Budget cuts affect databases, funding will come from College

State funding for databases at public libraries will be discontinued as of June 30, based on Governor Chris Christie’s budget proposal for the fiscal year of 2011.

Gov. Christie’s proposed budget for the 2011 fiscal year announced a 74 percent, $10.4 million, reduction in funding to public libraries, according to The Newark Star-Ledger. Taras Pavlovsky, dean of the library at the College, said state funding currently provides EBSCO Host’s Academic Search Premier and Business Source Premier for libraries in the state, including the College. Pavlovsky said if the governor’s budget passes with the current implications, these databases will no longer be funded by the state. These particular databases or those that serve similar functions, however, are likely to remain available to students, Pavlovsky said, but will be funded instead by the College.

“There will be a general purpose academic database … There has to be. It’s essential,” Pavlovsky said.

The lack of funding may require a $15,000 to $20,000 reallocation of expenses from other resources, such as on books, movies and other databases, to divert funds to maintaining these databases, Pavlovsky said, though it remains a possibility that the College will cover these costs.

The potential cut would also affect the interlibrary loan program, which enables students to request books from other libraries.

According to Pavlovsky, the state currently dedicates a total of $1.4 million annually to transportation of these materials, an expense that will fall to libraries if the budget proposal passes. Pavlovsky estimated the cost for the school to pay for UPS transportation of materials is approximately $3,000 to $5,000. He said that academic libraries, such as the College, will likely adopt the costs of transporting materials on a short term basis, at the least. The public library loaning program, JerseyCat, however will likely be discontinued if funding is extracted.

“This will affect the public libraries much more than it will the academic libraries, since not only will they lose their access to the computer system that generates and coordinates the requests, but they lose the delivery service,” he said. “So, the effects on students will be felt only moderately while they are here on campus. Should they try to get a book through interlibrary loan while home for the summer, however, they will feel the effects very differently.”

The ramifications of the governor’s proposed cuts to public libraries remain ambiguous, in conjunction with the total $5.2 million potential decrease in funding to the College.

Katie Brenzel can be reached at brenzel2@tcnj.edu.