Monday, November 4, 2013

Lower Budgets and Even Fewer Book Purchases.

Jolene Nechiporenko
LIBR 266

Coffman, S. (2013). How low can our book budgets go? American Libraries, 44(9/10), 48-51

Steve Coffman throws out some hard facts in his article concerning the erosion of book budgets.

He points out that even with today’s technology, people tend to associate libraries with books more so than any other media.  And yet libraries are spending less and less on actual physical books.  Yes, many books are now available on line. Yes, we try to maximize our library loan services.  Even so, there has been a steady decline in books purchases by libraries.

According to Coffman’s data, borrowed from the Institute of Museum and Library Science, in 2011 libraries spent 11 cents per 1 dollar on materials, a fraction of which goes toward the purchase of books.

Coffman makes the argument that books should be purchased separately from materials so that items like databases, DVDs, and e-books don’t all come out of the same budget allocation.

Coffman also points out that circulation numbers can be high despite purchases declining.  This is often done by ‘mushrooming’ popular materials such as DVDs.  He also cautions that the DVD boom that hit libraries a few years back is facing the end of it’s lifespan and services such as Netflix and Redbox rentals become more readily available.

The author cautions to spend money wisely and invest in long term materials and not the latest trends.



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