Her answer: nothing good.
“When a university cuts majors, programs, or even an entire school, what happens to its library? The obvious answer: Nothing good.
As universities across the country trim offerings in hopes of addressing budget deficits, academic libraries must attempt to maintain services, even as it becomes more and more difficult to fulfill their missions.
“We’re really getting slim,” says Laura Jacobs, library science professor and interim director of the Jim Dan Hill Library at the University of Wisconsin–Superior. The university, which has a reported budget deficit of $2.5 million, has suspended 40 programs, including the library science (LS) minor, since 2014. The library budget has seen large cuts as well.
Suspension means that a program is not permitted to accept new students as majors, not that the program itself is closed. That means that the library must continue to support the suspended programs, even while it has only two staff librarians (not including Jacobs) to serve a student population of 2,500.
“The administration would like us to expand hours,” Jacobs says. “That’s pretty hard to do.” The library no longer maintains a reference desk, instead encouraging students seeking reference help to make appointments with a staff member (something many students appear reluctant to do). Even the number of student workers in the library has dropped, given the elimination of the LS minor…”
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