Appendix J



PSU Libraries Collection Budget Report, 2017


View the PDF Version of the Report


This is the third annual PSU Libraries Collections Budget report for the Senate Committee on Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology. The information covered in this report differs from previous years. In previous years the libraries’ have been able to employ reallocation strategies to supplement a flat collections budget. For example, funds from Operations have been available in the past to transfer to collections, but Operations funds were needed for construction in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, and we expect them to continue to be limited for the foreseeable future.

PSU libraries’ spending capabilities are challenged by rising inflation and publisher costs as well as scholarly publishing changes. External challenges imposed by publishers and vendors are exacerbated by the fact that our collections budget has remained flat for many years. While we strive to build and organize our collections as well as make them accessible to support the teaching, learning, and scholarship of Penn State faculty and students, we are straining to meet evolving research needs. For example, growing areas of research that require proprietary datasets are especially difficult for us to support due to the high costs involved. Our limited funds prevent us from adding resources without cancelling existing subscriptions or buying fewer books.

The challenges PSU Libraries are facing will be explored in detail in Part 5 of this report, but this report begins with a description of who (Part 1) is responsible for managing the overall budget; who manages the individual subject allocations and who manages the interactions with publishers and vendors, and pays the bills. This section also describes the process of selection and provides a sample collection policy used to guide purchasing decisions by discipline.

Next we move to what (Part 2). This section describes types of funding available for library collections, materials, and services.

The section on where (Part 3) describes the Penn State Libraries supported by the collections budget.

When (Part 4) describes the timing of our budgeting and purchasing cycles.

We follow the budget cycle information with the previously mentioned section describing challenges the libraries’ are facing with regard to building collections with limited funds. Next, there is a section outlining opportunities the library is pursuing that embrace new directions in scholarly publishing and communications.

The Information section features charts, tables and other numbers, a flowchart showing how the process works as we add items to the library collection, and it ends with budget information for the medical and law libraries. As with last year’s report we have included information about the databases we subscribe to.

We end with a report from Harrell Health Sciences Library (Harrell HSL). We did not receive a report from the two law libraries this year.

Part 1. Who – Roles and responsibilities

This section describes who in the library is responsible for managing the collections budget, spending the money and paying the bills, and ends with a description of how we choose what to purchase or subscribe to, with a sample collection development policy.


The Senior Director of Administrative and Financial Services oversees the entire budget for the libraries, including endowments and the collections budget.

The Associate Dean for Research, Collections, and Scholarly Communication has overarching responsibility for the library collections budget (endowments, state appropriations, etc.), with the exception of the medical and law schools. All of the librarians who are charged with selecting and stewarding library collections (again with the exception of the medical and laws schools) are either based in the Research, Collections, and Scholarly Communications division of the library, or are Campus librarians. The Acquisitions Services Department reports to this associate dean.


This department is responsible for all aspects of procuring books, journals, maps, media, sound recordings, scores, serials, sets, databases, back-files etc. They manage electronic resources and respond to access issues. They work closely with selectors, vendors, and publishers. For the past year and a half we have had an interim Acquisitions librarian. This fall we conducted a successful national search for the position of Head, Acquisitions Services Department, and this person will be joining the Libraries in March 2018.


In February of 2017 the Libraries hired its first Collections Strategies and Services Librarian. This librarian is responsible for overseeing many of the aspects of the work of library selectors. This position manages the Joint Collections Group and oversees projects such as the creation of allocation methods, manages collections assessment activities, interacts with vendors and leads collaborative collection development opportunities. In addition to becoming acclimated to the organization, this librarian has been representing Penn State Libraries in collections-related projects through the Big Ten Academic Alliance as well as assisting with budget planning.


Selectors are librarians with subject area expertise who are charged with selecting library materials in specific subject areas and stewarding the budgets for those areas. There are 86 librarians who do materials selection throughout the libraries. There are 168 different subjects ranging from Accounting to Zoology. The law and medical libraries manage their own selection and budgets.

Decisions by selectors about what to purchase or subscribe to are guided by the Libraries overarching policy for collection development, which is to collect and make accessible materials that meet the teaching and research needs of the university. Selectors also purchase in response to specific requests from faculty and graduate students, within the confines of the budget. Requests for books are nearly always purchased as well as new print and electronic content subscriptions. Packages, extensive backfiles, large sets and expensive databases that exceed the subject’s funding availability require a vetting process through a committee, and funds must be found or freed up through cancellations or through cost-sharing across disciplines. Undergraduates rarely request items, although their requests are taken into consideration if they fit the needs of the discipline. Otherwise they are directed towards interlibrary loan. Further, selectors are guided in their decisions by their own subject expertise and through a concerted effort to assess the needs of faculty, research programs, departments, colleges, and others. Selectors are organized into subject-based Collection Development Groups. Many selectors write collection policies to describe the parameters they use when selecting materials for broad subject areas. These are updated periodically, especially when there are substantive changes.

