The Compendium

Volume 4, Issue 2, Fall 2002

Marketplace Inflation Diminishes Library’s Purchasing Power for FY04

In Fiscal Year 2004, price increases for scholarly materials will affect collection development across the board. An expected increase of six percent for periodicals and three percent for books will diminish the Library’s purchasing power, particularly in the current budget climate. Especially alarming are the anticipated 15-20% increases from scholarly society publishers, which until now have provided an affordable means for university libraries to showcase the research of their faculty.

This marketplace inflation will alter significantly the vitality and currency of the Library’s collections. All disciplines will be affected, but price increases are expected to be the greatest in the sciences and social sciences. The consequences will influence acquisitions both in the short and long term, because items that cannot be purchased today often are not easily available in future years.

Rising costs also present important challenges for the Library’s electronic resources. E-resources are an essential and growing part of the collections that bring cutting-edge research to faculty and students in laboratories, offices, classrooms, and dorm rooms. Currently, the Library’s collections budget is not sufficient to keep pace with the rapid growth of e-resources. Coupled with annual inflationary rates that can average ten percent, librarians face difficult choices concerning how to best meet the needs of users.

The Library currently is exploring two strategies to offset the negative impact of inflationary price increases. It is strengthening internal and external partnerships to encourage collaboration in building collections and negotiating for better prices. These partnerships include the University of Illinois sister libraries in Chicago and Springfield; a consortium of Big Ten institutions known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC); and other academic libraries in the state of Illinois. Also, the Library is reviewing its policy for duplicate periodical subscriptions, which traditionally have served faculty in multiple disciplines on campus.

As the Library faces a difficult year in building its collections, it can depend on leadership and direction from one of its most valuable resources: library faculty. These talented professionals understand the pressing needs of students and faculty, and they have the expertise to make difficult decisions during trying times. Through their dedication, the Library is well positioned to meet the challenges of the future.

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