“Over the past decade or more, academic libraries have become increasingly sophisticated in managing their workflow, ingesting huge amounts of content with relatively low administrative costs as they struggled with the growth in the quantity of scholarly publications and the tightening vise of budget contractions. A relatively new innovation in this collection building is patron-driven acquisitions, familiarly known as PDA, which has now moved from the experimental stage into a more central part of the practices of many libraries.”
From the executive summary of the most recent Ithaka S+R report on library strategies from the perspective of library directors. There are also a series of webinars scheduled to review the report beginning this Wednesday.
On strategy and leadership:
Most respondents do not think their libraries have conducted sufficient strategic planning to meet user needs for services and optimally manage collections. Thirty-five percent of respondents agreed with this statement, “My library has a well-developed strategy to meet changing user needs and research habits.” Slightly less than half said they have all the information they need to make informed decisions about when to deaccession print journals to which they have access digitally.
Library directors envision a high-level strategic prioritization of their research and teaching support and facilitation functions (expected to be important to more than 90% of respondents in five years) in conjunction with a shift away, in some cases, from collections acquisitions and preservation functions (expected to shrink so they are important to 80% or less of respondents in five years).
There are a number of important divergences between high-level strategies on the one hand and budget priorities on the other, suggesting that library directors are in some cases not able to fully execute the strategic direction they have in mind for their libraries.
On service offerings:
Library directors at all types of institutions see supporting teaching and learning as one of their primary missions: 94% of respondents said that they see teaching information literacy skills to undergraduates as a very important role for their libraries. They would also like to work more closely with faculty members on supporting classroom instruction. However, a notably smaller share of faculty members values the library for its teachingsupport role, raising questions about how the library best works within an institutional context to pursue this role.
Library directors believe that it is strategically important that their libraries be seen by users as the principal starting point in the discovery process. While they recognize that faculty members and students increasingly rely on resources outside the library for discovery of information and content, they would like to invest more in discovery tools to aid users.
The library‟s role as a buyer of materials remains of primary importance, both in terms of how library directors prioritize their spending and how faculty members view the library. Electronic journals are a significant budget priority for many, and respondents envision a continued gradual rise in the amount that they spend on digital materials and commensurate reduction in expenditures for print materials. They expect in five years to essentially complete the transition to electronic format for journals acquisitions and at that point spend nearly half their books budget on electronic books.
Most libraries have become comfortable with deaccessioning or moving offsite their print journal collections after they have reliable digital access to copies of these materials: 91% have already done so or are planning to do so in the future. This is not the case for books, at least not yet. However, a significant portion of respondents would be willing to consider deaccessioning or moving offsite their print books collections if the proper preservation and access infrastructure is put in place.
Hat tip @lorcanD
We’re very excited to announce the “soft launch” of our brand new Open Library site! This is version 1 of a reconstructed Open Library, and we’re going to keep it “soft” at a special URL until we’re sure it’s stable enough to make the final transition to openlibrary.org. We’re hoping that will happen soon.