Having worked under strict budgetary limitations for years, UCSB’s Davidson Library is taking its financial cuts in stride.
In recent weeks some UCs, Berkeley in particular, have had to campaign to restore library hours that were sliced by the budget cleaver. However, UCSB’s Davidson Library will continue to function as normal and will not be cutting its hours. With over 150 available computers, 24 wireless access points, a 24-hour study room and a librarian with expertise in a corresponding subject for every major offered at UCSB, staffers are confident that Davidson Library will remain student-friendly and accessible.
Brenda Johnson, UCSB’s Head Librarian, said she felt substantially more prepared for a funding deficit than other departments, citing her long experience wrangling with a testy budget.
“We’ve been budgeting over the years so we’ve still managed to add new things,” Johnson said.
Additionally, Associate University Librarian Sherry DeDecker said library officials are finding ways to continue the improvement of services in spite of cuts.
“We’ve beefed up this year with the express checkout for books,” DeDecker said. “When people don’t have to wait in line, more people come. It’s like an ATM machine at a bank.”
According to Brian Mathews, the assistant university librarian, student input is crucial to expanding the library’s amenities.
“Our goal within the next quarter is to have wireless Internet throughout the whole building, even extending outside to that pretzel stand,” Mathews said. “We are always looking for students who want to participate in helping us shape the future of the library. We are always looking for volunteers for usability testing, focus groups, art projects, ethnographic studies and many other opportunities to get involved.”
David Seubert, curator and president of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, said UCSB’s library is uncommon in that it employs skill-specific librarians.
“I cannot answer a question about economics to save my life, but we have someone who can,” Seubert said. “That’s what sets us apart from other libraries.”
Anna Elfelt, a first-year pre-biology major, said Davidson Library’s staff members are a great resource for research assistance.
“Back in high school, the librarians at my school were the most boring and unhelpful people I have ever met, but I came here and realized you don’t have to have a stick up your ass to be a librarian,” Elfelt said.
Johnson said her time working in the library has been devoted to making library services more visible and accessible to students.
“I think a lot of times students aren’t aware of their resources, so we’re going to advertise more this year,” Johnson said.