Library, athletics budget should be equal

Published 2:03 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016


The Farmville Herald headline “LU sports does lot with a little” (Nov. 4) reminds me of when I came to Longwood University in 1993. There was near parity between the library’s annual expenditure and that of athletics. With a change of presidents in the mid-1990s, that parity vanished.

I had come from a university in which the annual library expenditure was $16 million and that for athletics roughly the same.

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If LU’s library expenditure were $10 million, it would rank number one in the United States among universities of its class. A rather sobering thought, don’t you think, especially when the campus president refers to the library as the heart of the university.

As I look again at the headline, I am amused to find someone who thinks $10 million is a little.

In considering libraries of universities in LU’s class (that is, institutions offering baccalaureate and master’s degrees but no doctoral degrees), I doubt any academic library in that class has a $10 million operating budget.

Today, LU’s library budget is $2.7 million, athletics $10 million. The library supports the central and primary mission of the university: instruction and research. Athletics is an auxiliary. It’s more than a bit ironic.

Calvin Boyer