(Sudbury – 28 June 2017) LUFA is dismayed at the decline of library funding in the university budget approved by the Board of Governors at its meeting on June 23. “There is not a penny of new funding for the library,” says LUFA president Jim Ketchen. “Instead, the library’s share of the budget has gone down from 3.6 percent to 3.2 for the coming fiscal year. This places it far below the Ontario university system average of 4 percent.”
The library has been in a weakened state since 2014, when the decline of the Canadian dollar on international currency markets precipitated a funding crisis. Most of the library’s subscriptions must be paid in US dollars. The result has been cutbacks and freezes, with few books purchased and numerous cancellations of journals and databases.
“For three years, the university has turned a deaf ear despite the pleas from professors and students to address this horrible situation,” Ketchen says. “Now, with a 7 percent boost to the materials budget, the administration claims to be addressing it – but it has come at the expense of staffing. It’s a shell game with ‘new’ funding created by taking funds from other budgets that are no less essential.”
According to the annual Maclean’s survey of Canadian universities, funding for library expenses at Laurentian (including staffing) is already among the lowest in the country. “We deplore the administration’s shameful neglect of the library,” Ketchen says.