Library funds ‘not sufficient’ for journals

A year after a report said Jerome Library has an insufficient number of music education journals, the selection remains inadequate.

According to the report released by the music education department last February, the journals are used by graduate students and faculty to conduct original research.

The library’s funding is “just not sufficient” to keep a wide variety of journals, said William Mathis, who is both the coordinator of graduate studies at the College of Musical Arts and a member of the Faculty Senate Budget Committee.

“These journals are very expensive,” Mathis said. “The library’s had to cut back.”

And those cutbacks are due to budget cuts for the library, which look more attractive than cuts elsewhere, according to Mathis.

“[The library] is a big expense that’s non-personnel,” he said. “85 percent, maybe even more, is non-personnel. It’s easier to cut a half-percent of the library’s budget than let three people go.”

One alternative to subscribing to journals in-house is the Inter-Library Loan program. It allows students to request materials for free from sources around the world, which are sent to the University within a few days.

Jennifer Bell, a first-year master’s student of music education at BGSU, has used the ILL program before.

“It’s nice because [the journals] are available online,” she said. “[But] sometimes you can’t get them online because, I don’t know – They’re too old maybe.”

Bell goes to Jerome Library about two times a month, and while she said it does have journals with broader focuses, it lacks some of the specialized ones she needs.

One such periodical, Suzuki, focuses on a teaching style developed by Shinichi Suzuki to easily instruct young children how to play violin. Bell had to order it over ILL.

“I think it’s reasonable – I think it’s fine to share between universities,” Bell said.

Heinz Bulmahn, dean of the Graduate College, said the problem of supplying research journals is larger than the College of Music – it is a campus-wide issue.

“Our library, compared to Ohio State or to the University of Michigan, is relatively small,” he said. “It’s not reasonable to have every journal.”

Bulmahn said having access to research materials is important to the graduate and research communities, and the ILL is an efficient way to get materials the library here doesn’t have.

“I’m certainly an advocate of getting the research materials that both our graduate students and our faculty need,” Bulmahn said.

While he said budget constraints limit the journals the library subscribes to, he has no authority to appropriate funds – only spur the administration to do so.

At Faculty Senate budget meetings, Mathis said funding for the library is always a point of discussion.

“The library always gets high priority,” he said. “The library fares better overall [than other buildings] … It could be a lot worse, in other words.”