University of Missouri libraries will offer fewer subscriptions to academic journals and databases to cope with a budget reduction caused in part by students’ rejection of a library fee and an expected enrollment decline this fall.
Rabia Gregory, chairwoman of the Campus Library Committee, said in a memo to campus department leaders that the libraries were facing a $1.3 million shortfall this year and expect an additional $1 million gap in the fiscal year that starts July 1. Departments are being asked to rank their priorities for retaining subscriptions before the summer break.
Last November, students rejected a library fee of $15 per credit hour that was expected to bring in $13 million annually when it was fully phased in by the 2021-22 school year. The libraries currently have an annual budget of $17.7 million and spend about $8 million on journal and database subscriptions.
The university also is forecasting an enrollment drop of 900 students in the fall, which would reduce tuition revenue by about $20 million. University officials also aren’t sure how much state support the system will receive.
“We are working with the provost’s office to try to find funding solutions to avoid disruptions,” Gregory said. “I am not sure we are going to be able to pull it off.”
About half of this year’s shortfall was replaced by $650,000 from the student information technology fee, but that was a one-time solution, said Ann Riley, acting director of MU libraries.
Academic libraries are also facing increased costs for subscriptions. The decision about which journals to retain will be based partly on the role a specific subscription plays in an academic area, not just on use, Riley said.
Most journal and database subscriptions must be renewed by Jan. 1, which means the final negotiations about packages and pricing will occur this fall.