New research conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of JISC, SCONUL and UCISA shows that, although university library and Information Technology (IT) services may not yet be fully feeling the ‘pinch’ of the recession, given the likelihood of deeper financial cuts being imposed in 2010/2011, it is clear that they will be impacted unavoidably in a number of ways, such as reduced opening hours, decreased opportunity for developing staff skills, and limitations in procuring and providing resources. Such impacts, certainly for libraries, are likely to be compounded by the decreasing value of sterling in an international market for acquisitions, and the ever-changing demands of students and academic staff on their services.
The impact of any cuts is likely to have wider implications on institutions’ delivery of their overall strategic aims, such as enhancing the student experience. However, it is not clear what impact this will have on these services and universities in the longer term, five or more years from now. Thus, a number of questions remain unanswered; for example, to what extent will access to resources be reduced as subscriptions are cancelled, and what impact will this have on future users; will workstations for students and staff be underpowered because replacement cycles are lengthened; and will services be able to operate satisfactorily if significant staff redundancies occur?
This project was designed to determine the impressions, opinions and plans of senior managers working in university information services, through a qualitative approach, to gather sufficient depth of information. This briefing paper outlines the key findings.
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