Book Budget Changes, 2023/24

Background and Evidence Based Selection

Traditionally, most library book purchases have been based on educated guesswork. After considering the author, publisher, topic, and other factors, we buy books that support our campus’ research and learning interests and needs. Then we hope that those books will be checked out and used frequently.

In recent years, libraries have placed more emphasis on evidence based selection (EBS). With EBS, a library is granted access to large numbers of books for a year and then is able to purchase the specific titles that were used the most. Research has consistently shown that EBS yields a far lower cost per title and cost per use, compared to traditional individual book purchases.

To give one concrete example, UNCG uses an EBS plan to provide access to all of Wiley’s 24,000 ebooks through our library catalog at the cost of about 45 cents per title. Once a year, we can select over 1000 titles for permanent ownership, at a cost of less that $25 per title (which is far lower than the $163 average cost of standard, individual Wiley book purchases). As added bonuses, the Wiley EBS package includes several required textbooks (which saves students money and reduces the cost of college attendance); and all of UNCG's Wiley ebook purchases are shared with all UNC system campuses, and theirs are shared with us.

We currently have EBS plans with the following publishers

  • Cambridge University Press
  • Oxford University Press
  • Project MUSE
  • SAGE
  • Taylor and Francis
  • UNC Press
  • Wiley
  • And many, many additional university presses and smaller publishers.

We currently provide access to 175,000 books through our EBS plans, and thousands of newly published titles are added each year. By protecting EBS plans and cutting departmental book budget allocations for individual title selections by about 17% we are able to continue to grow and build our long term collection, despite the budget reduction. Nonetheless, we do propose the cancellation of our least used, least cost-effective EBS plan, Project MUSE.

Other Book Budget Cuts

The following book budget lines will be reduced or eliminated:

  • Digital Media Commons books and manuals (eliminated)
  • Interlibrary Loan Purchase on Demand (15% reduction)
  • Library General Book Fund (13% reduction)
  • Proquest Reference books (eliminated)
  • e-Textbooks (10% reduction)
  • Print Approval plan from GOBI (33% reduction)
  • Music score approval plan (38% reduction)

Comments and Feedback

We encourage faculty and student input regarding the impact of these reductions on your research, teaching, and learning. Keep in mind that it is almost certain that next year will see additional cuts. Send comments to Tim Bucknall, Assistant Dean of University Libraries. We are willing to attend departmental meetings or meet with department heads, if more information, context, or discussion would be helpful.