Libraries save money by working together

There is no doubt about it…it’s tough financial times at academic institutions around the country.  Fortunately, for many years libraries have worked in cooperation with each other to increase buying power and to save money for their parent institutions.  The UT Health Science Center Library belongs to three consortia that pool resources for their members in order to increase access to electronic books, journals and databases.

TexShare is a consortium of Texas libraries joining together to share print and electronic materials, purchase online resources, and combine staff expertise.  TexShare services are available to users of member libraries all across Texas.  The consortium is administered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC).  In fiscal year 2013, it would have cost the 644 libraries participating in the TexShare database program more than $59.5 million to purchase the electronic database subscriptions that were purchased by TSLAC for just over $5.4 million.  The UT Health Science Center Library spent $4,050 to receive databases including electronic journals valued at $224,811.  In addition to electronic resources, a TexShare card available at the library’s service desk allows faculty, staff and students from the Health Science Center to borrow books from many libraries around the state including UTSA and Trinity University.

The University of Texas System Digital Library (UTSDL) is a library consortium of the UT System’s nine academic and six health science institutions.  The consortium complements the collection strengths of each UT institution’s library with online scholarly resources.  UTSDL provides access to resources ranging from humanities ebooks to medical research journals. The UTSDL provides licensing services for electronic products and leverages group purchasing power in order to reduce costs across the UT System.  In fiscal year 2013, the UT Health Science Center Library as part of the UTSDL consortium spent $1,104,349 for subscriptions to electronic journals and databases resulting in cost avoidance estimated at $9,085,350 based on vendor list prices.  Journals published by Nature, Science, American Chemical Society, Elsevier, Wiley, Springer and many others are included in the UTSDL consortium subscriptions.

South Central Academic Medical Libraries (SCAMeL) is a library consortium of fifteen medical libraries across a five state region including Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.  SCAMeL provides licensing services through a joint effort provided by two member libraries.  Although this consortium does not provide cost avoidance estimates, libraries experience reduced subscription rates to electronic journals and databases that are highly specific to the health sciences.  Journals and databases published by BioMed Central, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., BMJ, ProQuest, and Nature are included in the SCAMeL consortium subscriptions.

As academic libraries continue to move forward with providing robust collections of electronic resources for faculty, students and staff, it will continue to be vitally important to work together to reduce costs by pooling librarian expertise and financial resources.