A library without books? Hilarious

Can we get a few more books? (photo by Bryn Karcha)

Can we get a few more books? (Photo by Bryn Karcha)

Dear President Florizone,

I laughed pretty hard at the funny joke Dalhousie made about cutting library acquisitions for one, possibly two years. HA! HA! A library that can’t afford new books? (Wheeze) That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!

Then I found out you weren’t kidding. And stopped laughing.

I’m not sure how many business degrees I would have to take for this to make sense, but as an English and philosophy student, cutting library acquisitions is totally ludicrous. How are professors supposed to do their research without access to updated scholarship? How are students supposed to write papers that aren’t complete shit without that resource? As I’m sure you know, a lot can happen scholarship-wise in one year. Dal is not competitive as a learning institution if we can’t keep up.

I know capital projects and library funding probably come from two very different streams of budgeting. But frankly, Florizone, I don’t give a damn—I’m going to make this point anyways. Why are we putting $13 million into renovations to the SUB, when we can’t afford books? Why did we invest in whatever new mutation the LSC has sprouted, when journals are being chopped as haphazardly as heads in the French Revolution? While the money for building may come from a different budget, these projects prove that the money is there. Rather than invest in the basic reason why we’re all here—education—Dal is prioritizing concrete, glass and expansion.

Our basic mission as a university is for professors to do their research, students to learn about it, and the community to benefit from it. Bring the books back, Florizone. Our mission isn’t accomplished yet.


Samantha Elmsley


  1. Richard Florizone on October 25, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Thanks for your message Samantha, and for your passion and concern for Dal libraries – which I share.

    Just to clarify, Dal libraries has $5.7M for new acquisitions this year, and we will continue to invest in acquisitions next year.

    The library acquisitions budget was protected through several years of overall budget cuts at Dal, and received a 1% reduction in the most recent year. While that 1% sounds modest, I’ve learned that it’s been exacerbated by declining purchasing power (i.e. increasing cost of acquisitions).

    Provost Carolyn Watters and I are gathering more data to understand the situation and determine potential solutions.

    We’ll keep you updated when we reach a conclusion, and please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Best Regards,
    p.s. this is my first time responding online to the Dalgazette. I signed in through my google account, and hope it works!

    • Melmoth on October 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Great article, Samantha! I don’t think the big numbers in this reply are very helpful here: “acquisitions” might include everything from buying an e-journal five times through different suppliers to flat-screen monitors for that big empty room with the big couches in the Killam.

      There’s a freeze on book purchases. That means no new books–not a decrease in purchasing power, but no purchasing power at all. Have expenditures on FASS books dropped so low that cancelling them entirely is a minor adjustment (1%)? If there’s $5.7m for new acquisitions, what is being prioritized over *books*–what puts books so low on the list that they get *nothing*? “Library” is from the latin word for “book,” isn’t it? Samantha’s right–none of this makes any sense.

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Samantha Elmsley

Samantha was Opinions Editor of the Gazette for Volumes 145 and 146.

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