Western Libraries Subscriptions Task Force

Western Libraries Subscriptions Task Force

For academic years 2018-19 and 2019-20, the Libraries is convening a new Subscriptions Task Force to develop a sustainable, systematic, and comprehensive plan for evaluating and managing subscriptions that goes beyond mere maintenance and proactively seeks opportunities for change.

The Western Libraries lacks the budget necessary to maintain current subscriptions and address the growing and changing teaching and learning needs of the university community. Inflation on library subscriptions—which averages almost 5 percent annually and vastly outpaces the Consumer Price Index—means that a flat budget is effectively a declining budget, and rising subscription costs crowd out all other collections spending. Even with annual funding to offset inflation, roughly 90 percent of the Libraries’ resource access budget is committed to subscriptions or access fees, leaving just under 10 percent for new one-time purchases and no margin for added subscriptions. The result is that, at best, library subscriptions are static; at worst, they are vulnerable to the slightest change in the budget landscape.

Whether responding to budget reductions and the need for cancellations or simply making space for new subscriptions, a thoughtful, holistic approach to managing subscriptions will allow the Libraries to respond more dynamically to whatever the future brings.

As the Task Force carries out its work over the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years, it will be consulting with stakeholder groups and sharing updates and deliverables. In addition to soliciting information via Senate Library Committee, department or college meetings, and other communication channels, you can check this page regularly for the latest Task Force news.

For more information on how the Libraries manages journal subscriptions, please read our Subscription Management Glossary and FAQ. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to Collection Services or the Director of Collections. We will try to respond to queries as quickly as possible, though a detailed response may take up to 5 business days.