UCSD libraries contemplating cuts with state budget reductions

The Geisel Library is part of the UCSD Libraries that stand to be affected by state budget cuts. Courtesy: UCSD
The Geisel Library is part of the UCSD Libraries that stand to be affected by state budget cuts. Courtesy: UCSD

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

Budget planners have outlined a worst-case scenario for trimming $3 million in FY 2011-12 — on top of nearly $5 million in cuts since 2008-09 — from UC San Diego Libraries which consolidates six library buildings and staffs into two, and further trims collections budgets canceling journal subscriptions and online databases plus reducing book expenditures.

Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, the proposed cuts were outlined recently in a budget report by Brian E.C. Schottlaender, the Audrey Geisel University librarian, in response to the governor’s recent proposed $500 million cut to the University of California’s budget for next year.

At the outset, Schottlaender’s budget report objects to the current formula used to allocate campus budget reductions claiming it doesn’t factor in the “size of the Libraries’ budget versus the campus’s budget” and doesn’t “protect the academic core.”

“If the Libraries are not central to the academic core, what is?" Schottlaender wrote in his report, which notes that the university’s libraries have sustained permanent budget cuts of almost $5 million — 16 percent of Libraries core base budget — since 2008-09.

In a recent interview, Schottlaender said he was originally asked to prepare a report detailing a $6 million — 25 percent — budget reduction plan.

“Instead, I prepared a plan for a $3 million — 12 percent — reduction,” he said.

The 12 percent Libraries budget reduction plan does a lot of  “compacting.”

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Said Schottlaender: “It would close several libraries and accumulate their functions and collections.”

UCSD spokeswoman Delores Davies said the library buildings that would be closed include the Medical Center Library, the SIO Library, and the CLICS Library, adding only the SIO Library is science-focused.  Davies noted The Science & Engineering Library is currently located in the Geisel Library building, which houses four libraries. S&E would be consolidated in the Biomedical Library. The Medical Center Library in Hillcrest closed April 1.

Schottlaender has presented his budget-cutting plan to all campus deans, Academic Affairs’ Department Chairs, the college provosts, the Academic Senate leadership and the presidents of the Associated and the Graduate Student Association as well as Libraries staff to “pave the way” for serious discussions needed to “downsize and rethink what we do and how we do it.”

Where the plan goes from here is temporarily on hold.

“We’re all waiting for the May revise on the state budget, and the June budget referendum,” Schottlaender said. “After the May revise and the June referendum, we’ll know how big a cut campuses need to take and how big a cut I (libraries) need to take.”

The library head is working with university stakeholder groups to “gather what their concerns are should these closures come to pass.”



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