U.S. exchange rate causes purchasing power difficulties

Head librarian questioned about service’s purchasing power 

Stauffer Library.
Journal file photo

In a report submitted to September’s Senate meeting, Martha Whitehead, vice-provost and head librarian, admitted the weak Canadian dollar hit the library’s purchasing power. 

The Senate Library Committee (SLC) submitted a report to Senate summarizing its accomplishments and discussions over the past year. 

In the questions submitted to the agenda, Senator Michael White asked what the Library’s strategy is to compensate for the influence of the foreign exchange rate on the acquisitions budget. 

In response, Whitehead wrote, “The majority of the library’s purchases are in U.S. dollars. Based on a fluctuating exchange rate, it is difficult to predict expenditures, and this can result in deficits during periods of a low Canadian dollar.”

She wrote the library “engaged” with Queen’s Financial Services and the Office of Planning and Budgeting to mitigate foreign exchange risk and make the acquisitions budget more predictable.

Alternative options will be tested this year with a goal of establishing an ongoing strategy in the next budget cycle. 

The report also outlined its Collaborative Futures Library Services Platform project. Queen’s is working with members of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) to establish a shared platform, in replacement of Summon and QCAT, with a search tool that accesses all Queen’s and OCUL partner libraries. 

The library is also seeking to upgrade available technology in its workspaces. Suggestions under consideration include adding laptops running specific course software, and chargers and cables for mobile devices. 

In accordance with recommendations made by the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the library has developed the Action Plan to Support Anti-Racism, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenous Cultures. 

The plan focuses on diversity and inclusivity training for staff as well as access to diverse research and curriculums for students.



The article incorrectly stated "The Senate will continue to discuss the library’s purchasing power challenges in future meetings." 

There were no follow-up questions to the written answer provided to the question in the Senate agenda.

The Journal regrets the error.

This article also wrongly stated the context of its quotes. They were written in a report submitted to Senate, not spoken at Senate.

The Journal regrets the error.

The headline originally stated the library is in a defcit. It is not. 

The Journal regrets the error.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.