Universities face fiscal crises and pressures to operate more efficiently. Many are adopting budgeting models, like Responsibility Center Management (RCM), or concepts borrowed from business, like Return on Investment. Accordingly, libraries are pressured to justify their budgets, including among other things funding to cover increasing materials costs, and must make the most persuasive and defendable arguments possible. In 2011, the University of Florida (UF) adopted RCM budgeting and financial management. The UF libraries entered RCM chronically under-funded and facing escalating materials costs. RCM was implemented at a time of severe university budget reductions, including steep cuts in state appropriations. The libraries had to develop effective methods for communicating its budget circumstances and what appropriate funding levels should be in order to adequately serve faculty, students and researchers.
The libraries have engaged in an ongoing analysis of how the resources of the libraries and the demands of the university compare to peer institutions using data from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and ARL Statistics. The data reflecting measures for library resources and university characteristics which influence the demand for library materials and services has been interpreted using numerous approaches including linear regression (with results with high correlation coefficients) and other statistical approaches. Through this process, we have provided stark evidence (and a compelling message) that there is a considerable and statistically significant gap between the scale of UF programs and populations and the resources of the library system which reflects a funding issue with negative impacts on the university community.
Attendees will be introduced to innovative analysis techniques which allow for a rationale examination of the comparability of library funding across institutions. These methodologies will be explained so that they can be readily adopted or expanded upon at the attendee's institution. Please reference http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00003851
for examples of the analyses.