Unisphere Research has been doing studies on library budgets and spending for the past few years. In a Friday afternoon session, Thomas Wilson, Unisphere’s president, presented recent statistics to a panel with real world experience in many spheres of the library market. The panelists, Dick Kaser (Information Today), David Lee King (Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library), Frank Cervone (Purdue University Calumet), Mike Diaz (ProQuest), and Joe McKendrick (Unisphere) reacted to the numbers, giving the audience their interpretations of what was behind Unisphere’s findings.
Not too surprisingly, King and Cervone had different approaches to the materials on which they spend money. Public libraries don’t buy scholarly journals; university libraries do. Both are interested in ebooks, but the type of titles are very different, with publics looking at popular fiction and universities opting for books that support the curricula. Diaz commented that libraries, at this point, often want titles both in print and as ebooks.
All agreed that cloud computing would have an enormous effect on library services going forward. The influence cloud computing would have on library budgets could depend on the size of the library and which services could migrate to the cloud.
It’s always interesting when statistical tables, which were the slides on the screen for this session, take on a life of their own as people explain them in the contexts of their working lives.