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CAUT Bulletin Archives

October 2001

Gloomy Forecast for Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries' annual survey paints a depressingly familiar picture of Canadian university libraries.

With the exception of a few bright spots (the University of Toronto, the University of Alberta and the University of Manitoba) the ranking of our libraries continues to decline.

Measuring variables such as collection size, staffing and expenditures, the ARL's survey assesses the relative position of the top 112 university research libraries in the United States and Canada. Particularly troubling is the fact that of the 16 libraries in North America where funding fell or increased the least, nine are in Canada (only 13 Canadian institutions qualify for the survey).

"This underlines again the pressing need for governments to focus on the core funding of universities," said Chris Dennis, chair of CAUT's Librarians Committee. "Narrowly targeted programs such as the Canada Research Chairs don't address the fact that the academic infrastructure at Canadian universities is continuing to crumble."