Give to the Library

Why the Library?

Cornell University Library is the place — virtual and physical — where students, faculty, and other researchers seek knowledge and expertise. It will be just as true in 2015 as it was in 1915, although the world of scholarship has changed dramatically in the past century.

A student recently told us that "the Library makes Cornell greater than the sum of its parts," and facultyand students frequently identify the correlation between the Library and their own success at Cornell.

Why Library collections?

Library collections determine the future of scholarship. In the digital age, online resources have become vital, even as print remains alive and well. Libraries work against a pervasive myth that all information is online, and everything online is free. 

The truth is that a lot of information isn’t online, and the best e-resources can be very expensive. Many disciplines still rely largely on print, and most online information needed for high-level research is available only as licensed content. The Library needs to pay to unlock those resources. Half of our $16 million budget for collections goes to buying online content for Cornell faculty and students.

Why now?

As the University focuses on faculty renewal and student diversity, the Library must continue to build the collections that draw people to Cornell. The Library helps expand knowledge, scholarship, and ideas ­— and Cornell is not keeping pace with its peers in building support for collections.

Losing Ground

Funding for our collections was $16.2 million in 2005 and $16.5 million in 2010 — a cumulative increase of 1.7%. The median cumulative increase for the top 30 research libraries for those five years was 24.9%.

Compared to one of our closest peer institutions:

  • Columbia’s increase was 36% ($19 million to $27 million).
  • For one major database vendor — Proquest, which covers a wide range of fields in the arts and sciences — we can afford only half of what Columbia purchases.

Why we need your help

As the universe of scholarly content grows, the costs grow as well. Double-digit inflation in scholarly publishing and the devaluation of the dollar exacerbate this trend. The emphasis on digital information actually raises the cost of running a library, now and for the foreseeable future. Supporting both print and digital resources increases costs exponentially.


A strong University needs a strong Library. With your help, we can keep Cornell competitive.

Make an online gift now

For giving information, please contact:

Jennifer Sawyer

130 E. Seneca St., Suite 400

Ithaca, NY 14850