May 26, 2022

Article (Preprint): "Constrained? – An Analysis of U.S. Academic Library Shifts in Spending, Staffing and Utilization, 1998-2008"

Direct to Full Text (23 pages; PDF)

Preprint: “Constrained? – An Analysis of U.S. Academic Library Shifts in Spending, Staffing and Utilization, 1998-2008”

Author: John J. Regazzi
Long Island University, Palmer School of Library & Information Science,
And Department Of Computer Science and Management Engineering

Source: C&RL (College and Research Libraries)


The study provides an analysis of U.S. academic library spending, staffing and utilization trends from data collected during the period 1998 and 2008. Data used in this study is part of the NCES biennial survey of approximately 3,700 degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Confirming previous studies, there has been an order of magnitude change in the expenditure of e-books and e-serials, but contrary to the view of being fiscally restrained, libraries have received investments and increases of approximately 12% above inflation over the period with significant increases in nearly every area of library operation. Library staffing is being diversified, while utilization of physical library assets are in decline for every metric in the study – gate count, reference service, general and reserve circulation. Academic libraries cannot be treated as a homogenous group of institutions, and the study analyzes shifts by type, size, and Carnegie class of institution, illustrating significant difference among these classes of academic libraries, particularly among large doctoral institutions and other academic libraries, with large public and doctoral private institutions driving growth, while small and medium sized academic libraries have fallen behind in both collections and staff investments.

This article was accepted for publication on August 31, 2011
It is scheduled for publication in July, 2012

Direct to Full Text (23 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.