Thursday, December 18, 2014

Financial management in University Libraries P- 02. Academic Libraries

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं -chandrashekh

Financial management in University Libraries

P- 02. Academic Libraries *

By :jagtar singh,Paper Coordinator

Financial management in University Libraries


Finances constitute the backbone, the life and blood of any institution. Kautilya, the great Indian Philosopher also remarked, “All undertakings depend upon finance, and hence foremost attention should be paid to treasury”. Sound fiscal policy is, therefore, of crucial importance to any institution, let alone a university the seat of higher learning. University finances have undergone a dramatic change both in magnitude and pattern. The needs and demands of universities have increased and so has the flow of finances in them.

Sources of Finance

University libraries in India receive funds in various proportions from the following sources:
  1. Grants allocated from the university budget
  2. Grants from the University Grants Commission
  3. Grants from Central and State government
  4. Endowments and gifts
  5. Library Fee (such as development fee, security, etc)
  6. Fines and miscellaneous sources.
The funds are usually either in lumpsum to the university or item-wise for staff, equipment etc. and are generally given for one academic year. The university libraries, in addition to regular grants, also receive ad hoc grants from time to time from various sources such as UGC, and such other institutions as Asia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, etc.
i)                    Grants allocated out of University Budget:
An important part of university library budget is funds from university budget. Allocations are made normally directly to the library. There are two types of grants:
  1. Recurring
  2. Non-recurring

The recurring grants are given generally for the purpose of purchase of books and periodicals, salaries of staff, maintenance of regular services and for anticipated contingent expenditure. The non-recurring grants are for specific purposes such as construction of library building, purchase of furniture, equipment, computers, other paraphernalia, and at times for the development of special collections in university libraries. These are also known as ad-hoc grants.

ii)                  Grants from the University Grants Commission:

The university also gets special grants from the UGC which are passed on to the library for various purposes such as buildings, furniture, equipments, purchase of books etc. State governments also provides matching grant sometimes as per requirement of the UGC. It comes under university budget.

iii)                 Grants from Central and State government:

It is very clear that Central government funds mainly central universities and state universities are funded by the State government. Agricultural universities get funding from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) etc.

iv)                Endowments and gifts:

In India endowments and gifts are a rare phenomenon as Indians believe in doing charity in the name of religion and lastly for education. In the early sixties, the Indian universities were benefited by the endowment grants given by Ford Foundation, PL 480 funds and the Rockfeller Foundation and many individuals who donated money for building libraries.

v)                  Library Fee (such as development fee, security, etc.):

This does not constitute library income in the real sense as the library fee is very nominal and security is refundable.

vi)                Fines and miscellaneous sources:

Overdue fines comprise a meager income of the university library, as in many university libraries in India there is no fine for faculty and as such no uniformity for overdue charges. Sale of publications or information products, sale of waste paper, charges for photocopying, micrographic, computer laboratory usage and other such services fall under miscellaneous sources.

Recommended Standards for Allocation of Funds from University to library

In today’s time of financial crisis it is very difficult for the university libraries to survive and thrive. The biggest challenge is- What percentage of the total university budget should be allocated to the library? It depends on several factors, for example the economic condition of the country, availability of total funds, policy and availability of funds with Central and State government, whether or not the library is placed high on the list of priorities of the university and above all the attitude of the higher authorities towards the library and vision of the university librarian.
Various Education Commissions, Committees and agencies have suggested various norms of library expenditure to the total university expenditure, varying from 6.25% to 20 %.
University Education Commission (1948-49) recommended 6.25% of total university budget be spent on the university library.
The UGC Library Committee (1957-65) had recommended that for the time being library grant may be at the rate of Rs 15 per student and Rs 200 per teacher and research fellow.
The Kothari Commission (1964-66) recommended in its report that the library grant may at the rate of Rs 25 per student and Rs 300 per teacher. This is per capita method of determination of library finance. In percentile terms, the Education Commission recommended that a university should spend 6.5% to 10% of its total budget on its library depending on stage of development.
The most ambitious recommendations were recommended by The Karnataka State Universities Review Committee (1979-80) whose Chairman K.N. Raj recommended 20% of university budget be spent on library.
But despite these specific recommendations, the situation in university libraries has not been very bright. As a result of lackadaisical approach to the university libraries, there has not only been a situation of financial stagnation but also of decline in their funding. The recession-driven economy since 2008 has been responsible for providing fewer funds for state-funded universities and other institutions of higher education. Decrease in funding for libraries is global phenomena, and India is no exception. On the contrary, as observed by Drake, universities are rather asking for “increasing accountability; budget justifications; and quantitative measures of value, outcomes, and impact”.

