Sample # 1 - Budget Allocation Criteria in Collection Development

The major unit of collection analysis is and will continue to be academic program within academic departments. Allocating the Libraries' materials budget to departments has evolved by what is called "The Historical Method" in Guide to Budget Allocation for Information Resources, p. 9 (produced by the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services of ALA in 1991). It is remarkable that this method has thus far produced allocations which fit as closely as they do the relative costs of available academic books discipline by discipline. A Table in the Appendix attests to this. If one compares the cost breakdown of books reviewed in CHOICE in 1991 with departmental allocations for the 1990-91 fiscal year, one will see a close, albeit coincidental, correspondence. Nevertheless, a more systematic approach to allocations is worthy of consideration and a serious review of formula-based allocations is in process. Some criteria of potential importance in a formula developed to apportion book and/or serials funds department by department are:

  1. The status of degree programs at baccalaureate and graduate degree levels as enunciated in Western XXI. See the Appendix for a listing of these priorities.
  2. The number of students instructed in lower-division, upper-division, and graduate-level courses as measured by student credit hours at those levels.
  3. The number of majors enrolled or degrees granted.
  4. The number of Full-time Equivalent faculty.
  5. The estimated cost of current publications available by discipline which are appropriate to Western curricula and research foci.
  6. The collecting intensity emphasis as stipulated in the collecting level codes reported for programs in the departmental profiles. See Collecting Level in the next section for explanation of these codes.
  7. Some measure of use of the collection, e.g., circulation of books by Library of Congress Class of book circulated. This measures collection use, not collection users, however.

From: Western Kentucky University Libraries Collection Development Statement


The procedures used for the allocation of the budget are as follows:

  1. Obtain from Administrative Computing a report for the current academic year on the number of classes (not sections) scheduled for each quarter by level and department.
  2. Add the number of classes by level for Fall, Winter, and Spring terms for each department to arrive at total annual course load.
  3. Weight the number of classes by multiplying the total number at each level by the factors specified below:

    Lower-division: Multiply by 1
    Upper-division: Multiply by 1.25
    Graduate: Multiply by 1.5

  4. Add the total number of unweighted and weighted points for each department.
  5. Use the annual CHOICE compilation (March) of average book prices by subject to calculate the average book price; use the annual Publishers' Weekly September issue to verify the CHOICE listings.
  6. Assign plus and minus point values to reflect prices above and below the average prices for books in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. For example, art books cost more on the average than the most recent average price for all books in the humanities. Therefore, more points need to be added to art in order to ensure that more money is allocated. The average price for books in English language and literature is less than the average price for all books in the humanities. Therefore, some points need to be subtracted from the totals for English language and literature.
  7. Add weighted point values representing classes taught in each department (from #4 above) and the plus or minus point values reflecting average book prices in that subject area (from #6 above).
  8. For a variety of reasons (new degree programs, accreditation requirements, gaps identified during inventories, major weeding efforts in a subject area, shifts in the topics and levels taught), some subject areas may need a temporary boost in the amount of money spent. Those areas may be targeted for a dollar amount higher than the above formula would allow. Consult the subject selector for information about those anomaly cases, assess the need, and assign arbitrary point values to the department's total points to reflect the degree of need and the time frame established for improving the collection in that area.
  9. Add all of the departments' final totals to get the total number of points for all departments and subject areas.
  10. Calculate the departments' percentages of the total number of points.
  11. Multiply the departmental percentages times the total amount of money available in the monograph (GB-General Books) budget; communicate those amounts to the subject selectors and to Technical Services for entry into the MATSS acquisition system.
  12. Once they have received dollar amounts for each of their subject areas, selectors are free to decide about how the money will be spent. They are encouraged to use the established collection development levels, their knowledge of each subject area and the corresponding collections, and the information provided by the faculty, as well as other factors, in determining what kinds of materials and how many to purchase.

From: Western Oregon University Collection Development Policy