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ARL Member Expenditure Data

ARL recently released its expanded statistics on library 
expenditures (See: <http://www.arl.org/stats/index/index.shtml>). 
Overall, library material spends are showing an average yearly 
increase of around 6% - well above inflation and in line with 
average publisher price increases.  The Canadian institutions 
stand out in their funding increases for library budgets; each of 
the 12 Canadian institutions increased library spends over five 
years for a cumulative increase of 53% to 109%.  Interestingly, 
staffing at the libraries has remained largely constant over 
these years, and seems to have no correlation to changes in 
expenditure levels

Review of another set of data for US libraries, including many of 
the ARL members, that goes back to early 1980's (but is not as 
consistent in its recording as ARL data) also shows a consistent 
year-on-year average increase in library material spends.  It is 
also interesting to note that there is no noticeable impact due 
to economic downturns over the past 25 years.  Sadly, as Sally 
Morris notes in her editorial in the July 2009 issue of Learned 
Publishing, it is "the worst global credit crunch for many 
decades; it is likely to affect us all - our customers, our 
businesses, in some cases perhaps even our jobs."

Based on some conversations, indications are that library spends 
will see a decline of somewhere around 10% in the coming year. 
It will be interesting to see if the impact will vary by 
nationality and how the reductions play out between public and 
private institutions. One of the acquisition librarians at a 
California campus told me the reductions are going to approach 

On the other hand, it is such disruptions that spawn innovations. 
It is encouraging to note some of the findings of the Wiley 
survey that were recently posted on this listserv.  Publishing 
businesses are innovative by nature.  I do believe we shall 
persevere and prevail through it all, though not without some 
bruises and a little bleeding.

Nawin Gupta
Phone +1 773-623-9199
Fax +1 773-685-2007