ReseaRch libRaRy tRends: a histORical pictuRe Of seRvices, ResOuRces, and spending
SEPTEMBER 2012 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
The average ARL university library now spends more than 65% of its materials budget on electronic
materials and many ARL libraries report that they spent more than 70% of their materials budget on
Starting with the forthcoming 2011–2012 ARL Statistics, ARL is no longer collecting data on expenditures
for serials, monographs, or electronic resources specifically. The definitions shifted to capture one-time
purchases and continuing purchases (i.e., subscriptions) irrespective of the format of the publication.
Library budgets are increasingly shifting towards continuing purchases and collaborative collection
development, which is uprooting the historical model of the Alexandrian ideal of building large
collections accessible to a few select scholars. Easier access to information through the electronic
environment along with increasingly self-sufficient users (indicated by the rise in library presentations
and the fall in reference transactions) is democratizing access to information. How a research library is
to be defined in this environment remains an unanswered question. A potential answer may be in the
global impact a library and its parent institution are recognized to have as they produce world-class
learners, students, researchers, and citizens.
© 2012 Martha Kyrillidou
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United
States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/.
To cite this article: Martha Kyrillidou. “Research Library Trends: A Historical Picture of Services,
Resources, and Spending.” Research Library Issues: A Quarterly Report from ARL, CNI, and SPARC, no. 280
(Sept. 2012). http://publications.arl.org/rli280/.