Initial CIBER study results on library finances presented at Charleston Conference

Results of CIBER study on library finances, presented by Mark Kendall of YBP and Christopher Warnock of ebrary.

These notes were done on the fly, forgive any typos.


  • 589 responses
  • 71% academic libraries responded – most in north america (was Mexico in the NA grouping?), 55% USA
  • 87% members of consortium

Financial outlook

  • 420 responses
  • libraries with budgets of less than 2 million were majority of respondents
  • budget reductions of 20% or more in most north american libraries
  • 40% believe this will be stable over the next year
  • non north american libraries were a bit more optimistic about budgets
  • 40-44% feel budgets will stand still (but they are not counting inflation as a factor)


  • 42% anticipate resource cuts (which trumps the stability reported above)
  • cuts in hours of operation was the main difference b/t north american (will cut hours) and non north american libraries

where are cuts most likely to fall – only 57 responses

  • reduced hours
  • building plans shelved
  • IT projects on back burner

are you planning to cut your resources budget over the next 2 years?

  • still too early to say was biggest response, but lots of pessimism in North America

where will cuts occur?

  • serials, paper only
  • academic monographs
  • print books
  • eBooks was the lowest are of cuts

how will we balance the budget, where will cutbacks occur

  • 23% staff
  • 40% resources
  • 35% staff

where to find additional funding

  • 48% within institution
  • 42% external funding
  • 10% charging for services

libraries feel that savings will occur by

  • 55% accelerating the shift to e-only and
  • 38% directing users to free electronic resources

Best way to balance the budget is to do things differently, look at the ways we approach our business and our libraries, and have greater library cooperation.

Looking forward – 356 responses

  • there is not strong agreement that the economy will improve in the next few years
  • library budgets will suffer but then recover
  • the downturn will focus library resources on the greatest return on investment, greatest value

ebrary and YBP with CIBER, will take this study to the next level – focus groups – in order to gather more data