I concur on the valuable discussion so far, and I would like to suggest an
approach for justifying video expense at libraries across the board; one
that has worked well here at our library: de-emphasize the per title costs
and argue instead for funds as a percentage of the total acquisition budget.
There is no need to dream a target percentage. Use the circulation data at
your library. If, for instance, a library circulates a variety of media,
and 10% of that circulation is video, then request 10% of the acquistion
budget. Also use peer institutions for support (when the numbers will
help!) to make the case.
While this approach will seem simplistic to some, and perhaps unworkable to
others, it can and does work here. Logic is on our side. Time will tell
the difference. If you can make the administrative commitment to tie
acquisitions dollars to circulations numbers the rest is up to you. Be
persistent. Use real circulation numbers for real dollar requests. If your
percentage of circulations declines, so too your dollars. Increases in use
mean more funds.
As for the average price of video, we track it too (about $75 here) but I do
not use it in our request process - except to explain the range of price
difference that exists in the market. I hammer video vendors repeatedly on
the topic (they know who they are) but make no apologies for purchasing
expensive items IF the price is justified by its use.
This approach puts the pressure on us to perform. And it is a comfortable
position for video/av librarians. We know the value of our media and its
use relative to other library formats.
Loyola/Notre Dame Library
200 Winston Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21212