RLI 282 ARL Library Budgets after the Great Recession, 2011–13 11 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2013 Figure 11. Administrative Budgets, FY2011–2012 & FY2012–2013 Conclusions The question one should ask is whether the data ARL has collected since 2008 begins to reveal a trend that might inform the future. Even the modest improvements of the last two years represent less positive news when viewed over the arc of acquisition budgets that have been static or trending downward since 2008. To put it another way—after three years of serious retrenchment an increase of 3% or less is hardly sufficient to restore the pre-2008 purchasing power of acquisition budgets. Nor is it heartening that such a large number of member libraries, after five years, still face flat budgets or continued serious retrenchment. The picture is no better for administrative budgets in member libraries. For many, the pattern of increases one year combined with decreases or flat budgets another means that we continue in a very volatile period for research library funding. This has not been the historic pattern for ARL institutions. Albeit the decades-long trend has meant budgets frequently have not kept up with inflation, no period has witnessed the absolute declines in the dollars being allocated to these budgets. In short, for five years ARL institutions have been in a pattern that departs from the historic expectation of increased funding intended to at least ameliorate the inflation rate for library acquisitions and the cost of operations and personnel. Like acquisitions, administrative budgets have demonstrably suffered more since 2008 than at any time in recent decades. In sum, the downturn of 2008 was followed by a progressive de-funding of library budgets that reflected what was happening in higher education 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 57 8 13 18 FY 2012-13 =10% 7-9% 4-6% 1-3% No Change -1-3% -4-6% -7-9% =-10% =-10% -7-9% -4-6% -1-3% No Change 1-3% 4-6% 7-9% =10% FY211-2
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