South Carolina library funding

I am an electronic resources librarian. Most of the electronic resources at my college are provided by the state of South Carolina, through a program called PASCAL (Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries). The state recently cut funding for PASCAL by 90% for the 08-09 fiscal year. As a result, we’ve already lost access to 3 databases, will lost access to 4 or 5 more in January, and will then most likely lose another 14 in July of 2009 (and that’s just the ones that affect my college – there are more!).

What this means for me: I spent two months this summer creating MLA and APA citation examples for each type of resource found in each of the 60 databases to which we subscribed, with the idea of posting them as html pages on our webpage next to the links to each database. We’re talking some 250-odd citations. Mostly down the drain. I also create tutorials and brochures explaining how to use these databases. As it happens, all the ones I’ve actually finished at this point are on databases we’re losing. Go figure. We just got JournalFinder set up with links to every journal, magazine, and newspaper that was available through all of those 60 databases. We’ll have to start that over again now too. And we just made decisions about what print subscriptions to cut, based on what we had in those databases. Crap.

What this means for my students: Many, if not most, of the resources with which they are familiar are going away. They will have thousands fewer full-text journals in which to do research. Some programs, such as Nursing, will be hit especially hard, with cuts to several subject-specific databases from PASCAL. Students will have to wait twice as long to get books from other libraries in the state through a wonderful program called PASCAL Delivers, which as been cut along with the electronic databases, which will make it more difficult for them to utilize the full gamut of resources available to them for research papers, or for their own personal enlightenment.

It’s my challenge now to figure out how to make this better for my students. Beyond writing to my state representatives and complaining, what can I do? I’ll be exploring some ideas over the next few blog posts.

Find out more at the PASCAL website!

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2 Comments to “South Carolina library funding”

  1. Thanks so much for this well-written article. You are my hero. Can I come live with you if I lose my job?

    Seriously, I am kidding. Don’t worry. I don’t stalk people either.

    But I do work for PASCAL, and I’m here to help if I can. I can’t post passwords to a web site, but I can offer you access to some of our get-the-word-out documents if you don’t already have it.

    Thanks so much.
    Alis

  2. Thank you so much for the feedback. I will edit the post to include a link to the PASCAL website’s information, which I intended to link to in the first place (oops!).

    We’re trying to inform our students, but we’re being discouraged by administration because they don’t want the focus on library issues when the entire school’s budget is being affected by state cuts. *sigh* I did write an article in our library’s quarterly newsletter, though, so we’ll see if it does any good.

    I wish everyone in the world understood how important libraries are. We’ll just have to kick and scream and fight until someone with money notices. đŸ˜‰

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