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Staggering contrast in library funding allocations by subject

Do STEM subjects receive their fair share of book funding?

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Image Credit: RobertG

A recent Freedom of Information request by Nouse has revealed a startling contrast between the amount spent by the Library for each department in 2018/2019,
especially between BA and BSc subjects.
While the Library spent £48,738.88 on books for the History department, only £44.94 was spent on the Electronic Engineering department, creating a significant difference of £48,693.94.

Figures across various departments differ greatly. For example, subjects with a similar focus on reading to History received significantly less, with the Library spending £27,519.74 on English and £5,627.25 on Archaeology. Theatre, Film and Television received the least out of the humanities subjects looked at, with the library only spending £2,415.01.

In contrast, science subjects received far less with only Environmental Studies, Geography and the Hull York Medicine School receiving more than £2,000. The most popular sciences such as Chemistry, Biology and Maths all received under £300.
In total, humanities subjects received £112,928.56 for the 2018/2019 academic year while the science subjects only received £10,955.80 creating a total difference of £101,972.76.

Considering that BA and BSc degrees at the University of York charge the same amount in tuition fees, these figures can initially seem shocking, especially as some science subjects require students to buy their own textbooks, costing up to £50. However, this is rebalanced when considering the contrast in contact hours between sciences and humanities. On average, a first year history student will pay £34 per contact hour while a first year electronic engineering student will pay only £12.33 per contact hour.

Nouse approached the Library for a comment, however they did not provide us with one.

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4 Comment

Bilbo Baggins Posted on Sunday 23 Feb 2020

Well, common sense would surely tell you that text-based subjects like English and History require more... well... texts than Maths and Chemistry?


Anonymous Posted on Sunday 23 Feb 2020

As a follow-up piece, FOI requests on journal subscription fees would be worth pursuing. Whilst STEM subjects may not spend much on textbooks, the annual subscription fees to just one journal can be thousands of pounds.


Adam M. Newberg Posted on Sunday 23 Feb 2020

This was very good news to know that out city students are ate the top third position for their fitness and now I can get help with essay writing to manage the task. This shows that if you are healthy then you can do anything in your life.


Anonymous Posted on Sunday 23 Feb 2020

By tradition scientists publish new academic work in journals whereas new research in the Arts comes via books this creates a huge discrepancy in the number of "science" books when compared to "Arts". This is not just visible in libraries but also in the stock carried by general book retailers


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