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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Collection Building, Volume 30, Issue 2
A continuing topic of interest in the library field is patron driven acquisitions. Because many studies of academic library collections have documented that a large percentage of library collections are acquired but seldom if ever consulted, academic libraries have turned to the patron driven acquisitions model. Whether it is print materials or e-books academic libraries feel that their money is better spent if they purchase materials that are requested by their users.
At the Charleston Conference the University of Iowa Libraries presented a report on their pilot e-book study. Collaborating with ebrary and YBP the libraries began their pilot program in October 2009. They entered e-book titles into their catalog but no notice of their project was announced to their users. In order for the Libraries to actually buy an e-book title, ten users had to access the e-book. Later due to the popularity of the project each access had to last ten minutes or the user had to browse ten pages. The results to date have been surprising. There is a greater use of e-books than the print copies. The titles used are not what the librarians would necessarily buy. E-books assigned for courses are particularly well used. The Libraries plan to soon stop duplicating print and e-books and just buy the e-books.
Libraries have also used a patron driven model for print books. Some academic libraries order books requested by users from Amazon and have the books delivered directly to the user. The user is expected to return the book to the library for the usual cataloging and processing. Others simply expedite the ordering and processing of the materials.
Public libraries have, of course, used this patron driven model for a long time responding to user requests by acquiring more copies of a title or ordering a title for a particular user. This is traditionally part of the way materials are ordered.
All this makes good sense. However, I still believe that basic collection development must take place with the patron driven model as an integrated part. Some books deserve to be in a collection to be easily found by a user browsing for materials of interest. All purchases cannot wait for the user. But responding quickly to user requests will encourage users to use the library, and it will help the library to identify areas of interest to be developed. I applaud libraries responding to their users as it can only strengthen collections.
Kay Ann Cassell