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U of G cuts $2 million from library operating budget

Budget reduction will result in a number of operational changes, including cancelled subscriptions, collapsing vacant positions and using time slots for services
20210921 University of Guelph file photo 2 RV
University of Guelph

Major cuts are coming to the University of Guelph Library next year, which means a number of operational changes are, too. 

Effective May 1, 2024, the library will see a $2 million dollar reduction in its ongoing operating costs, as part of university administrations attempt to ‘restore’ their financial health by reducing base budgets. 

In a post made earlier this week, library staff noted that with a reduction of that size, the cuts are going to be substantive, rather than small cuts across the organization. 

“The University of Guelph, like many post-secondary institutions, has managed through budget deficits over the last number of years,” said communications director Deirdre Healey. “As part of our plan to eliminate these deficits and secure a sustainable financial future, the library is working within a reduced budget.”

It's this same effort to eliminate deficits that resulted in 16 programs being paused and early retirement offers being brought forward earlier this year. 

In preparation for the cuts, library staff have developed a list of budget planning principles to deal with the impact, including collapsing all vacant positions to minimize layoffs, with the assumption those positions will not return. 

They’re also considering sharing positions with other units to maintain a reduced temporary full-time budget for staffing flexibility, and plan to improve service by offering services through time slots and limiting the number of bookings. 

Library staff is to re-examine licenses and ongoing purchases in an effort to minimize the cuts to available information resources. For example, they will assess which subscriptions overlap and can be cancelled. 

Healey said the reduction “will be implemented with great care,” and that their goal is for minimal impact on students and others accessing the library. 

But some faculty is still concerned. 

“I can’t begin to imagine how this is going to impact students, staff, and faculty who rely on the library for so so so much,” said U of G professor Daniel Gillis in a tweet. “I can’t help but feel that these cuts are going to do irreparable harm to the university.” 

Likewise, U of G professor Shoshanah Jacobs believes the budget cuts are being made “without collegial decision making, and often in direct contradiction to our values and mission.

“The library is not an isolated unit. Cuts will affect all units across campus and target our students. The long term cost of this exercise is not worth the savings,” Jacobs said. 


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Taylor Pace

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