Lack of funding bites into OhioLINK

Rebecca Moidel

Diminishing funding for OhioLINK, the Ohio Library and Information Network, could be putting library resources at risk.

Cindy Kristof, head of Access Services, said OhioLINK is admired and serves as a great way to find books about a topic that particularly interests the reader. She said Ohio is not at its healthiest point, and state legislators aren’t contributing to OhioLINK funding like they used to.

“We constantly have to get the attention of legislators to make sure we are a priority,” she said. “They decide how much they’re going to allocate to us.”

Where has all the funding gone?

Kristof said the program needs about a 5 percent increase each year to keep up with resources. Unless OhioLINK receives approximately $200,000 a year, complications could occur, she said.

Candi Clevenger, communications manager of the central OhioLINK office in Columbus, said without additional funding, currently available resources and services may not be available in the future. She said OhioLINK won’t be able to purchase new information and there will be restrictions on funds to develop new services and improve existing ones.

Clevenger said the library has been forced to pay for resources, but because of a halt on funding, it can no longer pay.

“Now is the time resources have been lost, and it’s become more noticeable to our end users,” she said. “Our problem is that our funding hasn’t increased in a number of years, and prices increase for a number of resources.”

Kristof said good deal of the library’s budget goes to OhioLINK. Though sacrifices have been made by many universities, “we don’t want to see a good thing go away,” she said.

The space dilemma

Space issues have also become a problem and require additional funding. Across the state, five regional depositories are running out of room for print copies. Kristof said eventually everything may become electronic, not only because it provides easy access, but because with today’s technology, electronic media is in higher demand.

Apart from a decrease in local space, OhioLINK is constantly improving software and buying additional storage space, Clevenger said.

“We’re also improving and adding more resources,” she said. “We now even have access to more catalogs because we currently added our 10 millionth unique title to our catalog.”

Potential for expansion

With additional funding, Clevenger said she would like to see OhioLINK expand information access to more than 100 different databases. She said they are lucky to be supported by day funds and that the program takes pride that no single library offers as much as it does.

“It’s wonderful that any student, at any branch campus, Kent State and Ohio University can all access the same information without the hassle of traveling to get what they need,” she said, adding that OhioLINK allows Kent State to be on par with other big universities outside of the state.

In the future OhioLINK is working on a digital resource common. Clevenger said it could be the next robust generation media center including more journals, electronic books and digital sources. She said it would be designed so faculty and graduate students will be able to add their projects and papers to the online search engines.

David Bell, junior computer design and animation major, said he has used OhioLINK for architecture classes in search of articles. He said these search engines made finding information a lot easier.

“If funding for OhioLINK doesn’t increase, it’s going to make doing research papers a lot more difficult on students,” he said, “because the information won’t be as easily obtainable.”

Contact Library and Media Services reporter Rebecca Moidel [email protected].