Back to top

CAUT Bulletin Archives

October 2002

Research Libraries Losing Ground

Canadian university research libraries fare badly in the latest report of the Association of Research Libraries on "Holdings of University Research Libraries in U.S. and Canada."

Fourteen Canadian institutions were included among the 113 university libraries measured. Only three - Toronto (#5), Alberta (#28), and UBC (#36) - appear in the top half of the list.

Canadian institutions prevail at the bottom of the list: Saskatchewan (#107), Queen's (#110), Waterloo (#111), McMaster (#112), and Guelph (#113).

"Perhaps most worrying," said CAUT executive director James Turk, "is that Canadian institutions dominated the ARL's list of the 15 institutions where total expenditures fell or increased the least between 1995-1996 and 2000- 2001."

Of the 10 institutions that fared the worst over the past six years, nine are Canadian.

Laval experienced the biggest drop in North America (-14.7%) since 1995-1996, followed by York (-12.2%), Queen's (-6.3%), Western Ontario (-4.1%), Waterloo (-3.5%), McMaster (-3.5%), Guelph (-2.2%), Alberta (-0.7%), Missouri (-0.5%) and Saskatchewan (0.0%).

The University of Missouri was the only U.S. institution surveyed where total expenditures fell.

"The dreadful experience of Canadian university research libraries indicates the impact of more than a decade of underfunding by the federal and provincial governments," Turk said.

"Canadian researchers, teachers and students are seriously disadvantaged by what is happening to our university libraries."