The percentage of university funds allocated to academic libraries shrank for the 14th straight year in 2009, dipping below 2 percent for the first time, according to updated figures from the Association of Research Libraries.
The latest decline, culled from Education Department data for 40 institutions, is part of a decades-long trend that has seen libraries get gradually smaller shares of funding as university budgets have increased overall.
The association’s tracking of library allocations as a proportion of total expenditures reaches back to 1966, when a report commissioned by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation examined the finances of 24 academic libraries. That year, the average appropriation for libraries was 2.83 percent of the university budget.
Library earmarks peaked in 1974, when libraries received 3.83 percent of university budgets. In 2009, libraries got 1.95 percent.
» via Inside Higher Ed