The Survey of Academic Libraries, 2008-09 Edition

The study is based on data from 75 college libraries in the United States and Canada. Data is broken out by size and type of college, as well as for public and private institutions, to allow for easier benchmarking. The report's more than 300 tables of data present findings about trends in staffing and salaries, budgets, grants and endowments, special collections, content and materials spending, use of e-books and online services, capital budgets library building renovation and facilities management, information literacy, and many other issues of interest to academic librarians.

Some of the report's findings are:

Only 22.5% of the colleges sampled believed that librarians' salaries had been going up faster than the rate of inflation, while more than 34% believed that their salaries in the past year had gone down in real terms. Librarians in private colleges were more likely than their counterparts in public colleges to believe that their salaries had gone down in real terms in the past year.

For the libraries in the sample the mean rate of growth in content spending in nominal terms was only 1.75% from the 2006-07 to 2007-08 academic year. Spending actually declined for the public colleges in the sample and grew only at about the rate of inflation for the private colleges. The expected rate of increase in spending for the 2008-09 academic year is only 1.66%. Private colleges in the sample had a mean expected increase of 3.1%, slightly less than the expected rate of inflation, while the public colleges essentially foresaw an increase of less than 1/10th of 1 percent, a decline in real terms of about 3.5%.

The libraries in the sample spent a mean of $456,238 for content accessed online in the 2008-09 academic year; the major research universities in the sample averaged more than $3.4 million in such expenditures. Spending per student for online information for colleges with fewer than 1,100 students FTE was $190.15 per student, while for colleges with more than 4,401 FTE per student spending averaged $115.04 for online information. Generally, students at the larger colleges enjoy access to a greater range of databases at much lower cost.

The Survey of Academic Libraries, 2008-09 Edition. New York, NY, Primary Research Group, 2008.

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