Then I went to graduate school and of course I was able to get access to journal articles. Later on after grad school I was working and lost access. But I was still interested in some research ideas. And eventually I talked to some people and that led to me going back to do research at a university. But in that interim I had no legal way of getting papers. I paid for them. Some cost around $25 to $30 each. Some cost $80! - the medical ones. But I used that to do research to help humanity for which I was paid very little and I had to pay money for the right to do the groundwork for that research. That is complete crap! At the very least I should get my money back which adds up to a few hundred dollars.
As to university libraries - even elite institutions are finding it ever harder to afford the costs of for profit journals that force secrecy in their contracts. So one college literally often pays 4 or 5 times what another pays for exactly the same subscription in the same country. The price of journal subscriptions has been rising ahead of inflation for decades and the higher the impact factor the worse the problem. And because copyright grants a monopoly, the publishing industry has been able to collect extreme amounts of economic rent. Normally the answer would be to regulate natural monopolies such as what happens in the power industry. It's quite obvious to me that this is what needs to happen in academic publishing.
We also need a way for people who are outside of academic institutions to gain access to journal articles. I am not saying that for profit drug companies should not have to pay. But if I am a tax payer and paying for the research then it is not alright for me to have to pay twice. And realistically at $25 - $50 per article that means that it's just impossible to read or merely peruse 10 or 20 articles a month. And often I might need to look at referenced articles in the footnotes of another article and so I might need to look briefly at another 100 articles in a month. I and indeed 99% of people do not have $50,000 a year to spend on that. And often someone might want to help the economy out with a start up idea. I did ask around if there was a way to buy in to a university's subscription or to get similar mass access by paying a realistic annual fee of say $500 and was told such a concept did not exist.
If someone has a rare disease and wishes to peruse the literature, they typically cannot. And often sick people are quite poor anyway. What if someone serves on a local school board or is a member of municipal government and want to affect improvements in public policy. This happened to me when I was trying to assist my town in making some important fiscal decisions. There was no legal mechanism to obtain the 50 papers I wanted without paying out of pocket. And my position was unpaid. The sheer cost of paying a la carte makes reading the literature prohibitive. You might say that you could go to a university. The problem is that in recent years it has become almost impossible to do so without a valid university ID. And just getting there and finding a place to park is complicated if you are not affiliated with the institution.
In short, individuals who are not using the research for a for profit organization need a legal mechanism to access peer reviewed research. The current system is immoral.