BYU library makes cuts due to deficit

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    By Kirk Blad

    The Harold B. Lee Library is turning books away.

    Since mid-August, the Lee Library has been making cuts to compensate for a $570,000 deficit projected for fiscal year 2000, said Susan Fales, library collection developer.

    The deficit is due to high inflation, relatively flat budgets, a continued high rate of print publishing and the increased demand for electronic resources, Fales said.

    “The church and university have been very generous to us, but due to such high inflation rates, cuts had to be made,” Fales said. “Libraries are not cheap.”

    Fales said the cuts include a freeze on all book orders and the cancellation of 34 scientific journals. The exceptions are reserve, faculty research requests and critical reference books.

    “The science journals were targeted because they are very expensive, input and counsel from department specialists were received before the cuts were made and it could be done quickly,” Fales said.

    The journal cuts will be effective in January, since subscriptions are year long.

    “There will always be those gaps, and for some disciplines those gaps are critical,” Fales said.

    Fales said the cuts will have the greatest impact on the science, business and humanities departments.

    “The cuts will primarily impact the research of faculty, but also create a problem for advanced students who are doing research on their own and can’t find the books they need,” said Stan Benfell, associate professor of comparative literature in BYU’s Humanities department.

    Students as well as faculty are not looking forward to resulting research constraints.

    “With less scientific journals, research will be more difficult and my academic hands will be tied,” said Mark Elison, 23, a senior from Idaho Falls, Idaho, majoring in biology.

    Fales said BYU is one of many academic institutions experiencing budget constraints.

    “Programs, curriculums and research change, and we need to make sure that we are on top of those changes and meeting their needs,” Fales said.

    The last major library cut happened in 1987 when six months of books were canceled. Four minor cuts have occurred in the past 10 years, Fales said.

    “We haven’t had to make serious cuts for a long time. The difference is the electronic materials, which are part of the print budget. It’s stress that we didn’t have until five years ago,” Fales said.

    Fales said plans to rectify the situation include a resource tracking program, the formation of a partnership between the university and teaching faculty and a donor program.

    “We have been give charges to take the experience of BYU beyond campus,” Fales said. “We hope donors will be intrigued by the outreach of our digital libraries.”

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