Proquest, Netsupport, Oxford English Dictionary and CQ Researcher are all cut to save money
On Dec. 1, American and World History teacher Bonnie Belshe’s students frantically used Proquest, an online school resource, on the library computers— the subscription would expire the next day and would then no longer be available for student use.
Students in Belshe’s class were assigned a research paper on imperialism in various countries. Proquest is customarily a valuable tool because of its Culturegrams and History Study Center, which provide students with a gist of the culture and suggested reading.
However, because of this year’s library budget cuts, Proquest was not renewed and is no longer available.
Last year, books and supplies cost the library $20,246 and licensing agreements cost $10,715. According to Assistant Principal Trudy Gross, this year’s library budget is only $29,000, a decrease of $1,961 compared to last year’s after being passed through School Site Council on Nov. 11.
A tighter purse has forced librarian Mary Ann Bouchard to re-evaluate the worth of the expensive electronic resources such as Proquest and thus, saving the library large sums of money.
As of Jan. 1, the school’s Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Researcher subscription will also expire . Bouchard asked for money for this program but was turned down by School Site Council, who approves the allocation of library funds. After asking the History Department to re-evaluate the worth of this program, they concluded that the program was no longer necessary. If the converse was decided, Bouchard would have tried to pull funds from other sources such as the PTSA.
The Oxford English Dictionary and Netsupport maintenance fees were also cut to make up for the loss in funding.
Oxford Dictionary Services and Proquest were eliminated because they overlap with other online resources the school provides. Namely JSTOR and Gale Databases more commonly known as Infotrac, fulfill the same purpose. The two databases both provide articles and other source material for research.
But student-geared resources were not the only ones affected — staff resources were cut as well. Netsupport is the system that allows the librarian or other teachers using the library computers to supervise all of the monitors. This year, they have chosen opt out of any upgrades or support services but have not eradicated the program all together.
Costing $14,130 per annual subscription, the most expensive online resource is Gale Databases, which has multiple facets including Gale Virtual Reference Library and Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center and uses up almost half of the library budget.
Funding for the library comes from categorical grants, which are for specifc types of funding, and discretionary grants from the state, which allow for a wider range of options when allocating funds. $24,500 was granted by the state and $4,500 from general school funding this year.
Despite the cuts, Bouchard still feels that electronic resources are valuable to students.
"One of the most important things that we are doing is training students on how to use resources," Bouchard said. "The skills you learn now are ones that you will use in college."
Belshe agreed with this assertion. "What is valid academic research has to be taught to students," Belshe said. "And it’s not using Google."