In previous reports we have included sample policies for collecting in specific disciplines. This year, in the interest of saving space we provide a link to our policies.

Part 2. What – Money sources and types of materials purchased

This section describes both the types and sources of money in the library’s collections budget and the types from the most recent budget year of materials we buy, subscribe, or procure licensed to access. This section includes a brief description of fundraising and library collections.

Money Sources

  1. Allocated General Appropriation
  2. Grants
  3. Endowments
  4. Gifts


  1. State appropriation: Allocated fiscally, July to June. Distribution is determined by the Associate Dean for Research, Collections, and Scholarly Communications. Allocations are typically completed by the end of August for each fiscal cycle. These funds must be fully committed by May 7th. Uncommitted balances are pooled after that date for desiderata purchases as these funds must be fully expended by June 30th. Carryover is not permitted. Outstanding order encumbrances are reflected against the new fiscal year allocations.
  2. Grants: Some grants have designated funds for library collections.
  3. Endowments: Income received on an annual basis, usually early summer. Distribution of these funds is based on the donor guidelines.
  4. Gifts: These funds represent monetary gifts received through the Office of University Development and are added to the collections budget as received throughout the year. Distribution of these funds is based on donor instructions. These funds have no encumbrance or expenditure deadlines.

Fundraising and Collections

There are currently 144 collection endowments for the University Libraries for a wide range of disciplines and Special Collections.

Other development funds such as the For the Future Fund, discretionary funds, and portions of funds for accompanying named librarian positions and chairs are also used for collections.

One recent fund has been created to support the purchase of textbooks for class reserve materials, The Textbook and Educational Resources Fund. This fund aims to mitigate expenses that too often can prevent students from purchasing required course materials, or even enrolling in classes. Through generous donations and contributions, University Libraries are able to acquire a wide variety of textbooks, electronic, and educational resources (anatomical models, molecule sets, etc.) that are available for all Penn State students to borrow.

The purpose of this endowment is to support and enhance the University Libraries by providing monies for the development and/or purchase of textbooks and other resources and materials supporting the University Libraries Textbook and Open Educational Resources program.

Material types

The Libraries purchase materials in a variety of formats, primarily physical, electronic, digital, and microform. Below is a brief list of material types we acquire, which is by no means exhaustive.

  • Books – Fiction/Non-Fiction/Textbooks
  • Journals
  • Newspapers
  • Databases
  • Cartographic maps
  • Sound recordings
  • Music scores
  • Media
  • Streaming media
  • Art Museum exhibitions/ catalogs
  • Conferences/Proceedings
  • Juvenile fiction / picture books
  • Atlases (Geographical, Nautical and Astronomical)
  • Computer files, includes data sets
  • Educational Kits including anatomical models
  • Special Collections
  • Encyclopedias, Dictionaries and other general reference books

Other expenditures

Approval Plan – latest published books automatically shipped to our library, reducing faculty selection time. Plans are based on individual collection development group profiles and preferences, and include a large discount, anywhere from 15-18% of cost.

Commercial Binding – a long-term preventative preservation strategy which extends the life of books and periodicals (supports and protects), deters theft of single periodicals and keeps books in one physical piece.

Equipment – circulating/reference collections that are not typically traditional library formats. (i.e.: calculators, globes, models, educational kits).

Interlibrary Loans and Document Delivery – Through agreements with other libraries, books and materials that are not owned by the Penn State University Libraries are obtained for PSU students, faculty, and staff.  Document Delivery provides access to articles and book chapters available from publishers and our partner institutions.

Memberships –    renewals that the Libraries maintain in order to receive specific collections materials or are maintained for rights, discounts, and/or voting privileges, often the are from society publishers where membership includes society published materials such as books and/or journals.

Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) – model of library collection development in which we only purchase streaming video materials when it is clear that a PSU student, faculty or instructors need them for curricular needs.

Postage and service fees – Less than one percent of our overall expenditures, these fees cover postage from foreign vendors, and when vendors require service fees often for hosting digital materials.

