In short, academic libraries are getting the shortest possible end of the budget stick. Thet are worse off than ten years ago, and worse off than any other category of libraries.
Comparing Academic Library Spending with Public Libraries, Public K-12 Schools, Higher Education Public Institutions, and Public Hospitals Between 1998–2008,
“This study compares the overall spending trends and patterns of growth of Academic Libraries with Public Libraries, K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and hospitals in the period of 1998 to 2008. Academic Libraries, while showing a growth of 13% over inflation for the period, far underperformed the growth of the other public institutions in the study. Academic Libraries lost nearly 25% of their share of higher education total spending, suggesting a shift in higher education priorities. Academic and Public Libraries are shown to have very different investment and spending priorities with Academic Libraries as a group reducing staff and investing in their collections, while Public Libraries have expanded their staff and services significantly, but not collections. Patterns of spending and investment differ markedly for Academic Libraries by size of institution, while size of library or community is not a differentiating determinant for staff or services growth.”
For some commentary:
Why Are Academic Libraries Getting the Short End of the Stick? Can We Do Something to Turn Things Around?