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Benchmarking study of research libraries published: summary of some results

For a table of contents and other further information, view our website at www.PrimaryResearch.com

Primary Research Group has published Research Library International Benchmarks (isbn 1-57440-101-3). The 200-page study is based on data from 45 major research libraries from the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, Italy, Japan, Spain, Argentina, and other countries. The report presents a broad range of data on current and planned materials, salary, info technology and capital spending, hiring plans, spending trends for e-books, journals, books and more.
Provides data on trends in personnel deployment, discount margins from vendors, relations with consortiums, information literacy efforts, workstation, laptop and learning space development, use of scanners and digital cameras, use of RFID technology, federated search and many other pressing issues for major research libraries, university and otherwise.

Just a few of the reports many findings, presented in more than 500 tables,
are:

For 27.45% of the libraries in the sample, spending on salaries and benefits had declined in real terms over the past two years (from staff reductions, pay reductions in real terms or a combination of these factors).

Somewhat surprisingly, most libraries in the sample said that their capital budgets had either decreased or remained the same over the past three years.
Only about 29% of the libraries in the sample said that their capital budgets had increased in the past three years and only 5.88% said that their capital budgets had increased significantly.

Nearly 37% of the libraries in the sample increased spending somewhat on maintenance of IT equipment stock, while only 12.24% reduced such spending. A shade more than half held such spending constant over the past three years.

Mean spending on materials/content by the libraries in the sample was approximately $4.25 million, with a median of $1.91 million. Mean spending for the university libraries in the sample was $5.47 million. The nominal increase in materials spending this year for the libraries in the sample was 4.46%.

Spending on e-books by the libraries in the sample was a mean of $150,086 in
2007 with a range of “0” to $2 million. More than 60% of the libraries in the sample plan to increase spending on e-books over the next two years, while less than 7% plan to decrease e-book spending.

Only 13.46% of the libraries in the sample had received grant support from a federal government in the past year. Data were similar for U.S. and non-U.S.
libraries.

53% of libraries in the sample said that they would be not be digitizing much of their general collection of out-of-copyright books, and nearly 35% said that they had no plans to extensively digitize any of their collections.

More than 57% of the libraries in the sample have not altered the number of positions in their Special Collections Divisions in the past three years.
About 22% have decreased the number of positions and 20% have increased this number.
There was little change in the number of employees devoted to library security but some increase in personnel in library facilities management. University libraries were most likely to increase employment in library facilities management. The largest libraries had the greatest tendency to increase employment in this area, and nearly 40% of those in the sample had done so in the past three years, while about 54% maintained personnel levels and only 7.7% decreased employment in this area.

Nearly 21% of the libraries in the sample have decreased their overall number of subject specialists over the past three years, while about 11.5% have increased this number. Nearly 31% of the largest libraries have decreased their total number of subject specialists.

Far more libraries in the sample plan to increase than decrease spending on PCs and workstations, suggesting the hope that increases in spending on laptops by libraries, and by their patrons, might lead to lower investment levels in traditional workstation technology.

44% of large research libraries plan to increase spending on outside or outsourced Web design, evaluation and consulting, but most smaller research libraries plan to hold such spending constant.

More than half of the libraries in the sample spend less than 10% of their staff time on information literacy issues. 19.5% spend from 10% to 20% of their staff time on these issues, and 12.2% respectively spend from 20% to 30% and 35% to 50% of their staff time on these issues. Only 2.33% spend more than half of their staff time on information literacy issues.

A mean of 21% of the articles obtained by the libraries in the sample from other institutions come from the digital repositories of these institutions rather than from traditional inter-library loan channels.

The average discount from list prices that the libraries in the sample received from their book distributors for reference books was 11.9% with a range of “0” to 30%. U.S. libraries received nearly 3 times the discount of non-U.S.
libraries, a mean of 15% to only 5.67% for non-U.S. libraries.

Survey participants include: Loma Linda University, McMaster University, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO), University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Saint Paul University, University of New South Wales, Charles Stuart University, Hay Group, University of Southern California, University of New Mexico Libraries, Universidad de San Andres, Biblioteca Max von Buch , Library of University of Seville, Hunter College, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, BP,Texas Woman's University, University of North Florida, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University Libraries, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Research Library Federal Reserve Bank, University of Rio Grande, Mercer University/Jack Tarver Library , James J. Hill Reference Library, MITRE Corporation, Click University, Xerox, Raytheon Company, The Catholic University of America, University of Glasgow, Victoria University, University of Wyoming Libraries, Dartmouth College, WorkSafeBC, Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback, & Associates, Nalco Company, City College of New York, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales FLACSO Sede Académica Argentina, Biblioteca de los Recursos Hídricos de la República Argentina, University of Bristol, Griffith University, Lincoln University, University of Sussex, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Wollongong Library, Miura Memorial Library, Chubu University, KSU, Rutgers University, The University of Akron, University of Idaho.

For a table of contents and other further information, view our website at www.PrimaryResearch.com

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