Part 3. Where – Libraries at Penn State

This section lists the libraries who have separate budgets for collections and the campus libraries supported by the University Park collections budget, and describes what the libraries pay for jointly.

a. These four libraries have separate budgets, but share costs for some materials such as databases and journals:

  • University Libraries
  • Hershey Medical
  • Penn State Law
  • Dickinson Law

Penn State Hershey collaboratively supports partial renewal costs of over 570 electronic journals and databases at ~$1.72M annually. The Dickinson Law and Penn State Law libraries support university-wide access to more than 2,000 law and law-related journals and 120 databases in excess of $400,000 annually.

b. The centralized collections budget for University Libraries at University Park is used to purchase materials for the following:

  • Architecture & Landscape Architecture Library
  • George and Sherry Middlemas Arts and Humanities Library
  • Donald W. Hamer Maps Library
  • Fletcher L. Byrom Earth and Mineral Sciences Library
  • Education and Behavioral Sciences Library
  • Engineering Library
  • Life Sciences Library
  • News and Microforms Library
  • Physical and Mathematical Science Library
  • Schreyer Business Library
  • Social Sciences Library
  • Eberly Family Special Collections Library
  • Penn State Abington Library
  • Penn State Altoona Robert E. Eiche Library
  • Penn State Beaver Library
  • Penn State Berks Thun Library
  • Penn State Brandywine John D. Vairo Library
  • Penn State DuBois Library
  • Penn State Erie John M. Lilley Library
  • Penn State Fayette Library
  • Penn State Great Valley Library
  • Penn State Greater Allegheny J. Clarence Kelly Library
  • Penn State Harrisburg Library
  • Penn State Hazleton Library
  • Penn State Lehigh Valley Library
  • Penn State Mont Alto Library
  • Penn State New Kensington Elisabeth S. Blissell Library
  • Penn State Schuylkill Ciletti Memorial Library
  • Penn State Shenango Lartz Memorial Library
  • Penn State Wilkes-Barre Nesbitt Library
  • Penn State Worthington Scranton Library
  • Penn State York Lee R. Glatfelter Library
  • World Campus

Part 4. When – the annual calendar of budgetary events

This section describes the fiscal year events for the collections budget.

Fiscal Calendar


Fiscal Year closeout

  • Open orders rolled-over for new Fiscal Year (FY)
  • Budget lines closed

New Year startup

  • Information from university on state funds for collections available
  • Information on new endowment and carryover gift and endowment funds
  • Preliminary allocations entered into system
  • Ordering can begin
  • 15th Deadline for journal cancellations must be completed


  • Final allocations completed (if state has a budget)


  • Documentation for selectors on previous FY budgeting completed


  • Quarterly review of large item wants list by Joint Collections Group (JCG), formerly the Collection Services Advisory Group (CSAG)
  • Journal renewals authorized


  • Endowed funds should be 50% committed


  • Quarterly review of large item wants list by JCG
  • Endowed funds should be 70% committed
  • 31st Deadline for Asian and non-European orders
  • Rolling review for journal subscriptions begins


  • Deadline for new print journal subscriptions
  • 15th Deadline for non-domestic and European orders


  • Quarterly review and prioritization of large item wants list by JCG
  • Deadline for electronic resource orders (databases, journals, packages)
  • 15th Endowed funds must be 100% committed
  • 15th Average inflation rates available from Library Journal


  • Deadline for state funds for books 100% committed
  • 12th uncommitted state funds pooled for reserve


  • Inflation planning for rolling review of journal subscriptions finalized
  • 30th Deadline all book and endowed funds fully expended

Part 5. Challenges

In the past the Libraries have had the option to reallocate some internal funds to Collections to forestall mandatory massive journal and database cancellations. However, we are reaching a point where we will be unable to employ this strategy. Many other research libraries have had to make deep cuts to their subscriptions, and PSU Libraries may have to consider that in the near future.

The cost of scholarly journals continues to rise at a rate that most libraries are strained or unable to absorb. Every year, a library-focused publication titled, Library Journal publishes the Periodicals Price Survey that provides historical and current information on the cost of journals as well as information on library budgets. In 2017, the Periodicals Price Survey reported that out of over 500 libraries in North America that received the survey, only 11% of libraries had a budget increase of 5% or more while 64% had budgets that remained the same or had increases of less than 5%. While inflation rates vary by discipline, the overall annual cost increases for scholarly journals have been holding steady at around 6% since 2012 (Source:  LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017).

Journal subscriptions are merely one expense the Libraries’ have to manage; large databases that contain non-journal content such as datasets or other kinds of research material as well as books also have costs that rise over time. Penn State Libraries has not received an increase to the collections budget base for years. We are in the process of adjusting some of our internal ordering processes to save funds, and we are closely monitoring our monograph spending, but these methods will only help us partially address our lack of funding.

