for the current year are affecting some members now. We have reports from
vendors that some libraries did pull back from 2009 subscription renewals late
in 2008 by asking that their invoices be returned for review, but as the ICOLC
statement notes, these circumstances largely arose after serial renewal
decisions for 2009 had been made and funds committed. There is ongoing
concern in the library community that relatively strong 2009 renewals, by
masking the ultimate consequences of the changing state of library finances
from many publishers, could lead to unwarranted complacency.
In addition to cuts already made, there is strong evidence that most ARL
member libraries are preparing for further budget reductions in the 2009/2010
fiscal year. In some cases members are planning for 2009/2010 to be a second
year of double-digit budget reductions. Institutions receiving flat budgets
(with no inflationary increase) will consider themselves unusually fortunate.
Budget reductions are a reality even for many of ARL’s largest members.
It is the common view among research libraries that they, like many smaller
libraries, are facing protracted budget reductions and cannot justify any
expectation that cuts being implemented are anything but permanent. Unlike
earlier recessions and inflationary cycles, few are in a position to consider
budget management strategies aimed at carrying collections budgets over a
few lean years. Most institutions that in the past have been able to protect
collections expenditures with special monies or compensatory increases in cuts
to other portions of their budget have reached a point where this is no longer a
responsible strategy. Instead, institutions are planning for permanent
reductions in both staff and collections resources.
Most member libraries are preparing cancellations of ongoing
commitments for 2010, albeit in advance of knowing the full scale of budget
reductions. In the current economic climate lower costs, high returns on
investment, and greater flexibility will be highly valued. In addition, as they
reduce their collections, many large institutions are now far less able to take the
effects of cancellation decisions on consortium partners into account in their
decision-making.
Over the last decade research libraries have substantially reduced their
subscriptions to print editions of publications where electronic versions are
available. The current economic environment will further preference electronic
versions over print and most research libraries would welcome the complete
discontinuation of print publishing where this offers reduced publishing and
RLI 262 8
ARL Statement to Scholarly Publishers on the Global Economic Crisis
(
C O N T I N U E D
)
FEBRUARY 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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