MUNCIE — Ball State University faculty are urging the administration to rescue the main campus library, Bracken Library, from what they describe as a "financial crisis" that "needs to be addressed fast."
Some faculty reportedly are resorting to violating copyright laws to get students the materials they need.
"The library’s budget has been flat for over a decade, which has put Ball State at considerable disadvantage compared to peer institutions, and has compromised faculty’s ability to keep their courses rigorous and to conduct research," Yaron Ayalon, Faculty Council chair, told The Star Press.
"Left untreated, the current fiscal crisis will result in further cancellation of subscriptions, and in continuously reduced funds for one-time purchases —books, movies, et cetera — to the extent that such purchases might stop completely within a few years," Ayalon, an assistant professor of history, said in an email.
"Thus the collections would not be — and in some areas they are no longer — at the level required to teach undergraduate students," he went on. "I personally know of several faculty who regularly violate copyright laws to get students materials the library cannot purchase because they prefer that approach over compromising the quality of instruction. Clearly such a state is incompatible with Ball State’s upcoming strategic plan, or with the 'We Fly' message."
The Faculty Council this month unanimously adopted a resolution urging the administration to increase the library's annual expenditure on library materials — which has had no permanent budget increase since 2003-04.
The university's expenditure of $2.05-million on library materials last year ranked at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference.