Ten Year Trends

Budgets | Circulation | Materials | Interlibrary | Recruitment | Space | VIVA

Institutional Changes and Flat Budgets: During the period 1990-91 to 1999-2000, JMU went from an enrollment of 11,011 with 472 faculty to a student enrollment of 14,961 with 934. The University's total Education and General (E & G) expenditures more than doubled, going from $62,435,351 in 1990-91 to $126,890,886 in 1999-2000. During the same period the library's annual expenditures rose from $3,043,821 in 1990-91 to $4,292,850 in 1999-2000, a 29 percent increase. The percentage of the Libraries overall expenditures as compared to total University E & G expenditures slipped from the 1990-91 high of 4.88 percent to 3.3 percent.

During the decade, the percentage of the Libraries budget devoted to materials increased somewhat from 26 percent in 1990-91 to nearly 33 percent in 1999-2000. During 1996-1997, a year that saw a one-time increase in the materials budget, materials expenditures represented nearly 38 percent of the total library budget.

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Trends in Circulation: The availability of the Internet as well as online databases and journals for research is having an impact on traditional library resources. Circulation reports from the Libraries' online system, which was implemented in 1995, show a decline of about 15 percent in initial checkouts since the high of 128,350 in 1996-97.

Likewise, Current Periodicals circulation also experienced a precipitous drop in the final years of the decade. Circulation spiked in 1997-98 at 46,042, but by 1999-2000 had dropped to 24,581, a decline of 87 percent. This dramatic shift in use may be caused by the availability of journals online or in full-text databases, or may caused by the changing nature of class assignments. As electronic journals become more available in future years with a corresponding reduction in the Libraries' print journal collection, we assume this decline in circulation will continue.

The chart below provides a dramatic picture of how the use of course reserves have changed over the decade. Early in the decade, faculty relied heavily on course reserves as a way of providing course materials, but the 1990s saw a steep decline in such use, possibly due to use of coursepacks to provide supplemental materials. Closed reserved dropped from 61,699 in 1990-91 to 27,515 in 1999-2000. In 2000, CourseInfo/ Blackboard course management software became available to faculty. Early use of the software has shown that its use is not limited to distance education classes, but is being used primarily to supplement traditional courses. As faculty become more familiar with the software in the coming years and utilize its capabilities for posting course materials, it is likely that closed reserves circulation will drop dramatically. Along with the reduction in current periodicals circulation, this is another reason to evaluate the need for a Current Periodicals desk as a service point. It's likely that in future years librarians will work together with Center for Instructional Technology staff to ensure that links to library services and online resources are available on the CourseInfo/Blackboard interface. CourseInfo may also open up new instruction opportunities for liaison librarians


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Cost of Materials For libraries, the 1990s brought the full development of the crisis in scholarly communication, with spiraling inflation of 10 percent or more per year for journals. Cost increases were most noticeable in the sciences' high-cost journals. The average cost the JMU Libraries paid for a journal doubled over the decade, from $171.40 in 1990-91 to $345.46 in 1999-2000. In fact, this latter figure actually reflects a slight drop since many high-cost titles were cancelled in that year as a result of the Journal Review. The highest average cost peaked in 1998-99 at $371.08. The average cost for standing orders also nearly doubled, going from $140 in 1990-91 to $267 in 1999-2000. As the chart below shows, the average cost for a book remained steady throughout the decade at around $35. While book prices increased slightly throughout the decade, the JMU Libraries implemented a policy of buying paper editions of books whenever possible, thus holding down local average costs.

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Interlibrary Loan: The fluctuations in Interlibrary Loan (ILL) borrowing reflect various developments in JMU collections and user needs across the decade. Overall, book borrowing has remained relatively steady, with a low of 2,002 in 1991-1992 to a high of 3,765 in 1999-2000, but demand for photocopies has varied due to several factors. Document Express, a cooperative arrangement with the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Commonwealth University that guaranteed 48-hour turnaround of photocopied articles, was implemented in Fall, 1991. Photocopy borrowing increased under this arrangement, peaking in 1993-94 with over 12,000 photocopy requests. Document Express proved to be an effective collection development tool, as well. As frequently requested journal titles were identified and added to the collection, and the number of borrowing requests dropped. However, another dynamic was taking place: as VIVA provided access to online bibliographic databases, and as local funds were freed to purchase more online resources, demand for articles in journals outside the Libraries' collections again increased. It is likely that the demand for photocopies will decline in future years as the Libraries increase their holdings in electronic journals and full-text databases. How quickly the decline will take place depends primarily on market forces and the depth of online backfiles that e-journal publishers and distributors will provide. Book borrowing will probably remain steady, barring any large increases or decreases in future book budgets.

Interlibrary loan lending has increased at a fairly steady rate throughout the decade from 5,144 in 1991-92 to 8,402 in 1999-2000, an increase of almost 40 percent. In 1999-2000, JMU was the sixth highest lender of books in the VIVA consortium, ranking below five doctoral institutions. Even with its relatively small journal collection, JMU is also a major lender of articles. In fact, for most of the decade the number of photocopies exceeded the number of books provided annually to other institutions. It is likely that other institutions' increased holdings of electronic journals and full-text databases will reduce the number of lending requests for articles in future years. The reduced journal collection resulting from the Journal Review, and the transition from print to online subscriptions may restrain JMU's ability to respond to lending requests. The license agreements for some electronic journals now limit copying for interlibrary loan use. Barring any large fluctuations in the book budget, book lending is likely to remain steady.

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Recruitment and retention of staff and student workers: Due in part to market forces and location, hiring and retaining qualified staff, especially those with desirable technological skills, has been a challenge. At the end of the year, the Libraries had three vacant librarian positions, or a vacancy rate of over 16 percent for librarians. The steady-state student assistant budget means the Libraries continue to have difficulty in hiring and retaining student workers. Because of increased daily responsibilities for staff in covering for vacancies, it is a greater challenge to take on special projects or keep up with trends and changes in technology in the library field. Technologies the Libraries have utilized to increase services to users, such as Illiad and Go for the Gold programming and maintenance, already consume significant automation personnel resources. Further advances, such as online journal access and maintenance, active server pages for the Library web, or a new integrated library system may require a shift in staff resources. Not only with the Libraries need to promote ways of attracting new staff with technological skills, but staff development opportunities are needed to train current staff in emerging technologies.

Full-time librarians 14
Full-time professional 2
Tenure/tenure-track 10
One-year 3
Vacant full-time positions 3
Part-time faculty 1

Support Staff:
Full-time 31
Part-time 13

(based on the number of persons employed as of June 30, 2000)

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Space for Collections and Users: Projections indicate that stacks in Carrier Library will soon reach capacity, even with flat book budgets. The number of book and bound journal volumes has increased by 20 percent since the Libraries' last major addition in 1994. User space is also increasingly inadequate. The student population has increased by over 20 percent since the 1994 addition. The current non-workstation seat count is less than 900. ACRL guidelines recommend a study seating capacity at 25 percent of a student population for a residential campus and 20 percent for a commuter campus. Current seating in Carrier Library is at only six percent of the student population.

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VIVA Database Use The JMU Libraries' success in providing access to electronic versions of indexes and abstracts and offering new full-text resources to users during a decade of flat budgets is primarily a result of participation in VIVA. The Libraries were able to cancel local subscriptions to some print holdings (for example Academic Press journals, Project Muse journals) and use the savings to provide new resources to the JMU community. As an indication of the growing importance of online resources during the decade, the number of electronic titles in the collection increased from 28 CD-ROMs in 1994 to over 9,000 titles in 2000. This includes individual Chadwyck-Healey poetry and drama titles made available through VIVA. Use statistics from VIVA databases reveal that JMU is a strong user of scholarly resources. In fact, JMU's use levels for several databases are comparable to those of doctoral institutions. This is attributable to JMU's relatively large enrollment, but also to the intensity of liaison and library instruction programs. Comparisons of annual use statistics across institutions for three VIVA resources, Academic Press and Project Muse online journals, and the IAC Expanded Academic database, are shown below:

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