News that the UCSD libraries will close a number of their satellite locations by June unless they get approximately $3 million in additional funding to offset planned budget cuts has spread throughout San Diego, reaching into the pages of the San Diego Union Tribune and beyond. Already, the Hillcrest library location has been closed and the shuttering of CLICS, the Scripps Library, and the IRPS library will take place soon.
Are the closings a necessity? Libraries are fundamental to the role of a university and should be one of the last places to be cut. A number of additional savings could likely be found if the UCSD libraries were more willing to let go of additional staff members, but the mantra of avoiding job cuts at all costs is difficult to shake. Only $1.5 million of the $3 million cut, according to the libraries’ budget, goes directly to keeping those other libraries open, so the deficit is not at all that great. One would think that the Libraries would be able to make that up, either through scaling back on periodicals or lowering the rate of new acquisitions, but let us not judge them too harshly in this case since the rest of the campus seems intent on spending money as fast as possible.
$500,000 will somehow come out of UCSD funds to provide lifeguards for Black’s Beach this summer. This should come as a pleasant surprise to San Diego’s nudist community, but an unfortunate shock for UCSD students who will find shuttered library doors come June.
What are UCSD students voting on instead? Fees for useless frills that go to support the armada of auxiliary bureaucracies that continue to detract from the core academic experience. But what is a library when you could relax in a nice, student-fee-funded pool instead? Or go rock climbing indoors? Or take in the majesty of the Price Center’s interior and the $600,000 they spend on advertising?
Between the Black’s Beach lifeguards, the Price Center’s Advertising Budget, and just a few other savings across campus (i.e. the new spate of “murals” designed to remind white and Asian students that they are, indeed, inferior human beings), UCSD would be able to preserve the current level of library services. But that would require leadership and a commitment to education over administration, which nobody in the UCSD administration actually possesses.