Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Chapter 4: Universities and Four-Year Colleges in General

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Chapter 4: Universities and Four-Year Colleges in General

Article excerpt


Chapter 4 of Library Technology Reports (vol. 50, no. 4) considers libraries with Carnegie classifications 15 through 33--in essence, nonspecialized universities and colleges. These are probably the institutional groupings most of us are most familiar with, in addition to public two-year colleges. That may make them especially interesting in terms of where financial damage has occurred most

Each discussion in this chapter (1) begins with the full definition of the Carnegie classification, taken directly from NCES documentation. If you're used to groups such as Research I and Research II, be aware that the Carnegie classifications in use since 2000 assign things somewhat differently; for example, it appears that what used to be Research I and Research II are both part of CC 15.

CC 15: Doctoral/Research Universities--Extensive

Here is the full definition of CC 15, Doctoral/Research Universities--Extensive, from NCES documentation:

   These institutions typically offer a wide range of
   baccalaureate programs, and they are committed
   to graduate education through the doctorate. They
   award 50 or more doctoral degrees per year across
   at least 15 disciplines. (2)

Of the 148 libraries in this group responding to the 2012 survey, 144 (97%) appear here, representing 98% of spending in the group. In all, these 144 libraries served 3,337,012 FTE students. Examples not already mentioned include Ohio State University, Main Campus; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Teachers College at Columbia University, and CUNY Graduate School and University Center (ALS 2012).

Unusually for nonspecialized universities and colleges, this group spent $3,546,450 more on books and other acquisitions in 2012 than in 2002--but it also spent $197,445,924 more on serials, about 55 times as large an increase (see table 4.1). As you'd expect from sector and large-institution changes, increases in books spending are highly concentrated: 18 libraries, each spending at least $1 million more, total $57.3 million in additional spending.

Consider the Serials % line and the Serials Changes line in table 4.1 for indications of what Big Deals mean for these high-profile, large-budget libraries: most libraries spend more than a third of their entire budgets (including salaries and everything else) on current serials, and a quarter spend at least four out of every ten dollars. Note also Books Change and Remainder Change: most of these libraries have had to cut back on non-serials acquisitions--and also on everything else they do. It would take $67,885,052 to bring all libraries up to at least 2002 books spending levels (plus inflation).

Figure 4.1 shows an interesting pattern for books: after holding fairly steady for several years, spending dropped significantly between 2008 and 2010--but it's come back a little in 2012, although the median is still 13% lower than in 2002. That gain in books spending may be at the expense of other budget areas, given that remainder spending fell noticeably for the first time in 2012. Meanwhile, of course, serials just kept rising faster than inflation, although at a lower rate than for many other groups of libraries (a lower rate, but nearly $200 million).

Although CC 15 libraries are relatively few in number, they represent nearly half of all spending by the 2,594 libraries in this report (ALS 2012), so they may deserve extra attention.

Libraries Keeping Up with Inflation

In all, 73 of the 144 libraries (51%) at least kept up with inflation. Those libraries served 1,658,213 FTE in 2012 (ALS 2012). It's not that these libraries are spending less on current serials--the percentages are essentially those of CC 15 libraries as a whole (see table 4.2)--but that they're spending more on books and everything else. More than a third (37%) increased books (etc.) spending by at least 25%, while 23% cut it by at least 25%. …

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