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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Closures loom for UA libraries

    As the UA tries to accommodate a recent $142 million statewide cut in university funding, the UA libraries face the decision of either increasing tuition or eliminating two libraries.

    Carla Stoffle, Dean of Libraries and Creative Photography, said the Fine Arts Library, located in the music building, and the Center for Creative Photography library would close this summer if there were no increase in the “”information technology/library”” student fee.

    She also said that the hours of the Special Collections library would have to be reduced to 20 hours a week.

    “”That is what it looks like at the moment knowing what we know right now,”” Stoffle said.

    She said that an increase in the student fee, which was originally approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in 2006, is needed because in addition to the 15 percent cut in funding from the state legislature, the libraries acquisition budget has not been increased in the past eight years.

    Inflation in the cost of products the libraries purchase is expected to rise an extra $1.2 million within the next two years, Stoffle said.

    The current student library fee is $30 and the libraries are asking for it to be raised to $180 per student, per year, she said.

    Associate Dean of libraries Robert Mitchell said that the Board of Regents will be voting on the fee near the end of April.

    “”We don’t know if we will get anything. We have to make plans on the assumption we wouldn’t get anything,”” Mitchell said. “”We are not eager to do any of these cuts.””

    In the event of closure, the Fine Arts library materials will be moved to the Science and Engineering library. The Fine Arts staff will be cut by 3.5 people. The CCP library will still house all of the material inside it but students will have to request the items and have them “”paged over,”” Stoffle said.

    Mitchell said the goal is to open a new fine arts library in the future. He estimated it would cost $50 million, but said there is nowhere to go for this money due to the economic downfall.

    Kristen Islas, a library student staff member and music performance sophomore said she was shocked to hear that one of the libraries facing closure was the Fine Arts library.

    “”Wow, all the music students would be terribly inconvenienced,”” Islas said. “”I don’t even know what would happen, it would be … catastrophe.””

    Stoffle said the 15 percent budget cut from the legislature would happen in two parts. Five percent of the libraries budget must be returned by March 1, and is a part of the $20 million that was taken out at the beginning of the year. The other 10 percent, $1,055,000, will be returned sometime after July 1.

    Mitchell said the money would be returned to the provost office, bundled with the other department funds and then sent back to the state. He said the university would be returning $57 million.

    “”The sad fact is there will be more cuts for next fiscal year,”” Mitchell said. “”We have politicians in Phoenix that are committed to downsizing state government and that includes higher education.””

    Stoffle said the five percent cut would mean the loss of 9.47 staff positions or $439,000 in salaries including another 2.5 currently vacant positions.

    It would also include a reduction in bundled quarterly journals and in processing special materials, she said. Special materials are the unique and rare items owned by the library.

    With the 10 percent budget cut, 18.13 positions would be eliminated which would free up $810,000 in salaries. $169,000 would be cut from the operations budget and $76,000 out of student wages, Stoffle said.

    She said the positions cut would be 1.5 academic professionals, 4.5 faculty members and 12.13 staff positions, eight of which currently that are currently filled.

    Stoffle would not comment on which academic professional position would be cut.

    “”We have to figure out what to do with eight people, we are trying to find alternative positions for them,”” Stoffle said. “”Every team in the library is being affected by this.””

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