UCSB’s Davidson Library has fallen dramatically in its ranking as a research library over the last decade.
The library is ranked 80th out of 111 in the Association of Research Libraries, down from 69th in 1999 and 47th in 1989. The score, calculated according to number of volumes in the library, number of volumes added each year, number of current periodicals, number of staff and total expenditures, has dropped due to financial neglect, Davidson Head Librarian Sarah Pritchard said.
The score is relative to all the libraries on the index and Pritchard said the drop has been due to a general erosion of investment in Davidson Library over the past decade, in a period of time in which other campuses provided more library funding. Pritchard said the library was experiencing a turnaround, which could be potentially harmed by a looming budget crisis.
The university has considered a library addition for the last 10 years, but Pritchard said other spots on campus have been prioritized above the library and that the proposed addition has consistently been placed at the bottom of the university’s five-year development plan.
“It’s not just about a building, it’s about a way teaching and research is improved on campus,” Pritchard said. “We really need to show potential faculties, potential researchers, granting agencies, the strength of this university and for the library to be perceived as weak could be very damaging for faculty recruitment, research grants, graduate students, so it is a concern we want to maintain and improve our stature.”
Capital Development, Budget & Planning Director Marty Levy said the library addition has been placed in different positions on the five-year plan and that in recent years it has become a high priority with a scheduled time frame.
During the 2000-01 school year the Academic Senate Library Committee developed a resolution that called for the library’s advancement on the five-year plan without any delay. The Academic Senate passed the resolution last May and the library is now the fourth capital project in consideration on the five-year plan, Library Committee Chair Sarah Cline said.
“The library is the key research and instructional component on campus, and needs to be supported,” she said.
Specific plans for the library have not been approved, but planning of the Davidson Library wing will begin this year and a committee will be formed by 2002 to look at new additions. In 2004, the plan will be submitted to the state for funding and the money is expected to come in 2006, Levy said. Once funding is obtained, construction would begin in 2007.
The library is 254,000 square feet and Pritchard said she hopes the new wing will add 60,000 more. The campus planning committee is still investigating the rear of the library, near the engineering bungalows, as a possible location for the new wing. The total cost for the library’s new wing will be approximately $32 million, at least part of which the library committee hopes will come from private donors.
The library has over 2.6 million volumes, up to 3.7 million microforms, 480,000 maps and approximately 600,000 off-campus materials. The off-campus materials are held in storage locations in Goleta, a shared facility at UC Los Angeles and other locations. If students or faculty members are unable to obtain a book due to the library’s limited space, they can use the inter-library loan system and get the book in one or two days. Every year the library buys 50,000 more books.
The Graduate Students Association has also listed library improvements as a main concern this academic year. GSA President Shawn Landres said less space for graduate student and faculty research could jeopardize student and faculty recruitment as well as the ranking.
“Despite the promise of electronic media, space is at a premium in the library,” he said. “Finding room for books and journals continues to compromise already cramped study space, and graduate students who often have no individual study space are at risk of losing what little they currently have.”
The original two-story Davidson library was built in the 1950s and now holds the engineering library. The eight-story tower portion was built in the 1960s and the four-story portion was completed in 1978.