Library costs to increase in the upcoming year

Fees for the Newton Gresham Library are slated to increase beginning fall 2015 in order to offset changes in the program’s funding. The increase depends on Texas State University System Board of Regents’ approval today and Friday.

The library fee is currently assessed at $5 per credit hour. Although the current library fee is lower than the average library fee required by other state universities, some changes are underway.

During the budget-building process in spring 2014, Jaimie Hebert, academic affairs provost and vice president, began discussing with the department a more effective way to apply budget funding without using overlay funds, which had been used to fund the library for the last 20-25 years.

This week, Hebert and his department will attend the Board of Regents meeting to discuss a timeframe for the implementation of a new fee which will increase to $7 per credit hour for undergraduate students and $10 per credit hour for graduate students.

The NGL has been a resource to Sam Houston State University students since 1968 and has accumulated books and various other government documents and resources. The mission of the library is to help cultivate critical thinking and provide students with the necessary tools to encourage enhancement in academics.

Approximately $1.3 million is given to the library in order to pay for books and other necessary resources.

Academic Affairs was supplementing the library budget out of the capital outlay money, meaning there were $1.3 million in capital projects that were not being addressed because that money was being pushed to fund the library.

This prevented necessary projects from taking place. Hebert and all other units in the Academics Affair department discussed what amount they would have to raise the library fee to in order to offset that supplement that had been pushed over to library funding.

The department now believes there is a more effective way to provide funding and improve the current resources made available by the library.

“We proposed a dollar amount,” Hebert said. “One that would allow us to provide the same facilities and same services that we’re providing now without having to supplement the budget.”

Even with the raise in fee, SHSU’s library fee given to students was still found to be lower than the average fee in the state.

This new fee will generate the $1.3 million needed to fund the library without supplementing it from the outlay funds. This will be used for books, databases and software packages.

Hebert and the department believe this change in fee will offset the issues and is reasonable considering the average fee in the system.

“We are still below average, and we’re going to stay there.” Hebert said. “If we can provide the same service we are providing in our library at a lower cost to our students than other universities, we’re going to do that.”

This increase in fees, however, will not make the library a 24-hour facility. Hebert said that the idea had been considered in years past.

During a mock trial conducted years ago, Hebert piloted a program where the library was opened for 24 hours during finals week. After monitoring student activity in the library during that time period, the research showed that traffic was not high enough to be cost-beneficial.

If the library were to become a 24-hour facility, the operations budget would need to double in order to support a full overnight crew. This would significantly decrease the number of books, databases and periodicals that can be purchased for student use.

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