Regardless of how diligent the Libraries are about managing the collections budget, the fact remains that costs are increasing while our budget is not. And our lack of funds has opportunity and monetary costs. There are certain cost-saving measures that we cannot take advantage of because we don’t have much flexibility in the budget. For example, pre-paying for a multi-year subscription is often a way of getting a lower subscription rate, but we don’t have the funds to pay that amount upfront. Also, there are certain products that offer a subscription model and a purchase model. The purchase model typically has a higher upfront cost, but it is a one-time cost versus paying an annual subscription fee indefinitely, so we would save money in the long run if we were able to take advantage of the purchase model. There are cases where we know we want to maintain access to a resource for the foreseeable future, but we don’t have the funds to pay the higher one-time fee. The libraries are unable to play a long game with regard to subscriptions and we find ourselves in an endless cycle of reaction rather than long-term planning.

Publishers and vendors, on the other hand, are able to play the long game — inflation rates are one challenge, and publisher subscription models are another. While the “Big Deal” (a subscription model that packages electronic journal titles together and locks libraries into multi-year deals while limiting or preventing cancellations) journal packages are the most well-known example of a challenging subscription model, there are many others. For example, Penn State Libraries has subscribed to Thomson Reuters Web of Science for many years, and in the past the product was offered with optional add-on subscriptions such as Biological Abstracts — a database that focuses on journals in Life Sciences, and the Book Citation Index. However, a venture capital firm named Clarivate acquired Web of Science in 2016, and they have changed the Web of Science subscription model. Products like Biological Abstracts and Book Citation Index that were once optional are no longer considered separate products. Customers are being told that the previous subscription model is no longer an option; they have to subscribe to everything as part of a larger package. Penn State participated in a consortial license for Web of Science through the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), and consortial licenses help us to lower our costs. However, the Big Ten Academic Alliance was not successful in their attempts to negotiate with Clarivate to maintain the previous subscription model. The BTAA was able to negotiate low annual increases, but those low increases were only available if we subscribed to the whole package.

It isn’t unusual for content providers to change ownership. Another example of a merger that has also posed challenges for tight library budgets is the 2015 merger of Springer and Nature, now known as SpringerNature. In 2017, SpringerNature launched 5 new journals and plans to launch more new journals in 2018. While launching new journals may not seem like an unusual move for a publisher, this rate of growth is aggressive and the costs of these new titles are exorbitant. SpringerNature claims they are responding to the increased demand from faculty for outlets for their research; however, there isn’t a limit on the number of articles that can be published in a single issue, so creating entirely new titles with high subscription costs is a practice that benefits the publishers alone.

Due to the lack of funds, we’ve had to decline participation in open access initiatives that we’ve participated in in the past. For example, Knowledge Unlatched is an organization that works with libraries and publishers to make books openly available with a Creative Commons license. We were not able to support them this year because we had to ensure that we had enough funding to cover our existing expenses.

Part 6.  Opportunities

While the current state of the libraries’ collections budget is not conducive to many opportunities, there are several projects underway to aid with developing and managing collections. Many projects that PSU Libraries were interested in starting were waiting for the Collections Services and Strategies Librarian to arrive, and a number of those projects launched this year. The Collections Services and Strategies Librarian is working with a group to update guidelines for sending physical items to remote storage and duplication within library collections. She is also working with a group to provide use data for electronic journals to inform the retention decisions of selectors during the annual serials review. One of her first priorities was to work with the Libraries’ I-Tech department to create a Collections portal that enhances access to the Libraries’ many different collections and subject expertise.

This fall, the Libraries also posted the Head of Acquisitions Librarian position, and two candidates were invited to campus for in-person interviews. The librarian has been hired and will begin working on or before March 15th, 2018. Filling this position will greatly improve the libraries’ ability to handle the workload involved in managing purchasing and subscriptions.

Members of library administration charged a Campus Collection Vision Group, and it is comprised of librarians at our Commonwealth Campus Libraries as well as the Collections Services and Strategies Librarian. The Campus Collection Vision Group is investigating a shared collection vision for the Commonwealth Campus Libraries that includes a review of options related to implementation of a shared collection approval plan for books and recommendations for collection storage and retrieval at the campus libraries.

