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Library Budget Assessment: Arthur Lakes Library Budget Challenges

Details on Arthur Lakes Library budget challenges.

How does the library’s materials budget compare to that of other institutions?

Answer: IPEDS peer institutions for the Colorado School of Mines are identified as:

  • California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus (Atlanta, GA)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  • Michigan Technological University (Houghton, MI)
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, MO)
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, NJ)
  • New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (Socorro, NM)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)
  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (Rapid City, SD)
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)
Institution Name FTE Subscriptions Monographs Other Total Total/FTE
Comparative materials budget data for four closest peers (per Tricia Douthit):
Colorado School of Mines 5,608 $1,320,533 $103,538 $2,804 $1,426,875 $254.44
Michigan Technological University 6,592 $3,015,647 $46,981 $2,422 $3,065,050 $464.97
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 6,734 $2,140,821 $134,374 $20,832 $2,296,027 $340.96
Missouri University of Science & Technology 7,703 $1,338,018 $127,200 $140,613 $1,605,831 $208.47
Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus 20,600 $7,145,229 $329,325 - $7,474,554 $362.84

What is the justification for requesting a 7% materials budget inflation increase?

Answer:    The average annual % increase in the library’s materials budget over the past 10 years (2007 – 2017) is 4.13%. If the $60,000 budget increase in 2017 for an expanded IEEE subscription is removed, the 10-year average decreases to just 3.74%:

EBSCO publishes annual serials price projections on an annual basis. These projections include both STEM and non-STEM titles. Their projections for the past 9 years are:

2007: n/a 2011: 4-6% 2015: 5-7%
2008: 6-8% 2012: 4-6% 2016: 4-6%
2009: 7-9% 2013: 5-7% 2017: 5-6%
2010: 4-6% 2014: 5-7%  

The average projected 9-year inflation range is thus 5.5 – 7.5%, with a 6.5% overall average.

If the Arthur Lakes Library’s materials budget had increased by 6.5% over the past 9 years, the 2017 materials budget would be $2,145,118 ($442,243 and 26% higher). Note that this is close to the current materials budget of Rensselaer.

The library’s experience is that the actual overall serials inflation range tends to be at the high end of this range (7.5%), and that STEM titles (the majority of library subscriptions) significantly exceed these projections.

For example, the individual inflation rates over the past ten years for the 10 most used journals at CSM are:

1.    Science: 7.52% 5-year average inflation rate
2.    Nature: 10.4% 4-year average inflation rate
3.    Geophysics: 17.4% 4-year average inflation rate:
4.    Journal of Membrane Science: 4.225% 4-year average inflation rate (note: part of Elsevier package, with rate of increase limited by contract with Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries)
5.    Journal of the American Chemical Society: 7.97% 6-year inflation rate
6.    Journal of Power Sources: Inflation rate controlled by contract (see above)
7.    Materials Science & Engineering: Inflation rate controlled by contract (see above)
8.    Water Resources Research: 7.15% 2-year average inflation rate
9.    Acta Materiala: Inflation rate controlled by contract (see above)
10.    Journal of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Engineering: 5.55% 4-year average inflation rate

Summary: The requested 7% inflation factor for 2017-2018 is modest and appropriate given both historical and recent serials inflation. The purchasing power of the library has steadily declined over the past 10 years due to materials inflation outpacing growth of the library’s materials budget allocation.


Do you have any other general data on historical materials inflation?

Answer: Yes. Library materials inflation is a broadly recognized challenge in academia. The following chart from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) provides visual evidence of the annual price pressures for both monographs (books) and serials (journals) between 1986-2011