Collection Measurement and Budgets
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
School library budgets and effective collection management practices go hand-in-hand. To develop a useful budget, collection management procedures should be undertaken to build a collection that adequately meets the needs of the users. As posited by the International Librarians Network, digital resources have brought challenges to collection measurement practices in terms of licensing and quantity versus quality; however, vendors of digital material often provide access and use data, which is advantageous in measuring output (2015). This technique of measuring output can be valuable in making budgeting and collection decisions; however, it is not an effective technique in isolation. Assessing the output of digital resources can be done by collating the number of hits a link or digital resource has experienced. For example, our Assignment Help Pages curate a range of digital and print resources through Lib Guides, which allows us to collect and analyse the number of site visits and produce an average number of hits per student. Additionally, Wheelers, our e-book platform, tracks the number of times an e-book has been borrowed. These collection management techniques use output measures to determine the effectiveness of the collection. Although this can be useful in assessing how users are interacting with the library; it may not accurately reflect the usefulness of the resources themselves. Additionally, output data such as circulation statistics of print resources do not account for in-house use, as not all resources are borrowed or accessed outside of the library space. Often, print resources that are used to assist in curriculum delivery are used during school time only and not borrowed through the library management system; therefore, will not be reflected in the circulation statistics. Hence, other output measures should also be used; such as, reservations, reference assistance, formal instruction, and facility use. To further develop an accurate picture of the effectiveness of library collections and guide budget decisions, input measures could also be used. Troll Covey describes a range of digital resource input measures that assist in “capturing the size of the digital library”; including, counting the number of links and pages within the library web site, and the number of databases, e-journals, e-books, images and other digital collections provided by the library (2002, para. 5). Troll Covey also outlines outcome measures that illustrate the impact of collections and services on the users’ experience and satisfaction (2002). A combination of these measures could be useful in determining the quality of print and digital resources and guiding budget decisions.
International Librarians Network. (2015). Proving our worth: library measurement and metrics. Retrieved from https://interlibnet.org/2015/04/14/proving-our-worth-library-measurement-and-metrics/
Troll Covey, D. (2002). Appendix D traditional input, output, and outcome measures. Retrieved from https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub105/appendixd/
[Forum Reflection: Module 3.1]
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