One benefit of PSU Libraries’ involvement with the BTAA is the annual large-scale acquisitions purchases that the BTAA negotiates for member libraries. Each year, PSU Libraries deposits money with the BTAA for large consortial purchases. This money was carved out of the collections budget years ago, so it is a well-established expense that is covered with our base collections budget. This year the BTAA has negotiated purchases of raw XML Web of Science data. Individual departments at Penn State have been purchasing this data, and it will now be made available to all students and faculty at Penn State through the libraries’ license. The BTAA also used large-scale acquisitions funds to support digitization projects through Reveal Digital. Reveal Digital employs a library crowd-funding model to digitize collections and make them openly accessible. This year, Reveal Digital digitized a collection of newspapers from the rise and fall of the 1920’s Ku Klux Klan.


This section provides tables, graphs, charts and other representations used to describe the money we have to spend, the resources we spend it on, the vendors we purchase the most from and the subject area cost and projected pricing break-downs. The budget numbers are for the collections budget for University Park and Campus libraries and excludes the medical and law school libraries. The medical and law schools library budget information ends this section.


We completed the project to enhance our records for databases to improve reporting. We can now report on numbers and values of databases by college, program, and or content type, and any combination thereof. So if the college of Liberal Arts wants to know what types of databases support political science, we can get that information for them.

2016/17 PSUL Database Support by Program

Program NameValue
Administration Of Justice$6,687
Advertising/Public Relations$61,329
Aerospace Engineering$25,570
African And African American Studies$450
African American Studies$11,750
African Studies$8,240
Agribusiness Management$117,171
Agricultural Science$31,595
American Studies$51,947
Animal Science$17,220
Archaeological Science$12,225
Architectural Engineering$8,692
Art Education$40,700
Art History$59,141
Asian Studies$40,177
Biological Anthropology$10,830
Biobehavioral Health$73,067
Biochemistry And Molecular Biology$333,096
Biological Engineering$6,260
Biomedical Engineering$30,994
Business Economics$30,930
Chemical Engineering$411,678
Childhood And Early Adolescent Education$24,069
Civil Engineering$17,037
Classics And Ancient Mediterranean Studies$36,320
Comparative Literature$77,089
Computer Engineering$42,275
Computer Science$374,541
Corporate Innovation And Entrepreneurship$30,930
Criminal Justice$6,687
Data Sciences$6,720
Earth Sciences$26,239
Education And Public Policy$19,279
Elementary And Kindergarten Education$4,790
Electrical Engineering$37,023
Energy Business And Finance$30,279
Energy Engineering$7,400
Energy And Sustainability Policy$7,400
Engineering Science$571,093
Environmental Science$22,255
Environmental Resource Management$16,650
Environmental Systems Engineering$16,045
Food Science$9,372
Forest Ecosystem Management$25,335
French And Francophone Studies$1,729
General Arts And Sciences$218,035
Global And International Studies$105,301
Graphic Design$28,391
Health Policy And Administration$6,613
Hospitality Management$213,735
Human Development And Family Studies$108,052
Industrial Engineering$30,994
Information Sciences And Technology$613,668
International Business$99,619
Integrated Social Sciences$52,800
International Politics$52,579
Jewish Studies$21,015
Labor And Employment Relations$920
Landscape Architecture$12,595
Latin-American Studies$1,950
Law And Society$114,318
Letters, Arts, And Sciences$29,734
Materials Science And Engineering$100,530
Mechanical Engineering$36,869
Media Studies$31,859
Mining Engineering$695
Musical Arts$45,432
Music Education$54,922
Nutritional Sciences$24,035
Petroleum And Natural Gas Engineering$7,455
Plant Sciences$7,600
Political Science$267,273
Psychological And Social Sciences$64,343
Public Policy$85,677
Recreation, Park And Tourism Management$1,225
Rehabilitation And Human Services$1,795
Risk Management$3,064
Science-Physical Therapy$8,718
Security And Risk Analysis$21,045
Social Data Analytics$127,027
Supply Chain And Information Systems$166,724
Veterinary And Biomedical Sciences$54,100
Visual Art Studies$33,586
Wildlife And Fisheries Science$11,919
Women's Studies$26,191

Collection Budget – By sources of funding for the most recent five years

Fiscal YearState
from PSUL
from Univ.


Five years of our projected inflation based on Library Journal percentage estimations for inflation on books and journals. Represents increase over the previous FY.

