UH Library Book Contract Cancelled

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The largest University of Hawaii library book contract is cancelled due to budget issues. Now teachers and students are unhappy about it!

Last fall, UH projected a one-point-five million dollar shortfall in the library's budget for this school year.

The library delayed any new hires and severely cut the budget for new books.

U-H will lose more than 6 thousand books between now and June. Political Science Professor Kathy Ferguson protest the cuts, "A few books will dribble in from other small accounts or gifts but the main organized way the University as a research institution acquires books in all fields is gone. It's been cancelled for 6 months and that's a catastrophe."

Staffers worry this is only the beginning. The library senate estimates they will need to cut another $1 million from the 2007-2008 budget.

Ferguson says books should be the last thing on the chopping block. "Knowledge doesn't stop. It doesn't hold still so we are losing a big chunk of new knowledge across social sciences and humanities"

Phd student Melisa Casumbal-Salazar realizes, "In my time here I have seen the University library's holdings of periodicals shrink, newspapers and journals shrink, budget for new books shrink. I can't do research at a University library that is not funded to buy books."

Administrators say they've been hit with unexpected expenses. U-H Vice Chancellor Neil Smatresk says, "We've had a number of repair and maintenance issues, had a flood, fire, had rising electric bills and dramatically growing student population. All of this means we have significant budget shortfalls."

And library officials did their own research. "We did a utilization study of all the books we buy and only 17 percent are read in their first year."

Teachers and students invite you to join a meeting Tuesday and Wednesday on campus to talk about this. They're also circulating a petition.