Libraries Expected to Close by End of Year

-million cut to library funding, UCSD’s Medical Center Library in Hillcrest officially closed on April 1.

Four more libraries — including the Center for Library & Instructional Computing Services, International Relations and Pacific Studies, Scripps and Science & Engineering libraries located in Geisel Library — are expected to close later this year. No official closure dates have been set.

“We’re about 99-percent sure that these closures are going to happen for sure,” Campuswide Senator and Undergraduate Representative for the Library Committee Anish Bhayani said. “Depending on how severe the cuts are, we may be looking at more cuts in terms of hours, positions and maybe even resources.”

The Library Committee — which is comprised of seven faculty members, one undergraduate and one graduate student — is expected to cut anywhere from $3-6 million. University Librarian Brian Schottlaender planned for the minimal cut of $3 million as stated above.

“IR/PS Library would likely close later in the summer,” Schottlaender said in an email. “The Science & Engineering Library consolidation at the Biomedical Library will take place later in the year.”

Despite several closures across the board, the Library Committee is researching alternative study spaces for students.

“After this consolidation takes place, we do hope to offer a 24/5 study space on the ground floor of the current S&E Library,” Schottlaender said.

Bhayani said current student activist efforts aren’t likely to help keep the libraries open.

“Creating Facebook groups and petitions is almost meaningless,” Bhayani said. “[We need] some way of showing the Chancellor directly that what they’re doing is not fair and if you are going to cut the libraries, [students] understand, but make it a cut that is logically and mathematically proper.”

Due to the bureaucratic nature of state funding, Bhayani said library funding has been harder hit than other parts of campus.

“The library budget comes primarily from state funding,” Bhayani said. “Over the past few years, state funding has decreased; so has the libraries’ budget, but it has decreased at a disproportional rate. Although UCs are getting 10 percent less funding, library funding is dropping by almost 20 percent.”

Due to this large drop in funding, UCSD libraries are finding it difficult to sustain various library positions and facilities.

“The sad truth about the administration is enough money is [floating] around to keep most if not all the libraries open,” Bhayani said. “The staff and admin, who were hired on the promise to uphold UCSD’s mission statement, feel their pay and benefits far exceed the need for libraries. The students are victims of a cruel, bureaucratic and greedy system we call the University of California.”

Although Library Committee members have stressed the likelihood that several libraries will close, nothing beyond the Hillcrest closure is currently official.

“While UCSD’s budget situation does not look good, the libraries still do not have our final budget allocation, so these plans are subject to change,” Schottlaender said.