Academic YearProject

PSUL Management of Inflation Factors (actions)


Top five expenditure sources for 2016/17

Elsevier – journals, ebooks$3,464,609
Ebsco Information Services – vendor for the majority of our journals$3,102,817
Big Ten Academic Alliance – membership gives us discounted prices on a variety of materials.
This amount is for the resources we purchase through the BTAA agreements.
YBP Library Services – vendor for domestic print books and ebooks$1,590,110
Otto Harrassowitz – vendor for foreign journals, books (Springer/Taylor & Francis)$1,126,628

Expenditures for fiscal year 2016/17 by material types (not all materials are included)

Material TypeExpenditures
Books: print $1,441,177
Books: electronic $486,483
Journals: print $558,950
Journals: electronic$7,462,971
Newspapers: print (electronic are part of Databases) $50,185
Databases $6,211,609
Cartographic maps $2,999
Sound recordings $7,868
Music scores $49,728
Video streaming$178,027
DVDs $72,068
Juvenile fiction / picture books $24,715
Educational Kits $271
Special Collections $393,741
Encyclopedias, Dictionaries and other general reference books$52,536

2016/17 University Park Campus Expenditures by general subject areas

Subject AreaExpenditurePercentage
Life Sciences$2,049,08513%
Arts & Humanities$1,540,57210%
Social Sciences$1,149,4037%
Special Collections$386,8773%
News Group$301,7482%

As described in table above: January 23, 2018 Senate Agenda, Appendix J, Chart 1The pie chart above portrays data from the preceding table, titled 2016/17 University Park Campus Expenditures by general subject areas.

FY 2016/17 Format Expenditures by Funding Source

As described below: January 23, 2018 Senate Agenda, Appendix J, Chart 2: FY 2016/17 Format Expenditures by Funding SourceThe above bar chart shows Fiscal Year Expenditures by funding source, as described below. Funding sources include the base funding which is our allocation from the university and the libraries portion of the students IT fee, endowed funding, gifts and State Library Services (SLS) funds.

Print Serials/Subs
Base/IT: $779, 892
Endowed: $33,788

Open Access
Base/IT: $30,028

Base/IT: $128,905

Firm Orders
Base/IT: $1,506,712
Endowed: $866,759
Gift: $37,259
SLS: $59,476

Electronic Backfiles
Base/IT: $733,584
Endowed: $55,951

Econtent Subscriptions
Base/IT: $6,034,797
Endowed: $68,598

Document Delivery
Base/IT: $63,673

Database Access Fees
Base/IT: $734,358

Database Subscriptions
Base/IT: $4,876,096
Endowed: $313,862

Base/IT: $218,786

Approval Plans
Base/IT: $543,473
Endowed: $14,611

Other sources for materials available to Penn State through memberships and other arrangements


  • Association for Information Science and Technology membership
  • International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Membership
  • European consortium for political research membership
  • American Library Association. Membership
  • Special Libraries Association. Membership
  • Association of Research Libraries. Membership
  • Center for Research Libraries membership
  • Pennsylvania Library Association. Membership
  • LOCKSS alliance membership
  • Counter membership
  • CLOCKSS membership

Average Prices for Libraries to acquire print and electronic journals


Food Science2,567
Math & Computer Science1,971
Health Sciences1,736
General Science1,556


This table is from the magazine Library Journal. It lists the average journal subscription price for 2017, for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math journals. The prices range from the highest, Chemistry at $4,773 to General Science at $1,556.

Library Journal


TITLE 2016
% OF
TITLE 2017
% OF
Arts & Architecture55665854
Business & Economics91279645
Food Science1569616868
General Science1422515023
General Works43464522
Health Sciences1649617327
Language & Literature38163996
Library Science52285405
Math & Computer Science1540516184
Military & Naval Science1002710605
Philosophy & Religion42964495
Political Science75168036
Social Sciences91289615


This table is from the magazine Library Journal. It lists the average journal subscription price for 2017, for online journals from Clarivate Analytics (formerly ISI indexes). The prices range from the highest, Chemistry journals subscription price is at $4,447 to Music at $380, average annual subscription cost. It lists the total average cost at $1,385.

Flowchart from budget allocation to materials available for use

As described below: January 23, 2018 Senate Agenda, Appendix J, Chart 3: Flowchart from budget allocation to materials available for useThe flowchart above moves through the following steps: State and endowment money added to the budget, flows to Collections budget allocated to Subject Liaisons, flows to Liaisons choose materials to purchase OR respond to requests from faculty and students, flows to Acquisitions purchases or subscribes to materials, flows to Materials arrive physically in the library or digital access is turned on, flows to Information about the materials are added to the catalog, and ends at Materials are placed on the library shelves – paperbacks are sent to the bindery.