Ranganathan Committee (1957)

The most comprehensive and significant document on the university and college libraries is the Report of the UGC library committee, chaired by Dr. S.R. Ranganathan. The Report was published by the University Grants Commission in 1959 entitled ‘University and College Libraries.’ It was perhaps the first attempt by any Library Committee in India to systematically survey the academic libraries on a national basis, and it was also the first time that the government of India had decided to seek advice from professional librarians regarding academic libraries. The committee made recommendations to the UGC on the standards of libraries, building, pay scales, and library training.  Some of the recommendations of the Committee included the provision that the UGC and the State Government should help the college and the university libraries in the collection development of both books and periodicals. The formula suggested by the committee was that funds be given “at the rate of Rs. 15 per enrolled student and Rs. 200 per teacher and research fellow. There should also be special initial library grants in the case of a new university and of a new department in an existing university; a similar scale should be followed for the college libraries.

Kothari Commission (1964-66)

The Education Commission under the Chairmanship of Dr. D. S. Kothari (1964-66) was a landmark in the history of university libraries in India. The Commission was shocked to note that the recommendations of the Radhakrishnan Commission had not been fully implemented, for only four universities in India had spent 5% or more of their budget on books and periodicals acquisitions, though the 1948’s Commission has suggested that 6% of the total budget be spent on libraries. It was clear proof that the university libraries in India were not functioning properly to fulfill the needs of higher education.
Monetary guidelines were also suggested by the Commission. “As a norm, a university should spend each year about Rs.25 per student registered and Rs.300 per teacher [of the total budget] depending on the stage of development of each university library.” It was also suggested that “the foreign exchange needed for university and college libraries should be allowed separately to the UGC.”

The Wheat Loan Programme

During the 1950’s and early 1960’s the Indian academic libraries received huge grants from the UGC amounting upto Rs. 100,000 for books, buildings, equipment and even for additional staff. At the same time many libraries got additional grants from a special US fund called the ‘Wheat Loan Programme.’ The American Congress passed a special Act, in 1951 known as the ‘Public Law 480’ to loan India $ 19,000,000 to buy much needed wheat (two million tons) from the US. Under the agreement of the loan, India had to buy American books, periodicals and scientific equipment worth $ 50,000 to be used for research purposes in the Indian libraries. This, money India had to pay as interest on the loan. Part of the money was to be spent on the exchange of scholars, including librarians, between the two countries. This clause proved a great boon as many librarians got an opportunity to visit, learn from the library practices of USA. The United States authorities bought some educational material and equipment from India for research purposes and higher education in the American Universities. During 1951-1961 Indian libraries spent US dollar 1,400,000 of the purchase of American books, US dollar 160,000 on libraries, US dollar 40,000 on the travel and study grants for thirty three Indian librarians to visit the United States and US dollar 75,000 on the travel and study grants of the Five Americans.
One of the earliest all India university survey was carried out by Srivastava and Verma published in 1980. It was found that, “Out of the 32 university libraries…only 6 university libraries were spending 6.5% or above: 3 university libraries were spending 5% or above but less than 6.5%; 10 were in between 3%-5%, 10 fell within the range of 1% or more but less than 3% and the remaining 3 spent less than 1% of their total university budget”. (Srivastava and Verma) Agricultural universities are funded by the State Govt. and the ICAR, during 90’s Prasher found that “no university had spent 6% or even 5% of its budget on the library. Only one spent more than 4% but less than 5%; four spent over 3% but less than 4%; two spent more than 2% but less than 3%; seven spent more than 1% but less than 2%; and the remaining six spent even less than 1%.” (Prasher)

National Knowledge Commission

The National Knowledge Commission was set up by the Government of India on 13th June 2005 with a time-frame of three years, from 2nd October 2005 to 2nd October 2008.
As a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, the National Knowledge Commission was given a mandate to guide policy and direct reforms, focusing on certain key areas such as education, science and technology, agriculture, industry , e-governance etc. Easy access to knowledge, creation and preservation of knowledge systems, dissemination of knowledge and better knowledge services are core concerns of the Commission. ( Besides other recommendations regarding libraries this is an important one concerning funding.

