RE-FUND The UC Berkeley LIBRARIES
WHAT'S GOING ON RECENTLY?
Anthropology students and supporters from the UC Berkeley campus have been occupying the George and Mary Foster Anthropology Library. Advocates have been hosting teach-ins, organizing meetings, and a press conference to raise awareness about the unique collection and community space, and demand that the university administration reconsider the closure. (April 25, 2023)
Cal Day Rally & March to save the UCB Anthropology Library (Saturday, April 22, 2023)
The UC Berkeley Library has made available a proposed list of 1,204 serials and database cancellations to the campus for public comment today. Total savings is $850K. (April 4, 2023)
Chancellor Christ visited the Anthropology Library today and met with concerned students and faculty only to give the same nonresponse on library funding she gave the UCB Academic Senate and the ASUC Senate after they had passed distinct resolutions to re-fund the libraries. (March 21, 2023)
The UCB Library released a Fact Check to address public misconceptions about library closures. (March 15, 2023)
Ralph Nader interviewed UCB Anthropology graduate students Sandra Oseguera and Jesús Gutiérrez about their library closing on Ralph Nader Radio Hour. (March 10, 2023) begins at 42:30
On March 8, 2023, the ASUC Senate passed a resolution in favor of not just keeping the UCB Anthropology Library open, also the hiring of a full-time librarian, and expansion of its operational hours.
News about Berkeley's Anthropology Library closing has traveled as far as Greece. Κατάληψη στη βιβλιοθήκη ανθρωπολογικών επιστημών στο Μπέρκλεϊ των ΗΠΑ (Documento, February 28, 2023)
Despite the vote of the Faculty Committee on the Library (LIBR) to reject the Library’s long-term space plan on January 12, 2023, it was approved by campus leadership on February 23, 2023.
On December 21, 2022 the Chair of the Academic Senate sent to the Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost a letter and statements demanding that library funding be restored and that a short-term Senate-administration task force be formed to examine the Library’s finances. So far, there has been no response.
On October 19, 2022, the Berkeley Academic Senate voted unanimously to support a resolution introduced by the BFA to re-fund the Library after a decade of systematic cuts by the administration. The unanimous decision is an important vote of confidence for our libraries, collections and all library employees who do so much to support the mission of the University. This should be a clear wake up call to campus leaders to fully fund the Library.
In October 2022 UC Berkeley Library hosted two public town halls to hear feedback from students and faculty on the proposed long-term space plan. There were also over 400 written responses to the public consultation.
“As the Commission on the Future of the Library stated, 'There is simply no great University without a great Library.' We believe that the plan we have announced today will assure that our Library remains the jewel that it has always been, for our students and faculty and for the broader public." - George W. Breslauer, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (January 27, 2014)
The UC Berkeley Library currently faces an estimated $5 million structural budget deficit. The Library has already begun limiting hours and services for several campus libraries because it lacks the staff and resources to keep them open. Now the Library and UC Berkeley administration are poised to implement the closing and consolidation of library spaces in an attempt to address the budget gap. Next will be another review of the Library collections budget, which is mid-way through the process of being reduced by $1.7 million over the next two years. This is on top of previous cuts to collections carried out in the last five years. The deep cuts to the Library negatively affect students, faculty, library workers, and the public.
According to the Berkeley Faculty Association (BFA), the Library received $44.5 million this year from campus, which is $2 million less than its overall budget in 2014 and $13.5 million less than its budget in 2008, resulting in a cumulative shortfall of $20.7 million from central campus. If you factor in 3.7% annual cost increases from salaries and subscriptions, the cumulative shortfall since 2014 now amounts in real terms to $88 million!
Library advocates have demanded that funding should be permanently restored to build and extend the strengths of our library employees, services, spaces, and collections to truly serve the UC Berkeley community now and into the future. Communities across UCB are pushing back against the austerity measures being suggested by the University and the Library.