- Associated Press - Sunday, September 21, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Edith Garland Dupré Library at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette managed to protect journal and database subscriptions during massive state budget cuts over the past six years.

But The Advertiser reported (https://bit.ly/1iqu5zN) the library had a hard time with minimal book budgets.

This year’s operating budget allocates $160,000 to acquire books, which Dean of Libraries Charles Triche III said will allow the research library to “play catch-up a bit.”

“In the past we’ve had no budget to buy books. I’ve had emergency funds to purchase ones that were really necessary,” said Triche. “But I haven’t had a strong book budget until this year.”

The library also has $7,500 from interest earned from the university foundation’s endowed library accounts. The money varies from year to year based on stock market performance, and Triche said this is the first time in many years money has been available.

The book budget is the largest the library has seen since the 2007-08 academic year before state budget cuts began. Library officials said the purchases will help graduate students and faculty keep up-to-date on research.

“There are disciplines for which the book is very, very important: English, history,” Triche said. “These disciplines are the ones that were hurting the most when we weren’t wholesale buying books. And those were the disciplines who were speaking the loudest.”

Sheryl Curry, head of information technology and web services, is responsible for ordering books for the university’s English department.

With tight book budgets the past few years, it’s been difficult for faculty members and their students who require specific books for research.

“Sometimes we’ve been able to help them with our e-book collections. It’s a hit-or-miss with language and literature,” Curry said.

Christine DeVine, professor of English and the department’s graduate program coordinator, said doctoral students in recent years have gone to conferences to present their research only to learn their work is behind the times.

“This budget is really, really important to us,” DeVine said. “And we’re very happy we’re going to get some great books. What we need to do is buy the new books every year as they come out.”

There are about 115 English graduate students enrolled this semester, with about 82 sections of English taught by graduate teaching assistants in the program.

The tight library book budgets also affected faculty members who devote research to different concentrations.

Many faculty members have resorted to buying books themselves.

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Information from: The Advertiser, https://www.theadvertiser.com

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