A Vision for the Future of Academic Library Collections

By Peter Spitzform and Pongracz Sennyey.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Given that roughly 40% of academic library book holdings go unread over a 5-10 year period after publication, there is a need to reengineer current acquisitions strategies. The large number of books that remain unused represents a financial drain on acquisitions budgets, which make libraries more vulnerable in an age of greater usage data transparency. No one has yet succeeded in devising a strategy that predicts which books will circulate and which will not. We propose a vision whereby libraries will, in the future, provide MARC (or similar) records in their online catalogs of books that they do not yet own. Patrons will encounter these records—that will look like any other records in the online catalog—but instead of finding a call number for these titles, they will find a link to order the book. The title will then be printed on demand or supplied to the library patron within a short time, and added to the permanent collection thereafter. This paper will explore what such a patron-driven collection development model might look like in practice, and touch on various approaches to how such a model might work. Included is discussion about implications of such a model on library holdings, book vendors and distributors, and publishers.

Keywords: Collection Development, Academic Libraries, Print on Demand, POD, Patron-Driven Collection Development, Sustainable Collection Practices

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.185-190. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 824.389KB).

Peter Spitzform

Collection Development Librarian, Collection Management Services, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA

Peter Spitzform has worked as Collection Development Librarian at the University of Vermont for six years. Prior to that, he worked for eight years at the library at Johnson State College, also in Vermont. He worked for a significant time at Stanford University Press prior to earning his MLIS from Simmons College in Boston. Though a native of New York, Vermont is his adopted home.

Pongracz Sennyey

Head, Collection Management Services, Collection Management Services, Furman University, Burlington, VT, USA

Pongracz Sennyey is Associate Director of Libraries at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He worked as the Head of Collection Management Services at the University of Vermont for two years. Before that, he was the Collection Development Librarian at Western Carolina University in North Carolina. He is fluent in English, Portuguese, Hungarian, and Spanish. He has a passion for envisioning ways to steer library collections through these tumultuous times.

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