Getting the Most Out of Your Library Budget

Are you having trouble meeting the eBook needs of your community? We asked Ellyssa Kroski, Director of Information Technology at New York Law Institute, what tips she has for balancing community needs while staying within the library budget.

Q: Can you tell me about a time when you found a creative solution to a limited budget?

A: Here at The New York Law Institute we are a small non-profit subscription library which serves law firms. We’re always searching for ways to balance providing valuable electronic resources to our patrons and staying within our budget. With this in mind, we found a way to offer our members a robust eBook collection which now consists of 89,000 titles valued at nearly $14 million dollars without any up-front costs! We did this by opting for a patron-driven acquisitions pricing model in which we don’t incur any charges for the eBooks that we offer (and have cataloged in our OPAC), until someone checks them out. Even then, we have measures in place to “rent” the eBooks three times to really make sure they’re popular before auto-purchasing them on the fourth checkout. Our library patrons don’t have any idea of what happens behind the scenes, it’s all seamless to them and instant. All they know is they have access to a huge collection of eBooks that can be accessed instantly from anywhere they are located. My tip for other librarians would be to don’t give up just because you have a limited budget; there’s always a solution out there. Sometimes you just have to be a little creative.

Q: Is the patron-driven acquisitions model available to all libraries or did you have to negotiate for it?

A: We got this program through an aggregator who offers this package as well as a subscription-based ebrary offering.

Q: Why did you decide to use an aggregator?

A: One of the other benefits of the aggregator we used is its unique non-linear lending feature which enables us to have an unlimited number of patrons check out the same eBook at the same time. With this model you are allowed up to 325 loan days per year for each copy of a title. So for example if 10 people checked out the same eBook for 1 day, then that would count as 10 of the loan days. When/if you’ve used them all up before the end of the year, you can buy an additional copy, although we haven’t come up against this as of yet.

Download our free white paper, The Librarian of the Future, for more information about working with your library budget and growing your library community.

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