State Funding for Library Resources Threatened


Connecticut State Library in Hartford

Libraries across Connecticut, including the Trinity Library, benefit from programs run by the Connecticut State Library. Several of our most popular databases, including PsycInfo, ABI Inform, and Proquest Historical Newspapers are funded through the State Library’s ResearchIt CT service.  Historical Newspapers is used widely and offers content back to the 1980’s and sometimes earlier, for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and thousands of other newspapers. Access to these and other digital resources are provides to all Connecticut libraries–college, university, K-12 and public libraries.

State legislators and the governor have not been able to agree on a fy18 budget, and  since July 1 Connecticut has functioned under Governor Malloy’s Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan, which cuts funding for the State Library 18%. Funds specifically for ResearchIT are cut 50%.

Here are the specifics on the State Library budget under the executive order (ResearchIt funds are State-Wide Digital Library): overall funding is reduced from $9,396,000 by $1,728,000 to $7,668,000 in fy18 and for State-Wide Digital Library funds from $1,768,000 by almost $900,000 to $880,000.

This was nothing new for libraries–every year for the last few years, as part of budget negotiations the spending for the library and its services has been threatened with fairly drastic cuts, but funding has usually been restored at the eleventh hour. Because everyone is used to this there wasn’t too much concern. However, the budget stalemate has gone on for months, and the governor recently vetoed a budget passed by the legislature, which has now brought us to a more difficult situation.

The State Library has let us know that the subscriptions for Proquest Historical Newspapers and ABI Inform expired September 30. Proquest will not turn off access while we await a pricing proposal from them for all Connecticut libraries to keep access to these resources, but they won’t continue that access past December. The State Library and Proquest have said that the total bill will be the basic renewal price Proquest would have charged the State Library, but it is not at all clear how they intend to apportion the bill across all Connecticut libraries, or how all the libraries will manage that access and negotiations going forward.

Trinity College library knows that these resources are important to the community and we intend to fund them. Most libraries in the state will want to continue access as well, but the price may put these resources out of reach for some. Additionally, most libraries have tight budgets, and may not be able to suddenly pick up a large subscription they did not expect (major digital resources can run into the thousands or even tens of thousands.) The situation does underscore that the state budget problems can affect us all in unexpected and unwelcome ways.

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