Libraries’ Budget to Increase in Fiscal Year 2015

New funding reflects the university’s ongoing commitment to enhance library resources, teaching and learning.

May 16, 2014

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The university will increase the fiscal year 2015 budget for GW Libraries to support research, teaching and learning, following a $16 million renovation of the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library which updated the facilities.

The George Washington University Board of Trustees approved a significant increase to the GW Libraries’ fiscal year 2015 budget on Friday. The university will dedicate an additional $336,560 to digital subscriptions and titles to enhance scholarly resources.

Provost Steven Lerman also announced his intent to further increase the libraries’ funding over time.

The announcement came following a strategic review of the GW Libraries conducted at Dr. Lerman’s request by a committee of GW faculty, students and staff. The review highlighted the need for improvements to library facilities and resources in support of the university’s mission as a leader in research, teaching and learning.

“Our university’s goals for the coming decade are ambitious, and our GW libraries must evolve accordingly,” Dr. Lerman said. “Elevating the quality of our teaching, research and service to society will happen only if we make well-informed choices about how we use our resources.”

University Librarian and Vice Provost for Libraries Geneva Henry, who joined the university in July 2013, said that her top priority is “enhancing the libraries’ capabilities to support research ” by fully integrating resources into the digital age during an address to the Faculty Senate.

 “Over the last 10 years the cost of subscriptions has increased nearly 10 percent per year for journals and 4 percent per year for monographs, due to inflation,” Ms. Henry said. This is an issue that many higher education institutions are facing as digital subscriptions become increasingly expensive. It is critical that we are strategic in how we deploy our resources.”

The libraries have undertaken a review to assess which journals are cited most by researchers and faculty, according to Ms. Henry. They are also assessing the value added by purchasing journals outside of the Washington Research Library Consortium that are regularly borrowed and eliminating subscriptions to underused databases. 

“We are making sure that these changes are being driven by student and faculty need,” Ms. Henry said.

The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library garnered praise from students and faculty during fall 2013 for the $16 million entrance floor renovation, which expanded student space and provided updated research and learning resources, such as the interactive “Learning Commons.”

Ms. Henry said that other updates implemented in the last few months include a study space designated for graduate students on the fifth floor of Gelman Library and new furniture for individual study on the third floor as requested through a student survey.

Dr. Lerman intends to hold a town hall meeting for early next academic year to solicit further feedback from the GW community.

“Our mission as a research-focused institution is to provide strong support for teaching, learning and collaborative study,” Dr. Lerman said. “We welcome input from the GW community as we strive for continued progress in enhancing the library’s resources.”