As part of the University’s strategic budget realignment process, the USF Libraries – Tampa campus is tasked with decreasing recurring spending by $2,033,500, or 15.3 percent of the Educational & General (E&G) base budget of $13,256,510 (see Fig. 1).
The distribution of spending across all formats of library collections is depicted in Figure 2. This is important to the context of our realignment strategy because, although collections budgets have not grown in 12 years, costs in the largest categories of expenditures increase each year: e-journals by 3.5-6 percent; e-books by 3 percent; and databases by up to 3 percent.
An added complication is the pervasiveness of “Big Deals” – journal collections that are bundled or consolidated into increasingly larger collections under a few publishers such as Elsevier, Springer/Nature, and Taylor & Francis. Once serving as opportunities both to decrease expenditures and to increase access to leased content, now we are often presented with “take it or leave it propositions” that leave little room to control escalating costs. A further complication lies in the fact that much of this content is not owned by the library, rather it is leased for the term of the contract only.
To meet the requirements of the realignment strategy, it was necessary to 1) surrender vacant and soon to be vacant positions; 2) eliminate, suspend, or modify five programs; 3) decrease operational expenditures; and 4) cancel memberships. However, because the majority of the base budget is tied to collections, the impact must largely accrue to our collections budget, primarily recurring subscriptions (see Fig. 3).
The 15.3 percent budget realignment will be accomplished over a two-year period, with $1,383,500 or 68 percent of the total scheduled for 2020/21 and the remaining 32 percent ($650,000) in 2021/22.
This unprecedented process will challenge all of us, but our commitment to providing USF faculty and students with access to the content they need for research and instruction is unwavering. We will meet these needs through any means available to us.
Please direct questions concerning the financial context to Dean Todd Chavez at firstname.lastname@example.org.