Penn State Libraries reducing collections budget for 2020-21 fiscal year

July 02, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Because of budget constraints, Penn State University Libraries will need to reduce spending on library collections by about $2.2 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Although order cancellations will be necessary, the University Libraries remains committed to providing access to scholarly resources needed for the Penn State community and to increasing diversity in its collections.

Why are cancellations necessary?

As with other Penn State colleges and departments, the University Libraries’ budget, including funding allocated for library collections, has been reduced. Additionally, the Libraries’ base collection budget is not large enough to cover annual inflation increases of renewable content licenses and some other purchases.

In the past, temporary funding support was provided from library operations and the University. The Libraries has received additional funding from the University and hopes to receive some funding reallocated from other library budgets. Also factored in will be applicable endowment funds available to use. However, there is much uncertainty regarding the amount and timing of potential additional funds. Therefore, at this time budget administrators need to operate within the confirmed collections budget.

Finally, allowances must be made for anticipated new purchases, such as COVID-19 related e-resources, to support remote teaching and learning and other strategic purchases. 

How will the collections budget cut be implemented?

The reduction will be implemented in a fair and equitable manner across the University Libraries’ subject and campus collection funds, based on current fund distribution percentages. Larger collection funds will experience larger cuts. The reduction is effective July 2020. 

How was the plan discussed?

The collections budget cut was initially announced at the May 14 University Libraries Dean’s Forum. Since then, the implementation plan was discussed among the Libraries’ Shared Content Leadership Group, Commonwealth Campus Libraries directors, University Libraries administration, and at a Selectors Forum. 

What are Penn State University Libraries’ collection priorities for fiscal year 2020-21?

Budget administrators and subject-specialist and location-based selectors will prioritize the following considerations in collection development activities:

  • Resources essential for Penn State coursework and research;
  • Electronic resources for onsite and offsite access. Print resources will be ordered if no electronic option exists and once building access resumes; 
  • Less duplication of titles across Penn State, applying a “One Penn State” shared collections approach;
  • Reviews of resources’ usage to guide purchasing and licensing decisions;
  • Diversity of collections;
  • More negotiation with vendors and publishers;
  • Consideration for collection space savings;
  • Collection fund consolidation to support interdisciplinary research; and
  • Open Access content promotion and exploration.

What is the cancellation decision timeline?

  • July 2, 2020: Taylor & Francis journals, both electronic and print;
  • July 15, 2020: other print serials;
  • July 31, 2020: electronic journals and databases; and
  • August 2020–June 2021: additional databases.

Who should I contact with questions or suggestions?

Contact subject or campus librarians

Last Updated July 03, 2020