Students at TCD campaign over cut in books budget

 

STUDENTS AT Trinity College Dublin have begun a campaign against what they claim is a €650,000 cut in the purchasing budget of the college library – and cuts in opening hours.

Yesterday, a TCD spokeswoman acknowledged that cuts had been made in the library budget. But she said the cut was significantly less than €650,000.

She also denied any major changes to library opening hours.

Trinity College Library is the oldest and largest of its kind in the country and is a national deposit library. TCD Students’ Union says cuts to its budget will have national consequences.

The union yesterday produced documents that appear to show that a 38 per cent cut in the books budget funded a staff pay increase.

Students claim more than 1,000 staff and students have joined their protest online.

They say weekend opening hours have been cut for the second year in a row. They claim TCD has the second-lowest opening hours in the State; only UCC library is open for a shorter time.

“We have already had a number of students come to the students’ union angrily complaining of book shortages,” said students’ union president Cónán Ó Broin.

Ashley Cook, the union’s education officer, said: “Students are reasonable and know that times are tough, but surely there are more reasonable ways of addressing funding issues than cutting academic essentials such as books.”

In a statement, the TCD authorities said: “The library has sought to protect the budget for the acquisition of books. There has not been a reduction of €650,000 in the budget and there is no link between an increase in staff costs, funded from generated income and grant income, and the book budget.”

It said there had been no reduction in weekend opening hours, adding that there was a trial of Sunday opening hours last year but it found that only 0.5 per cent of the student body availed of it.