Abstract

This paper considers management of the collections budget via fund structures. A common approach in collections budget management is to distribute allocations via format (e.g., monograph and serials), and subject areas. While tracking spending at a granular level provides more information, it also generally results in a large number of funds. As more and more materials are purchased in consortial packages or other types of "big deals,” or are simply interdisciplinary in nature, the allocation and expenditure on specific and narrowly defined funds begins to become inaccurate and less useful. Library administrators from two large Association of Research Libraries (ARL) libraries describe their experiences reviewing and revising their budget structures for resources in order to focus greater time and effort on priorities that meet user community needs and university-wide priorities.

The two case studies will illustrate the benefits of following an approach to reduce fund structures with the goal to simplify processes and maximize flexibility of the budget, while increasing responsiveness to user needs. The University of Alberta will explain how they significantly reduced reliance on a large number of fund codes over a 5 year period beginning in 2012 and currently have completely eliminated subject-based funds. The University of Washington (UW) Libraries initiated a multi-year process in the fall of 2017, and is starting by simplifying and reducing the number funds for ongoing serials costs. Both will describe the concerns raised, challenges of implementing such a change, and how a simplified structure is beneficial for how collections and acquisitions work.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.5703/1288284317020

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Simplifying the Collections Budget to Maximize Flexibility and Increase Responsiveness to User Needs

This paper considers management of the collections budget via fund structures. A common approach in collections budget management is to distribute allocations via format (e.g., monograph and serials), and subject areas. While tracking spending at a granular level provides more information, it also generally results in a large number of funds. As more and more materials are purchased in consortial packages or other types of "big deals,” or are simply interdisciplinary in nature, the allocation and expenditure on specific and narrowly defined funds begins to become inaccurate and less useful. Library administrators from two large Association of Research Libraries (ARL) libraries describe their experiences reviewing and revising their budget structures for resources in order to focus greater time and effort on priorities that meet user community needs and university-wide priorities.

The two case studies will illustrate the benefits of following an approach to reduce fund structures with the goal to simplify processes and maximize flexibility of the budget, while increasing responsiveness to user needs. The University of Alberta will explain how they significantly reduced reliance on a large number of fund codes over a 5 year period beginning in 2012 and currently have completely eliminated subject-based funds. The University of Washington (UW) Libraries initiated a multi-year process in the fall of 2017, and is starting by simplifying and reducing the number funds for ongoing serials costs. Both will describe the concerns raised, challenges of implementing such a change, and how a simplified structure is beneficial for how collections and acquisitions work.