Set up a Central Library Fund

A specified percentage of the Central and State education budgets must be ear-marked for libraries. In addition, a Central Library Fund should be instituted for upgrading existing libraries over a period of 3-5 years. Initially, the value of funds from the Government sector may be Rs. 1,000 crores, which may be matched by the private sector through corporate philanthropy. This fund should be administered by the National Mission/ Commission on Libraries. (

College Libraries

The College libraries in India have a significant role to play in higher education. When India attained Independence many of the 533 affiliated colleges did not have their own libraries, but at present, every college in the country has a library continue to be neglected.Majority of the college libraries do not have proper facilities to meet the needs of their users. Their collections are not up-to- date, their budgets are very inadequate and limited, and a large number of them are single libraries. In many colleges, there is neither a library hall nor a sufficient big room, not to think of a separate building for the library. Any unused room, quite often somewhere out of sight, would be considered adequate to house a few shelves of books. And in most college libraries there is complete darkness even during the day time, as the windows are closed out of a fear that the books may be stolen. Many do not have any qualified librarian on their staff and have closed stacks only.
Several commissions and committees, like the Radhakrishnan Commission of 1948, did not stress the importance of the college libraries in their reports. However, the University Grants Commission gives more importance to the college libraries. As the quality of higher education and research, especially at the graduate level, depends upon, among other things, the standard of the college libraries and their services. Therefore, the UGC has played a significant role in the growth and development of college libraries since 1953 by giving grants for books, equipment, staff and library buildings and has done a remarkable job in salary improvement of the college librarians. The UGC’s contribution to the college libraries is at the rate of Rs. 15 per student with a maximum of Rs. 10,000 with some additional and special grants for text -books, when a new subject is introduced in the Curriculum. On the other hand, the colleges and the state governments have failed to provide their equal share. The total Expenditure on the college libraries according to the recommendation of the Education Commission should be 6.25 per cent of the total budgets of the colleges, but in most cases it has remained between 1.5 per cent and 2.3 per cent.
There is lack of collection development policy in the college libraries and book selection is done without taking into consideration the actual needs of the faculty and the students of the colleges. Even this small inadequate collection, in depth and content, is not used effectively due to the closed stacks system and lack of staff and facilities for instruction concerning their use.
Last thoughts
Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) have come in a big way in Indian colleges and university libraries. They have changed the information is sought and stored. It has directly put pressure on the already limited resources of libraries as first infrastructure is required to equip academic libraries with computers, internet connection and trained staff. University libraries are buying access to e-journals and various databases, which again means more money needed. The traditional formula of Dr. S.R. Ranganathan where he had recommended
 Staff-                                                50%
Books and other reading material- 40%
Miscellaneous items-                        10%

Later, in view of the recommendations of various library experts and committees, the allocation of expenditure amongst various heads may be done on the following lines:
Salaries and wages        50%
Books                             20%
Periodicals                    13%
Binding                           7%
Lighting, heating,
cooling, etc.                   3%
Library supplies etc.     7%

University budget has undergone many changes because of the changes that have taken place in the academic environment of universities, colleges and their libraries. Pay scales have been revised many times years after years and staff salaries are eating away major chunk of the university library budget. Escalating foreign currencies, devaluation of rupee have resulted in major cuts in subscription of journals. Number of books acquired annually has also declined. Miscellaneous expenses have increased as new heads like computer insurance, their maintenance; paraphernalia are making it very hard to run the libraries smoothly. Central and State Government Universities and colleges are daily struggling with the ideas of increasing student fees but then that is opposed by the students. Hence, a deadlock and status quo.


Auditing is scrutiny of any financial transaction of government and semi-government bodies. It is a financial control exercise and provides control over irregular, inappropriate and wasteful spending. The Central or State govt., UGC or Senate whichever is the authority-ultimately it is the audit report which convinces and satisfies these authorities that every rupee has been lawfully spent. There are two types of audit systems in university libraries in India: a) Post-audit and Pre-audit.
Auditing is done in the university office, the auditing responsibility for library expenditure lies with the university librarian. The usual practice especially in the university libraries that have post-audit, is that the librarian is informed with the audit dates before hand. A library staff  member goes to the university office, before the actual audit, and notes down all the voucher numbers, payment dates, expenditure statements and other details, so that the documents which are actually required for audit could be presented. Hence auditing is done for the library expenditure. These days,  pre-audit is a common feature in all the university libraries of India. In pre-audit procedure, the problem of collection and noting of vouchers does not arise. This simplifies matters somewhat, and reduces the auditing responsibility of the university librarian.


