Patron Initiated Acquisitions:
An Overview
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• Where do you work?
• What is your position?
• After this class, you will:
• Know what types of data are used for decision making in a
patron initiated acquisitions program
• Understand the assessment of patron initiated collection
• Cite the positive and negative impacts of patron driven
acquisitions on collections
• Apply the ideas of model patron driven acquisitions
programs to your own program
• Understand how patron initiated acquisitions effects
different areas of the library
Why PIA?
• Technology makes it easier
Detailed resource sharing stats (WRS, ILLiad, etc.)
More advanced ILS reports
Collection analysis tools (WCA, IDS, etc.)
Easier to access cataloging records and update holdings quickly
• Greater potential for use
– Direct response to user need
– Move from “just in case” to “just in time” acquisitions
• Increase efficiency
• Deal with staff reductions
Who uses PIA?
• Libraries of all types
• Public
• Academic
• Special
Key goals of PIA
• Get materials faster
• Reduce the number of ILL transactions
• Save $$$
• Increase completion rate
• Increase user satisfaction level with service
• Increase viability of overall collection
Getting it in the queue: how
patrons ask for it
• Web or paper form submitted to library
• Faculty orders (academic libraries)
• Holds queue
Evaluation criteria:
Making the acquisitions
• Public Libraries:
“Purchase all”
Subject matter/appropriate to collection
How quickly can we get it via ILL?
Evaluation criteria:
Making the acquisitions
Academic Libraries:
• Most impose criteria—examples:
– Things that are “wearing out” ILL (series, papers, $)
– Items that can only be acquired via an international ILL transaction
– Language
– $$$
– Format
– Publication date (<5 years)
– Who requested it? Priority to faculty and grad students
– Its coming anyway (approval plan)
– Cannot be easily acquired via ILL; uniqueness
Measures of success:
public libraries
• Subsequent use (Circulation)
• Cost (vs. ILL)
• Fit
• Savings vs. ILL borrow
Measures of success:
academic libraries
• Objective:
• Turnaround time (vs. ILL)
• Cost (vs. ILL borrow)
• Subsequent use (Circulation)
• Administer collection surveys
Measures of success:
academic libraries
• Subjective:
• Review of purchases by faculty experts,
subject librarians, and/or bibliographers
Impact: ILL
• Increased workload added
• Workflows extended
• Closer ties to the acquisitions and
sometimes cataloging process established
• Updated training/cross training needed
Impact: Acquisitions
• Funds can be spent quickly!
• Funds may be spent unevenly across the
• Added struggle to balance the needs of
• Closer ties to ILL
• Changing workflows
• Cross training
Impact: public services
• Impacts how reference librarians may be
used as subject librarians
• Circulation statistics become an even more
important assessment tool
• Circulation of newly acquired materials may
well increase!
Case study:
large academic library
• University of Nebraska-Lincoln
• What they did:
– Managed a small purchase on demand program
out of the ILL office
– Over a 5 year period, acquired about 2 percent
of their collection this way
• What they learned:
– Found materials generally met the needs of their
patrons and circulated more frequently
UN-L: PIA purchase criteria
• Cost—Initially $75 limit, raised to $175
• Published in last 3 years
• No textbooks, popular lit, computer/lab
manuals, fiction, plays, etc.
Case Study:
smaller academic library
• Grand Valley State University
• What they did:
– Set up a 1 year patron initiated program in ILL
• What they learned:
– That PIA was a good complement to traditional
acquisitions, and 36% of the items acquired circulated
at least once more during the year. Titles were generally
appropriate, and in demand after purchase
GVSU: PIA purchase criteria
• In print monographs
• Published in the last 3 years
• $75 or less
• Used WCA ILL stats from previous year to set
budget for trial of $5,000
GVSU: assessment
• Took a few more and more interesting steps:
• Used OCLC® WorldCat Collection Analysis
– Generated a list of previous year’s ILL titles to check fit
and assess the viability of trial before going forward
– After the trial, used WCA to determine ownership of titles
purchased via PIA by peer institutions
Case Study:
public libraries-• Akron-Summit County Public Library (OH)
• With a well established selector program in
place, ASCPL decided to generate more user
involvement in selection of e-books
Public libraries
• e-books are a primary PIA target for public
• In high demand
• Vendors are creating use=purchase models
that help control costs and manage
Case study: Consortia-The IDS Project
• The IDS Project (NY) is working to create
many workflow efficiencies across multiple
public services (ILL) and acquisitions
• Technology is the answer…
IDS: What they have done-and made
available for you-free.)
