Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 3. 1971
Victim of the general shortage of funds affecting most areas of university spending at present, the university library is feeling the pinch of a further reduction in its budget. In 1960, the library suffered, a cutback described in the Annual Report of the University Librarian, Mr. Sage, as a "severe financial traumna" causing some "essential" spending to be postponed until the next financial gear, in 1970 the grant was increased, but this year, 1971, the allocation has again been reduced, falling by 8.7% of the improved 1970 grant.
Faced at the same time by rising book prices the library has been forced to continue its already unduly selective policy in the acquisition of new books and journals. While the demands of undergraduate leading lists are being satisfied as adequately as possible, the purchasing of books for new fields or research suffers. This problem is becoming more acute as the University Grants Committee is pushing for more graduate research and granting scholarships for research in New Zealand lather than overseas. To accompany this by a reduction in library funds seems ridiculous.
The problem is also aggravated by the increasing numbers of students attending university and the marked increase in student use of the library. In Mr. Sage's estimation the ratio of books per full time student in New Zealand universities is lower than that of any other English speaking country - probably half that of any British university of comparable size. While numbers do not necessarily represent quality, it is clear that N.Z. libraries arc decidedly undernourished and likely to remain that way while expenditure is cramped.
Faculty reaction to the situation is mild. Dr. Robinson (Political Science and Public Administration) commented that the departments are sensitive to library finances and suit their demands accordingly. Many students could usefully buy more books for themselves, he felt. In alleviating the pressure on recommended texts. Prof. Bradley (Geology) advocated greater use of xeroxing facilities by both students and staff. But the general tendency of many departments is to encourage individual research outside set texts.
Long-term possibilities of a change in the [unclear: attiude] to library development are in balance. The N.Z. Vice-Chancellors Committee has agreed to a survey of university library resources to be undertaken in 1972 for the 1973 discussions on university library development' in the second, half of the 70s. Substantial improvement is therefore far-off and unlikely to affect present students.