Medical Library Budget Report

Penn State College of Medicine
Harrell Health Sciences Library: Research and Learning Commons


The Harrell Health Sciences Library (Harrell HSL), located within the Penn State College of Medicine and the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, is the health sciences library for Penn State University.   As such, the primary focus of collection development is the health and biomedical sciences.  The library reports administratively to the Dean of University Libraries while also reporting to the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, Penn State College of Medicine, resulting in a dual reporting structure.  The Harrell HSL has a Memorandum of Understanding in place that describes the partnership between the Penn State College of Medicine and the Penn State University Libraries.  The library retains a separate cost center with the budget originating through the COM.  All direct costs associated with managing the Harrell HSL, including the collections budget, are a component of the budget determined by the Dean of the College of Medicine.

Revenue Sources:

As a cost center within the College of Medicine (COM), the library’s funding is derived from a variety of revenue streams.  Academic support for the COM includes revenues from the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (HMC) for services, the HMC Fixed Support Payment, the Dean’s percentage of professional clinical revenue, tuition and fees, a University contribution, lease income, investment income, and endowment returns. The Harrell HSL also has a small gift fund used to support symposia, sponsored speakers, professional development and other types of unfunded opportunities as well as occasional grants.

Development & Fundraising:

The Harrell HSL works with Development & Alumni Relations staff in Hershey, PA, to develop support. In the last few years, a campaign has been held in support of the Harrell HSL Renovation.  Long-term the Harrell HSL has plans to build an endowment to support collections.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Administration & Finance

Administration of the library’s budget falls under the Director/Associate Dean for Library and Information Services of the Harrell HSL, the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, and the Dean of the College of Medicine.  The Director/Associate Dean oversees the budget and delegates responsibility for the collections budget to the Collection Development & Digital Resources Management Librarian (see attached Organization Chart).

Collection Management

The Collection Development & Digital Resources Management Librarian, in partnership with the Collection Access & Support Services Librarian, is responsible for selecting library materials, managing electronic resources, responding to access issues, working with vendors and publishers, and working closely with the University Libraries Acquisition Services to procure and pay for resources. The collection management librarians also maintain the scoped database list and the eJournal list on the Harrell HSL website. The Harrell HSL maintains an active liaison program. Primary functions of the liaison program include: intelligence gathering, engagement and outreach; marketing, promotion and advocacy; and collection building.  In their role as liaisons, faculty librarians serve as selectors in their assigned areas of responsibility, providing recommendations and input to the Collection Development & Digital Resources Management Librarian.

The Harrell HSL relies on the University Libraries Acquisition Services, Cataloging and Metadata Services, while also performing some acquisitions and cataloging functions onsite, and utilizes the Libraries automated systems supported through Libraries Technology (I-Tech) i.e. Serials Solutions, the SIRSI ILS, and the Illiad Interlibrary Loan system, etc.  The centralization of these types of support services is both cost effective and efficient.

The Collection Development & Digital Resources Management Librarian is a member of the Joint Collections Group (formerly CSAG) representing the interest of the Harrell HSL.  She also serves on ad hoc collections teams as needed in order to facilitate joint collection development efforts. For example, University Libraries provides primary support for the nursing collections across all campuses. The Harrell HSL collaborates in the acquisition of appropriate materials.

Materials Purchased:

The Harrell HSL has a Collection Development Policy that describes in detail the types of material collected (primarily in electronic formats), core subject categories, and efforts to coordinate library purchases in partnership with University Libraries to build collections in the life, health and biomedical sciences.  This relationship has allowed the libraries to leverage collection dollars and has proven to be both cost effective and beneficial for Penn State as a whole. By minimizing duplication between the libraries, students, faculty, and staff have access to the broadest range of materials.

The Harrell HSL provides an ILL service on a cost-recovery basis.  Lending library charges are passed on to the individual/department requesting documents. ILL staff makes every effort to obtain loans free of charge; reciprocal agreements are in place with partnering Big Ten (CIC) Libraries. The library is a designated Resource Library within the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine and as such is a fully participating member in the NLM DOCLINE system.

The Harrell HSL no longer binds material since the vast majority of the in-scope collection purchased is in electronic format.

Shared Purchasing

The Harrell HSL shares costs for relevant in-scope materials with University Libraries.  The library also acquires a subset of resources for Harrell HSL users only.  The total collection expenditures in FY 2016/2017 were $2,161,791.10.

Of these expenditures, 89% was expended in support of resources accessible by all Penn State user groups. The remaining11% of expenditures provided access for Harrell HSL users only to resources specific to the needs of the local campus, its vision and its mission.

In FY 2016/2017, the Harrell HSL contributed an overall 12% of the funds for purchases from the University Libraries top 5 vendors as shown below:

VendorPSULHarrell HSLPercentage
Harrell HSL

A small portion of the overall library materials budget at the Harrell Health Sciences Library is used for book purchases. The remainder of the materials purchased are various types of electronic materials.

