Based on a presentation at the UKSG seminar ‘Let’s not waste a crisis’, London, 18 November 2009
The author speculates about the financial prospects for university libraries in the UK over the next few years. It is argued that there are three economic factors which will principally determine funding levels: the performance of the economy generally; stock market performance; and the level of government debt. The need to pay back government debt will be inescapable and will seriously depress revenues for years to come, though a recovery in the stock market and the economy generally could mitigate the severity of the problems. In this difficult environment librarians need to become more effective at demonstrating how central libraries are to university competitiveness, at competing successfully for funding for special initiatives, and at exploring alternative sources of income. The endemic problem of journal price inflation needs to be tackled nationally and internationally.