The Impact of Budget Cuts on Colorado Academic Libraries

Colorado’s libraries have been heavily hit by budget cuts that have coincided with a generally grim economy the last few years. Academic libraries have felt a greater impact than those in other sectors.

In all, 25 of 33 libraries in public or non-profit colleges or universities in Colorado responded to the survey. Eighteen of these reported direct financial budget cuts of some sort since July 1, 2002. The total amount lost by these 18 libraries was $4,676,991, or an average of more than $250,000 for each affected library. Obviously, some libraries lost much more than that—with three reporting cuts upwards of one million dollars—and many reported smaller cuts. Given the range of library budgets, it is probably more appropriate to look at the percent of budgets that are being cut. Chart 1 (in full report) shows that over three-quarters of academic libraries reported budget cuts at some level. More than one-quarter of them reported cuts representing more than 15 percent of their total budgets.

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