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Budget cuts hurt library funding

By Tashnah T. Dixon

Huntington University’s Richlynn Library has experienced significant budget cuts this past year.

Though several departments, including the library, have been receiving minor cuts annually, the library is one of the few that has experienced significant reductions in this past year.

This cut has resulted in a loss of staffing and limitations in the print periodicals, and even some databases’ availability to students and professors alike.

Anita Gray, director of library services and assistant professor of library services, said “the most difficult to handle is the cut in staffing.”

The library now has three and quarter full-time employees in comparison to the five full-time employees who were on staff when Gray began working there seven years ago.

The position of circulating supervisor, whose job is to supervise student employees and the library as a whole, has been cut in half.

With eighteen students on staff, this puts stress on the department.

Gray said that despite this, the student employees have been “wonderful.”

“They’ve really stepped up to the plate,” she said.

Book budgets have also been affected by budget cuts, which means professors have less money to purchase books and materials that they would like to use for classes.

Regardless of this, Gray said the department “tries to do the best we [can]” by checking with the professors to ensure that the most crucial materials for teaching their courses are taken into consideration when handling their new budget.

Though there are databases and books that the library staff believe would be helpful for students but can’t have because of lack of funding, Gray tries to keep a mainly positive outlook on everything.

She describes it as looking at the “greater good of the university.”

She recognizes that the university has a set amount of money to be divided among all departments and projects, and also believes that the bulk of the funding is going into places that indeed do need it.

“The reality is, our students need what they need when they need it,” she said. “We do the absolute best we can to make sure [students] aren’t affected.”

“It would be nice, but it is what it is,” said Gray.  

Gray explained these reductions as being similar to when a parent has to cut back on certain things so that he or she can ensure that other things are being done. This doesn’t mean that what’s been cut back is less important — it just means the money is needed elsewhere in this time period.

She mentions Associate Director of Library Services and Assistant Professor of Library Science, Randy Neuman, several times, stating that he is “amazing with the Interlibrary Loans.”

Neuman is often responsible for collecting the requests for inter-library loans and makes it his duty to have them filled in 48 hours. Gray also expressed that she doesn’t believe these budget cuts have affected students drastically and is actually concerned about student attendance in the library overall.

There have been complaints about the library hours and student concerns that the budget cuts will only worsen the availability and access they have to the library.

“I definitely get frustrated that the library is not open more,” senior Selina Pohl said. “Other universities have twenty-four hour libraries or even later hours. The study room is great, but as a liberal arts major, I often need access to the materials within the library after hours.”

The library is not the only place on campus that has felt the brunt of budget cuts.

Student organizations, such as Student Government Association and Student Activities Board, have been affected as well. Only time will tell if the hopefulness of faculty will be fulfilled.

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