Substantial cuts will cause the Virginia Tech University library to cancel nearly $900,000 worth of subscriptions in the 2009-10 budget year. The university plans to cancel $500,000 worth of subscriptions to accommodate library budget cuts, while $400,000 worth of cuts will account for rising costs of subscriptions to journals and electronic resources. University professors and researchers have been asked to advise the library about the articles and resources that are most important to them so those subscriptions will not be canceled.
With Tech facing $11.2 million budget reduction for next year, we are well aware that sacrifices need to be made. Students and faculty really need to look at resources they use a lot, and trim the resources that are expendable. For instance, we don't think its too much of a stretch to say that dropping Adams' Liquor Handbook (savings: $690) won't be too much of a loss. But you can go to www.lib.vt.edu/budget/how.html to give all of the suggested reductions your own consideration.
Tech is only making a weak resource weaker. Tech's library budget currently ranks 100 out of 107 in overall funding among the Association of Research Libraries. In the interest of maintaining, at the least, mediocrity, there are better things from which to glean funding.
Take the new 27,000 square foot, $12 million expansion to McComas Hall. When completed the addition will be used mainly by the Recreational Sports Department and will have available the newest versions of cardio and strength equipment available. While the expansion is initially being funded through loans, we will essentially be picking up the cost through a substantial hike in the student recreational fee, which is currently $94 for full time students.
We can put $12 million into one of our two gyms - a resource available, not to mention, through several private companies off-campus - and we can't put a million dollars into the library? At 100 of 107, a million dollars barely gets us up to pathetic. But it would be a start.
Ultimately most of us come to college to learn, not to work out at the gym. The library should be one of our core resources. It doesn't make sense to cut funding for the library because it is crucial to student learning at this university. A very meager additional fee from students could help the library to not only keep but also expand its resources.
Above all else, the library is an important symbol of the university's dedication to learning. Maintaining a library at the bottom end of the national spectrum is truly, truly sorry.
The editorial board is composed of David Grant, David Harries, Laurel Colella, Alexandra Kaufmann and Jenna Marson.