The University of Florida wants funding from the state legislature to expand a statewide book-sharing system it manages for all academic libraries. The book collection is known as FLARE—it stands for the Florida Academic Repository. UF is asking for about $19 million.
It implemented FLARE around 2008. The university houses more than two-million physical books right now. Librarians keep at least one copy of every book before manually scanning page-by-page to digitize them. It’s just now digitized its 1-millionth book. But it’s running out of room for the growing collection.
"It's been within the last couple years where we have started to run out of space at the facility at the University of Florida. So we're looking to construct a new facility that would house over 5 million collections that then could be digitized," said Tim Jones, who's on the Board of Governors for the State University System of Florida.
He said the board just accepted $1.3 million for FLARE into its operating budget. That’s only the amount needed to maintain the book -sharing system the way it is. The board will soon consider adding $18 million to the budget for a new FLARE facility. Jones expects the board of governors will agree to the new facility dollars. The Florida legislature will have final say on the proposed budget during its 2016 session.