Thursday, November 7 • 2:30pm - 3:10pm
Drastic times call for drastic measures: Intentionality, outreach, and library leadership in times of financial crisis

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Budget constraints are nothing new to academic librarians and administrators. Each year libraries nationwide contend with flat or shrinking budgets in spite of the continuing need to support evolving curricula, new programs and initiatives, and faculty research. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) and Western Washington University (Western) are no different, each having grappled with insufficient budgets and multiple rounds of reductions and cancellations. During these difficult times, CCSU and Western measured success in large part by their ability to meet their financial obligations with minimal impact to curricula or research.

At CCSU, after years of flat or reduced budgets and resource cancellations, the Acquisitions and Electronic Resources Librarians teamed up to take drastic measures and break the vicious cycle of reactionary cancellations. The goal: to realign spending with fiscal reality; the measure: a 25 percent cut to each academic department’s resources over a two-year period. The process bought the library approximately three years to readjust spending, learn how to better support the campus, and become better advocates for library funding. At Western, major inflationary shortfalls precipitated the need for a 10 percent subscription reduction in 2015-16, through which the library was able to build greater university awareness of the serials crisis as well as an ultimately short-lived commitment from the Provost for inflation funding. In 2019-20, Western Libraries is facing the need for a 15 percent reduction and the increasingly urgent need to make collections sustainable long-term. At both universities, the necessity for reductions has created opportunities for focused outreach, education, and advocacy; more intentional and creative collection assessment; deeper and more thoughtful collaborations with teaching faculty; and hard lessons learned for library staff.

This presentation will provide an overview of both universities’ reduction processes, including where they are today and the lessons they have learned throughout the journey. Attendees will learn strategies for effective outreach and engagement, ways to position their library within broader campus and scholarly communications contexts, and practical ideas for making difficult reduction decisions. Above all, the panel will explore the importance of approaching reductions intentionally, reframing the issue as a university problem, and advocating on behalf of the library and its users.

avatar for Mark I. Greenberg

Mark I. Greenberg

Dean of Libraries, Western Washington University
Mark I. Greenberg became Dean of Libraries at Western Washington University in June 2013. Since his arrival, he has worked collaboratively to help lead a wide variety of important library and university initiatives. Shared accomplishments include creation of the Hacherl Research and... Read More →

Kristin D'Amato

Serials/Electronic Resources Librarian, Central Connecticut State University
avatar for Kristina Edwards

Kristina Edwards

Acquisitions Librarian, Central Connecticut State University
Kristina Edwards, MLIS has been a librarian at Central Connecticut State University for the past 5 years. She has worked in the area of collections and acquisitions for over 10 years. She works with colleagues across disciplines to ensure that library collections reflect the curriculum... Read More →

Madeline Kelly

Director, Collections Services, Western Washington University; Western Libraries

Thursday November 7, 2019 2:30pm - 3:10pm EST
Calhoun Room, Francis Marion Hotel