Charleston Conference Reports compiled by: Ramune K. Kubilius (Collection Development / Special Projects Librarian, Northwestern University, Galter Health Sciences Library)

Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention,” Francis Marion Hotel, and Embassy Suites Historic District, Charleston, SC, November 4-7, 2009


Column Editor’s Note: Thank you to all of the Charleston Conference attendees who agreed to write short reports that highlight sessions they attended at the 2009 conference. All attempts were made to provide a broad coverage of sessions, and notes are included in the reports to reflect known changes in the session titles or presenters that were not printed in the conference’s final program. Please visit the Conference Website for presentation material (PowerPoint slides, handouts) and taped session links. The 2009 Charleston Conference Proceedings will be published sometime in Fall 2010. — RKK

Concurrent 1 — Thursday, November 5, 2009

Beguiled by Bananas? A retrospective study of usage and breadth of patron- vs. librarian- acquired ebook collections
Presented by Jason Price (Head of Collections, Claremont Colleges); John McDonald (Director, Information & Bibliographic Management and Faculty Relations, Claremont Colleges); Kari Paulson (President, EBook Library); Alison Morin (Accounts/Technical Services Manager, EBook Library); Sally Terbeck (Business Development Manager, EBook Library)
NOTE: Alison Morin and Sally Terbeck did not participate in this presentation, though Morin’s contribution of data to the study was acknowledged.

Reported by: Ava Iuliano (SLIS Student, University of South Florida)

Perhaps one of the most intriguing sessions, Price, McDonald, and Paulson delivered a cogent presentation regarding user-selected eBook collections as compared to librarian-selected collections. In a study of five libraries that had a mix of both user- and librarian-selected eBooks, data showed that user-selected collections were used more (about twice as much) by a wider audience than librarian-selected collections. Userselected collections were also as balanced as librarian-selected collections and contained as many scholarly texts. While the implications may point to the lack of need for librarians in selecting eBook titles, McDonald and Price were quick to point out that the primary issue is the lack of resources to devote librarians to eBook collection development. If user-selected collections are just as good as library-selected collections, perhaps the time can be put to better use, particularly when money and staffing is tight. Price, Paulson, and McDonald also pointed out that a mix of user- and librarian-selected eBooks seemed to work better than solely user- or solely librarian-selected titles. Also, considering that librarians select the platform and the collections that users can select from, user-selection may not be as much of a risk as generally considered after the sobering banana adage, in which users selected and bought every eBook with the word “banana” in the title. In the lively discussion that followed, it became clear that this session’s presented findings may have shocked some librarians in the audience.

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