Libraries recognize the shift to digital resources as a long-term trend that is changing the nature of their mission and services. Over the past year, attention has shifted from surviving the economic storm to delivering richer and more targeted resources to constituencies.
The third annual benchmark study of library spending plans from Library Resource Guide (LRG) explores the wide range of spending and decision-making taking place in 2013 and 2014 budgets for public, academic and special libraries, based on a study of nearly 800 directors, administrators, managers, department heads, and librarians.
The title of the report, "Libraries: At the Epicenter of Digital Disruption," reflects the fact that library budgets have bounced back or are holding steady since the recent economic downturn. However, there’s been a shift in spending from print to digital.
Key findings from the study include the following:
• Library budgets are bouncing back or holding steady in the wake of several years of a lackluster economy. But budget growth overall has been lukewarm. Public community libraries experienced the largest share of budget increases, while academic libraries have seen little growth. Digital continues to grow as a proportion of content acquisition budgets for all types of libraries.
• Three-fourths of libraries continue to see rising demand for electronic resources, while more move away from print. Close to nine out of ten public community libraries report seeing demand for ebooks, which leads the way in purchasing intentions.
• Providing technology-based access is now the top priority as libraries redefine their roles as digital knowledge centers. However, these goals continue to clash with tight budgets, which makes selecting and maintaining platforms and skills an ongoing challenge.
ProQuest is the proud sponsor of the report, in conjunction with Unisphere Research.