ATG Hot Topic of the Week: Library Funding Allocations

by | Nov 4, 2011 | 0 comments

by Jonathan Harwell, Georgia Southern University

The Charleston Conference has kicked off today with pre-conferences. I attended an interesting one this morning on “Developing a Weighted Library Allocation Formula,” led by Jeff Bailey and Linda Creibaum of Arkansas State University. They shared their own formula, adapted from a ca. 1975 formula from Colorado State, on flash drives courtesy of LexisNexis.

Jeff and Linda pointed out that their library has neither an approval plan nor demand-driven acquisition. They do include subscription costs in the departmental allocations, and they break down journal packages by department. Much discussion ensued among the roomful of participants, only a few of whom currently have allocations in place.

Many people had questions and comments about various factors to use in a formula, as well as about its relation to campus politics. We talked about using circulation and interlibrary loan data, as well the factors that Arkansas State uses (average costs, degrees awarded, FTE faculty, course sections, and enrollment by credit hour). A librarian from a large research institution was pondering the complexity of adapting such a formula in that environment, with multiple endowments involved. I also started thinking to myself about the possibility of allocating book funds per LC range rather than by department, which might help with turf wars in some academic environments, while supporting interdisciplinarity in collection management. What about you? Are you using, or thinking of using, an allocation formula? Any deep thoughts or best practices to share?

(Tune in next week for all the hot topics that materialize during the rest of the conference!)

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