Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



Library Philosophy and Practice 2011


Academic libraries are those attached to universities, polytechnics, college of education and other similar institutions of higher learning. The importance of funding in providing quality library service cannot be overemphasized. It is the glue that holds the building, collection and staff together and allows the library to attain its goals. As such, money can be considered the soul of the library. Inadequate funds impede the effectiveness of any library (Anafulu, 1997).

It is absolutely essential for a library to posses the resources that will enable it meet its goals. Beautiful building, well trained staff and modern information storage and retrieval systems can only be appreciated if excellent services are rendered to users. These services cannot be provided without adequate finance. The American Library Association (2006) notes that libraries of all kinds need money. The amount of funding that a library receives directly influences the quality of its services. While the majority of funds for libraries comes from state and local sources, federal funding provides critical assistance, giving libraries across the country the financial support they need to serve their communities.

Like water and air, libraries have become an integral part of human existence. Often called the memory of human race, libraries are supposed to have on their shelves the records of almost everything which man has thought, dreamt of and invented. All these demand that, academic libraries should be adequately funded to be able to carryout these functions (Ifidon, 1992).

Libraries are organic. This is to say that they grow or shrink with time depending on how much life is infused into them. Fund is needed to provide the information needs of the academic library. The academic library is a social service organization that is capital intensive. Money is needed for building, physical facilities, books, journals, electronic resources, personnel, etc. (Ehigiator, 1997).

The library is invariably a part of a wider organization – an arm of government, university, school, research institute or business concern as the case may be. Its budget, therefore is negotiated with its parent organization. The parent body is therefore the proprietor that takes full responsibility for its funding. Academic libraries are financed from the budgets of their parent institutions. These funds usually cover only the current expenditure. But sometimes, libraries are supported by government ministries particularly Ministry of Education (Akporhonor, 2005).

According to Emojorho (2004), Nigerian government owned university libraries derive funds from government allocations, endowment funds, library fees, gifts and other miscellaneous sources such as the sale of duplicate materials, fines and photocopying; that the bursar integrates and collates the various estimates from the various departments. The estimates are then channeled through and defended, at the following six levels:

1 Library committee: the librarian presents and explains his budget estimate.

2 Development and Estimate committee, the librarian defends his budget estimate.

3 Finance and general purposes committee.

4 The university council.

5 The National University commission/commission of higher Education.

6 Ministry of finance and education Development- through the ministry of education.

In academic libraries, the budgetary procedure starts with the bursar who sends out a notice to the librarian asking for preliminary budgets estimates. When the librarian receives this notice, he and the various sectional heads of the library meet and draw up the budget estimate which is then sent to the bursar. Funds for library and information services are traditionally derived from the library’s proprietor. The extent of such revenue varies from fixed fraction of received grant to ad-hoc arrangement (Edoka, 1992).

Hisle (2002) pointed out that: academic libraries in developing countries depend mainly on government funding and they do not show any interest or experience in well organized fundraising for several reasons:

1 Citizens used to give donations to other types of libraries, mainly public libraries.

2 Lack of flexible administrative systems.

3 No clear responsibility for organizing fundraising campaign is assigned, either to librarians or university administrators. Library funds are accumulated from a mixture of local, state, federal, and other sources.

Funding models for academic libraries vary greatly, depending on whether the institution is private or public, a particular state’s budgetary regulations and funding formulas for higher education and the overall budgetary situation of each university. American Library Association (2006) stated that academic library budgets are allocated by the central university administration based on historic formulas or outdated needs, and libraries follow their institutional policies and mandates regarding budgets. Occasionally, an institution provides funding for its library through individual colleges and departments instead of centrally setting the library budget. In that case, each department or university unit decides whether or not to fund the library each year based on satisfactory library service as well as need. In most cases, academic library budgets are not allocated separately from the university budgets. For some libraries, budget is allocated partially for acquisition, while other aspects such as staff and furniture is part of the university budget. This arrangement does not meet the library needs (Hisle, 2002).

Nigerian academic and research libraries derive the major part of their financial support from the government. Ifidon (1990) found that university libraries derive the greatest part of their funds from their universities, whose major sources of financial support is the government. Of all the different types of libraries in Nigeria, only university libraries have a clearly- defined policy on funding. They are allocated 10 percent of the recurring annual budget of their parent universities, a result of the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities agreement of 1992 (Okiy, 2005). Funds for library and information services are traditionally derived from the library proprietor. The extent of such revenue varies from fixed fraction of received grant to ad-hoc arrangement (Edoka, 1992).

According to Anafulu (1997) the university library is only one of numerous units in a university. By its centrality and role in the endeavours of the university-teaching, research and extension work - it is a major unit and a vital one at that. Notwithstanding these considerations, however, the fact remains that the university library does not generate its own income and does not receive grants directly from the proprietor. The general financial environment of the university is such that allocations are made to the library, but apart from small imprest accounts, no money is held in the library. Omotayo (1997) opined that libraries derived their funds from the host university. Therefore as university financial situation dwindled, so also the allocation to the library.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.