The Harrell Health Sciences Library chooses to support databases that are critical to the four parts of the Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health mission:

  1. Academic (education)
  2. Clinical
  3. Research
  4. Community Service

A breakdown of select Harrell HSL database expenditures for FY 2016/2017 is shown below, along with the distribution of contributions from University Libraries and the Harrell HSL.

Inflation and Other Challenges

Annual inflation for HHSL information resources fluctuates between 5-9% with the overall annual average over the past eight years being 6%. Because of the fluctuations each year and the fact that budget projections for the new fiscal year are made early, the HHSL uses a conservative inflation estimate based on recommendations from our vendors. In a typical year, some resources experience higher inflation than others. The chart below shows the annual inflationary increases by percentage since FY 2010/2011 for some of the important biomedical information resources to which we subscribe.

JAMA & Archives17%10%7%8%7%5%4%
JAMA Evidence5%5%6%8%9%11%32%**
Science Direct10%6%7%7%5%5%4%
ClinicalKey* -- - - 5%3%3%
Cochrane Library4%4%4%4%4%4%4%
Natural Medicines***0%0%0%9%8%7%7%

*ClinicalKey subscription began in FY14. (Was MDConsult previously)
**The JAMA Evidence 2016/2017 percentage increase is due to not just inflation but also expanded coverage.
*** The first three years of Natural Medicines were under a special agreement to keep inflation flat.

The current health care climate presents additional challenges for the HHSL. With the creation of Penn State Health, questions arise regarding how the HHSL relates to entities within the Penn State Health network. All of the license agreements for library resources are made as Penn State University or the Penn State College of Medicine. The coverage for those licenses includes only what has been historically called Penn State Hershey. This is the Penn State College of Medicine, the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the Children’s Hospital, the Cancer Institute, the University Physicians Center, and various outpatient clinics. With the addition of other clinics and hospitals, such as the purchase of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Reading and the PALS Medical Group in Lancaster County, the HHSL was legally required to find ways to prevent access to library resources by these groups as they are not covered under the licenses currently in place. This was accomplished by working with IT in Hershey to create an exclude section of our IP range. Any new hospitals or clinics brought online by Penn State Health must be put in the exclude section of the IP range to prevent breach of contract with our library resource vendors. However, each of these institutions would like to have access to Penn State library resources so the question is frequently raised about library access for them. The HHSL is in the process of exploring models were library access could be offered to the Penn State Health entities without jeopardizing the current agreements in place with library vendors. This will likely take the shape of having to enter into separate agreements with vendors for the Penn State Health entity so that the known costs of providing information resources to Penn State Health can be passed along to Penn State Health to support the access. Health information vendors are well aware of the current health care climate and they maintain awareness of what their customers are doing in that marketplace. The HHSL is regularly contacted by our information vendors when Penn State Health makes a new acquisition to question whether these sites will be provided access to resources through the HHSL. Should that answer be yes, be assured that the costs will increase dramatically. The current HHSL budget cannot support the costs of adding additional hospitals and clinical settings to the existing information resource vendor agreements.

In addition, there are constantly pressures to add additional information resources to the library’s subscriptions. Currently, the HHSL has a list of materials requested by various members of our community (faculty, staff, and students) that exceeds $250,000 at this point in time. Requests for additional resources come in continuously from faculty within the College of Medicine Each year, the Collection Development and Digital Resource Management Librarian and the Director/Association Dean for Library and Information Services evaluate the requested items in light of the library’s collections budget and established selection criteria. Select additions are made as possible.

Discussion and Conclusion

This report highlights several very troubling trends.  The rate of increase in the cost of books and journal subscriptions continues to outpace both general inflation and the rate of increase of university funds budgeted to the library.  In the past, the library has been able to cover these costs by internal budget reallocations from other library expenses to the collections budget, but this will not be able to continue in the future to the same extent.  Future reports from the LIST committee, both informational and advisory/consultative, will present possible strategies to lower costs while retaining the quality of our library collections.


  • Roger Egolf, Chair
  • Eric Walker
  • Fred J. Aebli
  • Robert Bridges
  • Mary Beth Clark
  • Barbara Dewey
  • Joseph L. Enama
  • Matthew Krott
  • Michael Kubit
  • Anna L. Mazzucato
  • John Messner
  • Terry O’Heron
  • Barry Pawloski
  • Jacqueline Reid-Walsh
  • Jennifer Sparrow
  • Chelsey Wood
  • Eric A. Walker