to support the university library. While this is not a complete solution, it would help to close the gap.
  • Request Pepsi Funding from UWL.
  • Pursue Legislative Funding for 2009/11. This UW System request is in the initial phases.
  • Other University sources?


2. Other Solutions to help stem the Crisis

·        Periodicals

The Library has cut periodicals in the past few years (See Figure 1). If the acquisitions budget still remains flat, continued cutting of periodicals is inevitable. Tenure/promotion should not be based on publication in “prestigious” journals. Faculty are be encouraged/rewarded for depositing their intellectual works in Minds@UW (institutional repository) and for publishing in lesser known, open access journals.


Figure 1
Periodicals Adds and Cancels















  • Book purchases

Rush or “just-in-time” purchasing to meet users information needs.

Leverage Purchasing:  UW System collaborative book bid.

    • Blackwell’s
    • Each campus must purchase “X%” to get deep discounts on books.



·        Document delivery

o       Charge fees for document delivery. At this time, there is no charge to UWL faculty, staff, or students for ILL/Document Delivery services. However, if an additional funding source is not available to offset the burden, charges may be instituted for ILL/Document Delivery requests in the future. This option has the disadvantage in making this service less available to library users who lack financial resources to cover the service.

o       Set the cap for user’s request of interlibrary loan and document delivery.

o       Reallocate budget from other University sources for Library use for document delivery. 


3. Other suggestions?




In summary, students’ access to authoritative information is a critical component of their academic success. Library collections and databases expose students to diverse and global perspectives and all students across the university’s colleges and departments benefit. Student employees are essential to library operations. Without adequate numbers of student employees, hours and service reductions are unavoidable. Students also directly benefit from library employment. The cumulative effect of an inadequate budget for acquisitions and services since 2001 has resulted in reducing the number of book purchases, cutting periodicals, canceling electronic resources, and cutting library student worker positions. An acquisitions budget increase of $75,000 and $10,000 in student employment are necessary at a minimum in order to maintain the quantity and quality of Library service. It is imperative that immediate steps be taken.




Appendix A Acquisitions Budget Crisis


Acquisitions Budget Crisis

Increasing Cost for Periodical Subscriptions

·        Between FY00 and FY06, $231,964 in periodical titles was cut while $31,451 in titles have been added, a net loss of just over $200,000. In addition, in FY07 the Library was faced with a price increase for current periodical subscriptions of approximately $48,000. As a result, another round of periodical cancellations was initiated. 


·        Faculty have made requests for periodicals that Murphy Library has not been able to meet. Examples of more expensive titles requested within the last year are:

§         Clinical Anatomy (Wiley): $2300/year

§         Protocols in Cell Biology (Wiley):  $2880/year


Increasing Costs of Electronic Resources

·        In the last five fiscal years, due to rising prices Murphy Library has had to reduce the number of e-resource subscriptions by 20, or 40%. At the same time, the library is paying $20,000 more per year, or 12.5% for this reduced number of subscriptions. In FY03, the number of e-resource subscriptions was 70 with an expenditure of $160,857 while an $180,847 budget is projected for 50 resources in FY08.


·        One case in point is the BNA Tax Management Library, a database which is required for the Accountancy program. This database jumped in price from $5,847 in FY06 to $6,242 in FY07 and now in FY08 is priced at $9,635. For FY08 Historical Abstracts is priced at $7,413 compared with $5,912 in FY04. Another example of expected price increases is the electronic database of the American Chemical Society (ACS) (See Table 1). The UW System negotiated a new license which calls for annual 7.5% increases over the next five years. Murphy Library will pay $22,127.20 in FY07 and the costs will increase to $31,766.46 by FY12. 


Table 1
Costs for Electronic Database of American Chemical Society
















·        The UW System Shared Electronic Collection (SEC) budget also has been flat since FY2001. Since that time individual libraries in the System have made prorated contributions in order to add a collective $100,000 to the budget and another $34,000 in 2007/08. A few years ago, UW-La Crosse’s share was $5,320. As of this year, the share has increased to $8,320. Electronic databases also have been cut from the SEC, and UW-L has in some cases has to pick up the title. A recent example is Science Online at a cost of $5,080.


Increasing Requests for ILL/Document Delivery Services

·        Cutting periodicals has put an additional burden on Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and document delivery (See Figure 2). Our distance education students request materials from our library via document delivery. Most of those students are from the Masters of Education—Professional Development program in the Department of Educational Studies (DES). Interlibrary loan requests have increased 115% in the past four fiscal years from 4,926 in FY03 (6,068 in FY04, 7635 in FY05) to 10,598 in FY06, respectively. In FY07, the number of requests again exceeded 10,000 (See Figure 3).   The S&E budget was cut $30,300 in FY04 while costs for library services, such as ILL have been on the increase. Costs for the Copyright Clearance Center have risen dramatically as use has skyrocketed. For one periodical alone in 2006, the copyright fee was $2,030 (still a much better value than the cost of the subscription). There were 84 titles for which we had to pay copyright fees, 17 of which were over $200. Also, the license fee for UW System-wide software ILLiad document delivery software was instituted in the last few years and for FY07 the cost is $4,461.


Figure 2
Document Delivery Requests












Figure 3
Interlibrary Loan Requests





·        Findings from the LibQUAL+ survey conducted in 2004 indicated that of the three dimensions (Collections & Resources, Physical Space/Environment, and Service), survey participants, particularly faculty and graduate students, rated Collections and Resources as the most important of the three dimensions. As seen in Figure 4, Collections and Resources is the dimension perceived to be furthest from participant ideals for graduate students, even below the minimum expectations. The deficit is particularly pronounced for item. IC-8: “Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work.”





Figure 4

LibQUAL Survey (Graduate Students)


Appendix B Declining Book Purchases


Declining Book Purchases

  • For 2005, the 2007 Bowker Annual estimated the hardcover book inflation rate at 9.87%. Flat budgets largely account for a declining number of book purchases. In FY01, the Library purchased 7,705 books for the circulating collection and 858 reference books. In FY07, the Library purchased 4,910 and 749 books respectively.


  • It should be noted that the declining number of book purchases is magnified by the fact that the number of domestic publications has increased over the years. According to the data from the 2006 Bowker Annual reports, “For the second year in a row, American book title output increased by double-digit percentages, reaching another record-setting total of 190,078 new titles and editions published in 2004…”  (p. 516).  There was a 8.41% decline in 2005 according to the 2007 Bowker Annual, but this decline was largely attributed to declines in the juvenile and religion categories.