Winona State loses databases due to continued budget issues


Jiovani Bermudez

The Darrell W. Krueger Library has seen changes in recent years with staffing and hours due to inflation and student enrollment.

Madeline Mill, News Reporter

It is no secret that COVID-19 has affected Winona State University in many areas but funding continues to be severely impacted.

The Darrell W. Krueger Library has provided Winona State students with tools and a safe study space, but these resources have been challenged due to necessary budget cuts.

Kenneth Janz, Dean of the Library, has undertaken several roles previously filled by employees. Since 2016, the library has lost five positions. These positions were terminated in order to keep spending within the library’s budget.

Janz revealed just how bad inflation and student enrollment has influenced library expenses.

“We’re seeing that in our book costs, our databases costs, even student wages,” Janz said.

Winona State relinquished several subscriptions to different databases and sources in order to lower overall costs by $35,000.

“We’re having to cut $35,000 just to keep the same money and have it do the same thing,” Janz said.

With inflation at a little over 6 percent, all costs continue to rise. Subscription costs, database costs, books, student and occupational wages as well as other operational costs have been on a steady incline.

Despite these cost increases, the library budget remains the same. Most recently, the library lost access to many databases because of costs.

“We aren’t able to go out and get a new database if it was needed in a department,” Kendall Larson, library department chair and librarian, said.

Library statistics and analytics were used when deciding which databases students could afford to lose. However, this means only core and highly used databases are left.

For some majors, like nursing, these databases are not only essential to learning, but required for their practicum.

“I can’t imagine cutting any of them,” Larson said.

Library hours have also been reduced. In 2019, the library was open to students until 2 a.m. Currently, they are only open until 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Some might argue that students do not need the library as a study space. However, the library offers many resources not all students have access to, like printers, computers, internet, electricity and tech support.

The Minnesota State System requested funds from the Minnesota legislature to combat costs and inflation but in response were offered less than half of what was requested despite Minnesota having their highest ever recorded state budget surplus.

The library is not the only department suffering from budget cuts. Recently, Winona State lost their English graduate program after losing funding.

The Darrell W. Krueger Library and the resources it provides are essential to student learning and achievement. It is critical that student assets, like the library, receive proper funding if students are going to succeed.