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Victoria Struggles to Buy Books

Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association is calling on the government to increase funding to universities after a report by the Victoria University Librarian has revealed the funding pressure the University is under.

The report, delivered to today's meeting of the University's Academic Board, was requested after staff expressed concern that the library was not buying enough new books and journals to keep up with academic research. The library's current policy is to focus on purchasing books that are needed for specific courses. This means that more general or interdisciplinary resources, or resources needed for post-graduate and staff research, are not being purchased.

The report confirms that there has been 'an effort to prioritise selections in the face of rapidly declining purchasing power. Since 1997 the budget for new book and journal purchases has been capped at c.$2.99m resulting in a decline in purchasing power since then of 43%, caused by a combination of market price increases and exchange rate losses.'

"We need to keep an up to date library collection to support our research and studies, and at the moment it seems we can't afford to do that." said VUWSA Education Vice-President Nick Henry

"This report confirms what we already knew, that Universities in this country are grossly underfunded and are struggling to meet their basic needs. The government needs to recognise the problem and move to increase funding to Universities." said Mr Henry

"The current funding offer from the government is barely enough to cover inflation. The government needs to make a significant investment in universities if we are to be able to meet our basic needs let alone keep up with International research." said Mr Henry.

ENDS

The University Librarian is Alan Smith. Copies of the report are available from the Committees secretary Carol Reid, or from the students' association.

For Further Information contact: VUWSA Education Vice-President Nick Henry, 475 8445 VUWSA President Chris Hipkins 021 707 927

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