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Piloting – New Approach for Departmental Allocations

Pilot Budget Approach: 2014-15

Cowles Library (in consultation with their Library Liaison faculty) are experimenting with moving away from “set” Departmental monograph allocations.  In so doing, we hope to be both more representative of the curricular needs of the faculty, as well as being more efficient stewards of limited acquisitions resources.  There will be no “budget” for each department per se (but we will still track this; you can track the spending in your department as well! See link below)

How it will work:

  • Departmental liaisons can request “one-time” purchases (e.g., print books, ebooks, media) as always.
  • They can review, at any time, what has been purchased in their discipline year-to-date.
  • Due to faculty feedback: Regular reminders of what the current “allocation” is will continue to be sent to departmental liaisons until the end of 2014. (including the link listed above). In the unlikely event that an individual department goes significantly (guideline = 15%) over its previous “allocation,” then that department may be asked to curtail its spending for the remainder of the FY.
  • If individual faculty members have extraordinary needs (for “one-time” purchases) in a given year to support specific curricular needs, they will work with their Library Faculty liaison and the Coordinator of Collection Development to see if those needs can be met.
  • If, as is hoped, this change results in overall savings, a future Liaison meeting/communication process will determine how those savings might best be used to satisfy unmet library resource needs.

Advantages for the departmental liaison:

  • No monthly emails (unless the liaison wants one!)
  • Daily updated lists of newly-received titles
  • Increased flexibility in responding to specific faculty needs
  • Less dependence on/concern about the budget year cycle for the individual departmental liaison

Obligations / challenges for the individual liaison:

  •  Departmental liaison should communicate this change to the faculty in their discipline, especially in those areas where there are “individual allocations.” Library liaisons will be available to answer questions and attend faculty meetings, if requested.
  • Our ongoing analyses of the collection (and our limited amount of space!) means that it’s important that you continue to order items that you think will be used, as utilization continues to be our core metric for our collection building/retention.


This will be a topic at the September liaison meeting, so please come ready to discuss!

Where can I see what has been purchased in my area (either by Library selectors or by the liaison?)


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