Primary Research Group has published Research Library International
Benchmarks (isbn 1-57440-101-3). The 200-page study is based on data from
45 major research libraries from the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, the
UK, Italy, Japan, Spain, Argentina, and other countries. The report
presents a broad range of data on current and planned materials, salary,
info technology and capital spending, hiring plans, spending trends for e-
books, journals, books and much more. Provides data on trends in personnel
deployment, discount margins from vendors, relations with consortiums,
information literacy efforts, workstation, laptop and learning space
development, use of scanners and digital cameras, use of RFID technology,
federated search and many other pressing issues for major research
libraries, university and otherwise.
Just a few of the reports many findings, presented in more than 500
For 27.45% of the libraries in the sample, spending on salaries and
benefits had declined in real terms over the past two years (from staff
reductions, pay reductions in real terms or a combination of these
Somewhat surprisingly, most libraries in the sample said that their
capital budgets had either decreased or remained the same over the past
three years. Only about 29% of the libraries in the sample said that
their capital budgets had increased in the past three years and only 5.88%
said that their capital budgets had increased significantly.
Nearly 37% of the libraries in the sample increased spending somewhat on
maintenance of IT equipment stock, while only 12.24% reduced such
spending. A shade more than half held such spending constant over the past
Mean spending on materials/content by the libraries in the sample was
approximately $4.25 million, with a median of $1.91 million. Mean spending
for the university libraries in the sample was $5.47 million. The nominal
increase in materials spending this year for the libraries in the sample
Spending on e-books by the libraries in the sample was a mean of $150,086
in 2007 with a range of “0” to $2 million. More than 60% of the libraries
in the sample plan to increase spending on e-books over the next two
years, while less than 7% plan to decrease e-book spending.
Only 13.46% of the libraries in the sample had received grant support from
a federal government in the past year. Data were similar for U.S. and non-
53% of libraries in the sample said that they would be not be digitizing
much of their general collection of out-of-copyright books, and nearly 35%
said that they had no plans to extensively digitize any of their
More than 57% of the libraries in the sample have not altered the number
of positions in their Special Collections Divisions in the past three
years. About 22% have decreased the number of positions and 20% have
increased this number.
There was little change in the number of employees devoted to library
security but some increase in personnel in library facilities management.
University libraries were most likely to increase employment in library
facilities management. The largest libraries had the greatest tendency to
increase employment in this area, and nearly 40% of those in the sample
had done so in the past three years, while about 54% maintained personnel
levels and only 7.7% decreased employment in this area.
Nearly 21% of the libraries in the sample have decreased their overall
number of subject specialists over the past three years, while about 11.5%
have increased this number. Nearly 31% of the largest libraries have
decreased their total number of subject specialists.
Far more libraries in the sample plan to increase than decrease spending
on PCs and workstations, suggesting the hope that increases in spending on
laptops by libraries, and by their patrons, might lead to lower investment
levels in traditional workstation technology.
44% of large research libraries plan to increase spending on outside or
outsourced Web design, evaluation and consulting, but most smaller
research libraries plan to hold such spending constant.
More than half of the libraries in the sample spend less than 10% of their
staff time on information literacy issues. 19.5% spend from 10% to 20% of
their staff time on these issues, and 12.2% respectively spend from 20% to
30% and 35% to 50% of their staff time on these issues. Only 2.33% spend
more than half of their staff time on information literacy issues.
A mean of 21% of the articles obtained by the libraries in the sample from
other institutions come from the digital repositories of these
institutions rather than from traditional inter-library loan channels.
The average discount from list prices that the libraries in the sample
received from their book distributors for reference books was 11.9% with a
range of “0” to 30%. U.S. libraries received nearly 3 times the discount
of non-U.S. libraries, a mean of 15% to only 5.67% for non-U.S.
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