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Explored: Budget cuts at Killam

The Killam Library cannot afford any new acquisitions (photo by Asrar UlHaq)
The Killam Library cannot afford any new acquisitions (Photo by Asrar Haq)

The Killam Memorial Library has reinstated old hours on Friday and Saturday nights after feedback from students, including a petition in early October, but will need to make cuts elsewhere to balance their books.

Killam hours were only cut from the library after a 3.5 per cent cut was made to the operating budgets of every Dalhousie library, on top of a one per cent cut to the collection acquisitions budgets. As a result, the library will not be expanding its print collection this term or hiring any new staff, and will need to find other ways to cut costs to compensate for the return to old hours.

Joyline Makani, head librarian at the Killam, spoke to the Gazette earlier in the term and did not believe the cuts could come from anywhere else.

“We’ve already re-evaluated everything. We are waiting now. If the petition doesn’t come with money, we can’t re-evaluate anything.”

Now, with hours back, they’ll have to.

The decision to keep the extended Friday and Saturday hours will be reviewed before January, based on the ability to cuts funding to other areas of the budget. Failing that, reduced hours will be reinstated.

Hours were scheduled to extend to midnight again on Fridays and Saturdays starting on Nov. 1, as part of Night Owls, during which the Killam is open until 3 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday until the end of the term. Because it reinstated hours Oct. 11, almost three weeks sooner, the library will need to figure out a plan B.

Cuts to staff hours have already been made with consideration of union limitations and security for later hours. No full-time staff have been let go, but in an effort to more efficiently staff the library, no new staff will be brought in. This is especially true for student assistants, according to returning staffer Jeff Wilson, a second-year social work student.

“There are fewer jobs in total, so I think we [the student assistants] are grateful for what we’ve received.”

The full effect of the re-instated hours isn’t clear yet, with the budget committee unsure of where the money is going to come from. The new fiscal year and budget start in March 2014.

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With files from Kristie Smith.

Sabina Wex
Sabina Wex
Sabina is the Gazette's Managing Editor. Email Sabina at managing@dalgazette.com.
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