Sunday, May 1, 2016

Patron-Driven Acquisitions at City University of New York

Hober, Michael

Egan, N., Yearwood, S. L., & Kendrick, C. L. (2016). Patron-driven acquisitions at the City University of New York: A case study. Technical Services Quarterly33(2), 131-144.

Descriptive Summary: This study describes how a patron-driven acquisition system was tried at City University of New York, which is made up of 24 colleges spread throughout New York City. Working with publishers, they developed a list of 4,602 titles were not duplicated within their library system that would be automatically purchased when patrons viewed these items beyond the table of contents when browsing. Their $75,000 budget lasted for four months with this system. They found that several concerns present in their literature review - that collection quality would diminish, that patrons would intentionally trigger purchases, and that librarians would assert influence over the process - were not found to be issues in this program.  The authors conclude that if budget limitations and the time to set the program up to run well were not so high that they would continue to use this as a tool for collection development in the future.  

Evaluation: The article does a good job of highlighting how important the work of setting up the program before its implementation was in the success of the program. The librarians who implemented this needed to comb through all 24 college libraries to eliminate duplication, select titles appropriate for their college aged audience, and negotiate with publishers before the program went live. Their work beforehand was what allowed them to have a successful program that avoided the common pitfalls that participants in similar programs that were discussed in the literature review had issues with.  Even so, I'm not entirely convinced that patron-driven acquisitions should be a large part of collection development, though maybe it can have some small role.  

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