• GIST (Getting It System Toolkit)
• Merges ILL and acquisitions processes in
one place
• System brings information like price,
holdings info, and review info together in
one place
Gifts and De-selection Manager
• Designed to allow staff to search by ISBN,
OCLC number, or title and get a quick
decision based on pre-set criteria.
Case study: Consortia-Orbis-Cascade Alliance
• 37 academic libraries in Washington State
• What they did:
• Created a patron driven electronic book purchase
• What they learned:
• It was economical to share the burden of e-book
collection development across 37 libraries and the
content they gained was well used.
Orbis-Cascade Alliance:
How they did it
All member libraries provided $$$
Collaborated with vendors—YBP and EBL to create access
Patrons select from a pool of books for use
Consortium is charged for patron use, then the e-book is
added to the consortium’s collection
• Many technical services workflows are automated
• Overview:
Ultimately, there are pros…
• Cost effective vs. ILL-not always cheaper-but
• Titles acquired often meet the needs of
multiple users/Good ROI
• Favorable patron response, creates
• Increases staff morale
• Increases efficiency
…and cons
• We write collection development policies for a reason!
• Librarian’s knowledge and key role—book selection
– We know collection priorities
– We are familiar with existing academic programs
• Collections could become too wacky
• Can be difficult and more expensive to set up purchase programs
outside of the traditional mode
• Patrons abuse the service
• Patron monopolizes the title (NO one could want this except me!)
Summary: How PIA
programs are assessed
• Circulation data—how often are items acquired this
way circulating?
• Fit--do titles fit our collection development policy?
Did peer institutions collect similar titles?
• Cost--when compared to the cost of ILL for the
same items, did we at least break even?
• ROI—if it costs more than ILL, are we still getting
more use out of PIA selected items?
Keys to successful implementation
• Assess potential impact on collections
– Review ILL statistics
– Set budget
• Start small and experiment
– Specific collection area
– Small % of overall collection
• Identify vendor partners that help the process
• Identify selection criteria
– $$$, material type, age, language, disciplines etc.
Assessing success
• Consider assessment measures—for your institution, what does success
with PIA look like?
– Did PIA acquired books circulate more?
– What was the cost? Does increased use negate the higher
price paid to get items on demand? ROI!
– Were PIA purchases in line with my collections policies, and
Similar to acquisitions by my peer institutions?
– Were my patrons pleased with the service? Did it increase
engagement and goodwill in a meaningful way?
• Most libraries are starting small
• 1-6 % of budget used for PIA
• Testing specific subject areas as a pilot
• Beyond that, there are some concerns about
• This works at 1%, but what about 50%?
• Doyle, G. Interviewed by Cory Tucker. (2011). Patron-driven acquisition –
Working collaboratively in a consortial environment: An interview with Greg
Doyle. Collaborative Librarianship 3 (4) 212-216.
• Fister, B. (11 November 2011) Problematizing patron driven acquisitions.
Library Journal Online.
• Nixon, J.M, Freeman, R.S. & Ward, S.M. (2010). Patron driven acquisitions:
Current successes and future directions [Special issue]. Collection
Management, 35 (4-5).
• Perdue, J., & Van Fleet, J. A. (1999). Borrow or buy? Cost-effective delivery of
monographs. Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Information
Supply, 9(4), 19-28.
• Tyler, W.C. “Patron driven purchase on demand programs for printed books and
similar materials: A chronological review and summary of findings.: (2011).
Library Philosophy and Practice.
• Tyler, David; Xu, Yang; Melvin, Joyce C.; Epp, Marylou; and Kreps, Anita M., "Just
How Right Are the Customers? An Analysis of the Relative Performance of
Patron-Initiated Interlibrary Loan Monograph Purchases" (2010). Faculty
Publications, UNL Libraries. Paper 230.
• Way, Doug, "The Assessment of Patron-Initiated Collection Development via
Interlibrary Loan at a Comprehensive University" (2009). Scholarly Publications.
Paper 5.
More Resources
• “The Scholarly Kitchen” <blog>
• “Off the Shelf” <blog>. Sue Polanka, “Patron
Driven Acquisition.”
Thank You for Attending!
• 1.800.999.8558, ext. 4916
• Email: [email protected]
We’d very much appreciate your thoughts
about the class.

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