May 29, 2009

University of California Libraries release Open Letter to Licensed Content Providers on CA budget crisis

This week Ivy Anderson, Director of Collections for the California Digital Library, sent the following open letter to most of CDL's key content providers.



The University of California Libraries ask all information providers with whom we negotiate content licenses to respond to the major fiscal challenges affecting higher education in California in a spirit of collaboration and mutual problem-solving. We expect to work with each of our vendors at renewal to develop creative solutions that can preserve the greatest amount of content to meet the information needs of the University of California’s students, faculty, and researchers.

The University of California Libraries, including the California Digital Library (CDL), share the economic concerns expressed in the Statement to Scholarly Publishers on the Global Economic Crisis issued by the Association of Research Libraries <> and the Statement on the Global Economic Crisis issued by the International Coalition of Library Consortia <>. The economic crisis affecting libraries is particularly acute in California, which as of this writing (May 2009) is forecasting a $21 billion state budget shortfall for 2010 despite previous efforts to close a $42 billion budget gap in 2009.

As a state-supported institution, the University of California has experienced significant budget reductions in fiscal year 2009, with more reductions to come. The $531 million shortfall now anticipated in state funding for the 2009-10 fiscal year amounts to nearly 17 percent of the $3.2 billion the state provides UC annually. Numerous cost containment measures are in place across the university, including salary and other compensation freezes for senior managers, hiring curtailments for other staff, travel restrictions, and other mandated reductions. More information about the UC budget situation is available on the University’s Web site at

UC Libraries are being hit hard by the budget reduction mandates in effect at each of the UC campuses. Targeted reductions to library materials budgets for fiscal year 2010 vary across the campuses, with some as high as 20%. Many campuses have been alerted that additional cuts will be levied in fiscal year 2011. Coupled with the typical inflationary increases for scholarly publications, the erosion of library buying power will have a profound and lasting impact on all of the UC libraries. Monographic purchasing has already been seriously curtailed, and every electronic content license is being placed under careful scrutiny.

While we will not be able to spare every product, we will pursue every possible creative option to maintain access to resources important to the UC mission. These options may include developing processes for individual campuses to disengage from systemwide agreements without penalty to other campuses and without penalties being levied upon re-entry; deeper overall discounts when new or add-on products are acquired; and in some if not many cases, outright cost reductions. We welcome all innovative proposals for managing through these difficult times.

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