Collections Review – June 2016 Update

MU Libraries – FY17 Collections Budget — June 2016 Update




Recent communications to Department/Program Chairs:


Key facts & assumptions:

  1. To meet our expected collection expenditures without cuts in FY17, the MU Libraries collections budget would need to be $7.2 million. Our expected revenue (or budget for collections) will be approximately $6 million.  To accommodate the shortfall, we will need to reduce our expenditures by 1.2 million or approximately 17% in FY17. 
  2. The collections deficit is a result of both increasing costs for existing materials and the 5% budget cut.
    • The total for the Libraries 5% budget cut is $877,000.00.  The Libraries will address 70% of that budget cut by further reducing our operational (i.e. staffing) expenditures.  The other 30%, approximately $250,000, will be cut from the collections budget. 
    • Most of the deficit represents the increased cost of books and journals over several years.  In other words, it costs more each year to purchase the same amount of material and we are no longer able to come up with ways to cover these increases even with one-time funding.
  3. The Libraries will continue offering efficient, cost-effective Interlibrary Loan services.
  4. When new sources of funding are identified, the Libraries will work with the campus community to re-build the collections.


Things to know about the budget:

  1. Approximately 80% of the collections budget is spent on continuing purchases (primarily journal subscriptions, but also databases and standing orders.)
  2. Approximately 20% of the collections budget is spent on one-time purchases (primarily books, print +  electronic)


Principles for Reducing Expenditures

  1. No disciplines or collections types can be exempt.
  2. Usage will be one factor, but not the only factor when considering cancellations.
  3. Access will be prioritized over ownership.
  4. ILL will remain an effective, efficient means of acquiring materials not held by the Libraries.
  5. Transparency will be a priority.


Do any other budgets impact access to collections for the MU Campus?

  1. The Libraries have received generous support from IT to help support collections.  Therefore IT budget cuts can impact the Libraries.  For FY17, the collections funding from IT will be lower by $38,898.00, or approximately 7%.
  2. The MU Libraries manage a shared four-campus collections budget of over $2 million.   We participate in an annual process to cut resources funded from this budget due to price increases. In many cases, individual campus libraries have had to begin paying for resources cut from this budget, creating additional pressure on the campus-level library budgets.


What has been done so far?

  1. 1. Librarians at all four UM campuses have participated in a process to cut the MERLIN budget by $100,000.00 for FY17 by not renewing subscriptions to the databases listed below. For MU to keep access to any of these we will have to make further reductions elsewhere. The Law Library will continue to provide Congressional for Law for the Law School.
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals – saved with one-time funding for one year while we assess how to fund a subscription.
  • BioOne
  • Ovid Users – reduce number of users by 10 to 23 concurrent users.
  • PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) International
  • ATLA (American Theological Library Association) Religion Database – saved with one-time funding for one year while we assess how to fund a subscription.
  • Table of Contents
  • Gut (academic journal)
  • Proquest Congressional for Law
  • Proquest Congressional – Basic Subscription


  1. In March – April 2016, the Libraries worked with the Campus Library Committee to share a list of lesser used titles in our Elsevier and Wiley journal packages to the campus community with a request for feedback on their value to research and teaching. Over 900 community members responded. Our Head of Collection Development will use the information gathered to negotiate new contracts with Elsevier (current spending is over 1 million) and Wiley (current spending is over $750,000) in Fall 2016. The negotiations are extremely important because the two publisher journal packages represent approximately 30% of our collections budget. Knowing the final numbers on the cost of these two packages could have a significant impact on the extent of other cuts that the library will need to make for FY17. We have compiled the feedback and done some initial analysis that will be of use in our contract negotiations. Thank you to all faculty, students, and staff who participated in the survey.


What is happening now:

The Collections Steering Committee continues to review budget expenditures by type of expenditure. Rabia Gregory, Chair of the Campus Library Committee sits on this committee.

We have prepared a list of titles in our Sage, Oxford, and Springer journal packages. The list is being shared with the campus community for input. Please note that this is not a cut list! We know that many of these titles are important and highly used. Your feedback will augment usage, cost, and overlap data that we have from other sources and will equip us to make the best deal possible for our University.

Please respond to the survey at the link below by July 30, focusing on titles in your subject areas.


Why now?

Over the past decade, the Libraries have mitigated rising costs by:

  1. Working with campus administration to increase funding. We have had several small increases to address budget pressures, but we have also had to cut in other areas.
  2. Asking campus partners for one-time funding to meet the needs of a specific year. Most recently, the Department of Information Technology has generously provided one-time funding to assist with our current fiscal year shortfall.
  3. Gradually reducing or eliminating costs in areas such as staffing (including reductions in positions and the elimination of merit raises), operations, and one-time collection costs for materials such as books.
  4. Cutting subscriptions in consultation with specific departments, usually in exchange for adding another desired title.
  5. Last year we asked our students to vote on a library fee. Despite significant support, the fee did not pass.
  6. The Libraries’ collection budget was not spared the 2% give back that is required of all but a couple of campus units. The Libraries’ budget is not spared the 5% budget cut that all campus units are expected to accommodate in FY17.

Budgets have been tight at Mizzou for many years. With limited sources of new funding, the university administration is finding it harder than ever to provide the Libraries with increased funding or one-time support to meet critical needs.


Some things to remember:

  1. The Libraries will continue to dedicate staffing and resources to maintaining a robust and rapid Interlibrary Loan service.
  2. Your subject librarian is available for consultation on any questions you may have about library services or collections.
  3. Other institutions are facing similar challenges. See below for some additional information about collections challenges faced by academic libraries.
  4. Innovations in scholarly communications, such as open access, are being explored by faculty in some disciplines. It is too early in the process for these to remedy our immediate situation, but the Libraries encourage you to learn about these innovations at:
  5. The Libraries will continue to maintain faculty request lists. If funding improves, we will work with faculty to identify priorities for re-instating subscriptions.


What else can faculty do?

  1. We appreciate the work of the Campus Library Committee in articulating faculty concerns! 
  2. You can always ask your subject librarian questions about what is happening in the Libraries.
  3. Join the Friends of the Library or the Library Society.
  4. Include funds for library resources in grant applications.
  5. Consider costs of library support when developing new programs or positions.
  6. Coordinate development efforts.
  7. Become informed on Open Access and resist the commercialization of scholarly publication.
  8. See
  9. When you publish, negotiate to retain your author rights.  The Libraries encourage you to retain your copyright whenever you publish.


Selected readings:

Bergstrom, T. C, Courant, P. N, McAfee, R. P., Williams, M. A. (2014) Evaluating Big Deal Journal Bundles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Bosch, S. and Henderson, K. (2015) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On: Periodicals Price Survey 2015. Library Journal.

Five Year Journal Price Increase History (2011-2015). EBSCO.

Harvard University says it can't afford journal publishers' prices.  The Guardian.  April 24, 2012.

Jurski, D. and Lamb, B. (2015) Study of Subscription Prices for Scholarly Society Journals: 2015 Update. Allen Press, Inc.

Larivière, V., Haustein, S., and Mongeon, P. (2015) The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era. PLoS One.

Tafuri, N. (2015) Prices of U.S. and Foreign Published Materials.