Ever since the origin of higher education and its institutes, many changes have taken place politically, economically, socially, technologically, and culturally which have directly or indirectly effected higher education and its institutions. Universities and their libraries are no exception. The journey began with Taxila, Nalanda and now again after a full circle, there is New Nalanda University. Universities have grown in numbers and now crossed 600. In India there are big established universities and also universities that are run in a few rooms. The National Knowledge Commission had recommended setting up of 1500 universities by 2015, which seems impossible. And converting old colleges into universities is no solution. That is why private players have emerged and they are having state-of-the-art universities with latest infrastructure and equipments, including university libraries. They are charging heavy fees and have commercialized higher education. Private universities are thriving and attracting students on the pretext of providing latest facilities.
Funds have and will always remain the backbone of any institution. So if the government and UGC do not sit together and chalk out a plan to deal with the financial crisis, the future of university libraries and their services will be bleak. There is a need for universities to generate their own funds so that they can run efficiently and effectively. Similarly, university libraries have also to plan their strategy for future for proper financial management, so that library services are not negatively affected. To keep pace with the changing time library services have to be revamped from time to time. For this purpose more funds are needed and these will have to be managed. As mentioned before that state governments are short of funds for state universities and something needs to be done at the earliest to save the future generation of students from going without library facilities.

Reading List

India. Education Commission (1964-66) (Chairman: D.S. Kothari). Report: Educational Planning and National Development. Delhi: Manager of Publication, Government of India, 1966.
India. National Knowledge Commission. Report. New Delhi: National Knowledge Commission, 2007.
India. University Education Commission (1948-49) (Chairman : S. Radhakrishnan). Report. Delhi: Manager of Publication, Government of India, 1949.
India. Planning Commission. Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17) Social Sector:Volume III.
India, Planning Commission. Higher Education in India: Twelfth Five Year Plan and Beyond (2012-2017)
Mishra, Shiva  Funding by University Grants Commission Available at
Prasher, R.G. Managing university libraries. New Delhi: Today and Tomorrow’s, 1991. P. 197.
Sharma, R.N., ed. Libraries in the early 21st Century: An international perspective. Vol. 2. K.G. Saur, IFLA, 2012.
Srivastava, S.N. and Verma, S.C. University Libraries in India. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1980. P.58-9
Trishanjit Kaur (1994). Development and Growth of University Libraries and their Services in Punjab. Ph.D. Thesis (Unpublished). P.284-301.

Trishanjit Kaur (2009). Academic Libraries. In Abdullahi, Ismail (ed.). Global Library and Information Science: A Textbook for Students and Educators. IFLA publications, 175-185. Munchen: K.G.Saur.

University Grants Commission (India). Library Committee. Report: University and College Libraries. New Delhi: UGC, 1965.
University Grants Commission (India) (1992-93). UGC funding of Institutions of Higher Education: Report of Justice Dr. K. Punnayya Committee, 1992-93. Available at

Further Readings

  1. Akeroyd, John. (2001). The Future of Academic Libraries. Aslib Proceedings. 53(3), 79.
  2. Billings, Harold (2003). The Wild-Card Academic Library in 2013. College and Research Libraries, 62(3), 105-109.
  3. Borgman, Christine L. (2002).Challenges for Academic Libraries in the Networked World.  In The Second Slovene Conference of Academic Libraries Development of Academic Libraries for the University of the 21st Century. Ljubljana, Slovenia. Retrieved on August 25, 2009 from
  4. Curran, Bill (2002). The Future of the Academic Library. Concordia University Magazine. Accessed on September 2, 2009 from:
  5. Lewis, David W. (2007). A model for Academic Libraries 2005 to 2025. In Visions of Change, California State University at Sacramento, January 26. Retrieved on September 2, 2009 from:;jsessionid=C87FB460551611E659863C9D6A9B9299?sequence=6
  6. Marcum, Janmes W. (2003). Visions: The Academic Library in 2012. D-Lib Magazine, 9 (5). Retrieved on September 2, 2009 From:
  7. Martell, Charles (2007). The Elusive User: Changing Use Patterns in Academic Libraries 1995 to 2004. College and Research Libraries, 68(5), 435-444.
  8. Omekwu, Charles Obiora (2006). Managing Information and Technology: Critical Roles for Librarians in Developing Countries. The Electronic Library, 24 (6), 847-863.
  9. Pyati, Ajit (2007). Re-envisioning Libraries in the Information Society: A Critical Theory of Library Technology. PhD dissertation, Department of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved on September 2, 2009 from:
  10. Selwyn, Neil (2009). The Digital Native-Myth and Reality. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, 61 (4), 364-379.
The Academic library in 2010: A Vision. Report of symposium 2010 from March 14-15, 2005. Washington, DC: American University Library. Retrieved on September 2, 2009 from:

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