Students are slowly losing access to their library databases — and the Academic Senate is asking for them back.
LexisNexis, JSTOR and Kanopy are just a few of the many databases that the California State Universities (CSUs) determined the system can no longer afford to provide. However, Robert E. Kennedy Library has continued to fund them out of pocket. For LexisNexis alone, the library currently pays $40,000 per year.
On Feb. 4 at the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors meeting, College of Liberal Arts Librarian Brett Bodemer said the statewide Academic Senate passed a resolution calling for the Chancellor’s Office to increase funding for the Electronic Database Collection.
“If our ASI could be the leaders in that, I think they might recognize the gravity of the situation,” Bodemer said.
According to the CSU website, these databases were once stored in the Electric Core Collections (ECC) funded by the CSU system to supply students with the same access to resources. Across all 23 CSU campuses, the base funding for ECC has remained at a static $5 million since 2008.
According to Bodemer, this amount loses huge value each year due to inflation — about one-fifth of its value ($975,000).
“People don’t think about the library so much,” Bodemer said. “Then all of a sudden, when they can’t get their resources, they go, ‘Woah.’”
When CSU cuts certain databases from the ECC, campuses that wish to maintain access must bear the price. LexisNexis was cut three years ago, but due to high user demand, Kennedy Library was able to maintain access by diverting funds from other electronic content.
LexisNexis is not the only database the library supports on its own, however. The costs of premier journal Nature, as well as titles from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, have risen since 2015, costing $105,000 over the span of four years.
There is a high demand for database use, especially in some of the classes offered at Cal Poly. For instance, Principles of Marketing (BUS 346) relies heavily on library databases, as students are required to use at least five of the 10 marketing databases in their marketing plan project for the class.
“The databases allow students to learn how to use data to make evidence-based decision-making early in their college career with the hope the skills and knowledge will both transfer and grow as students go through their program, independent of their concentration,” Orfalea College of Business marketing professor T.J. Weber said.
According to Bodemer, ASI is working on a resolution in support of the CSU Academic Senate resolution to increase funding, but for now, funds still remain minimal.