Preliminary Foreword

As we begin this effort, we want to establish our vision for its development and creation. Everything Nobody Taught You About Library Acquisitions Work is a passion project and a call for community.

For Starters

Nobody taught us how to do the work of acquisitions- we learned from veteran colleagues and from lived experience. We collected clues from vendors and from conference presentations. We combed old blog posts. We sleuthed and stumbled and developed an understanding. We found others in the midst of the same learning process and shared information through informal channels. While we acknowledge there is value to piecing together one’s own practice, we want to challenge the idea that it should always be as hard as it was for us.

There are many valuable texts on topics of eresource management and collection development, but none provides a commonsense framework that addresses the holistic work of acquisitions. This text is our response, an earnest attempt to assemble foundational knowledges in a usable format that addresses the day-to-day work and higher level issues of academic library acquisitions. It is a dynamic, community-sourced, Open Access primer that can be personalized to meet the needs of the user.

We resolved to assemble this modular text in no small part due to our own frustration at the absence of a comprehensive resource on the topic. White papers published by consulting groups and vendors, research papers published on niche topics with a focus on institution-specific findings, blogs that tackled theory but not practice — all are valuable but none address the holistic practice of library acquisitions. Having learned by doing and developed our own techniques, we are sharing our knowledge to move the collective conversation forward, elevating and making visible the practice of acquisitions. The only way to do that is to empower a community of practice and create a shared vocabulary and understanding.

To Build Together

We seek to raise the visibility of the work and awareness of its value in both the operations and aspirations of the modern library. Increasingly, library leaders are focused on scholarly communications, the process by which scholars share their research findings. The work of library acquisitions is inextricably connected to the practice of scholarly communications, and as practitioners, we have important knowledge and expertise to leverage in conversations about scholarship and sustainability. What we buy or make accessible matters, and how we acquire resources matters. As library leaders pivot to acknowledge that the effort of knowledge sharing must embrace the pursuit of equitable access to information, acquisitions experts have a crucial role to play.

This Library and Information Science (LIS) Open Educational Resource (OER) is designed to model sustainable scholarly communication. Made available openly, assembled as a set of modular texts rather than standalone chapters, edited by both acquisitions workers and current LIS students, this text provides a foundational resource that is community-owned and shared. We choose to apply our practical knowledge of the scholarly landscape by refusing to accept limits on distribution or access.

We choose to share our experiences and the relevance of our work, to open it up and make it transparent, because we believe there is greater value in expanding our community knowledge base than working in isolation. That requires that we work together to ponder our impact in scholarly communication on a larger scale, but this text embraces the practical, the every day, and the small.

In order to make progress and change, we need imbue our principles into our daily practice. In this text, we let the work make the structure. Each modular section can be read as a part of a full text but also can serve as a standalone resource. If your library is not ready for a regular annual review process for eresources, but you want to begin to explore metrics and methods for resource evaluation, you will find modules that outline steps and outcomes. Maybe your director wants to dive into Open Access and Open Educational Resources — you will find practical information on where to start. Each module is organized by work area, allowing for the reader and practitioner to learn, implement, and proceed to the next to-do-list item.

Our vision is a text that is what you need when you need it, infinitely customizable and scaled for immediate application in your workplace. You may be the only person doing acquisitions work in your library, but in this text we weave together the expertise of collaborators for you to call upon. Our hope is that this book empowers you to know that your practice is connected and supported by a vibrant and invested community.

In order for this vision to be realized, your participation is required. As you use these modules, consider and critique the content. What is missing? What would be useful? What is already out of date? Through the input and contribution of users like you, we can continue to refine and grow our shared knowledge base and elevate our practice.

Moving Forward

Within this text, you will find modular sections under topics that include, but are not limited to:

  1. Developing and Communicating a Materials Budget
  2. Major Actors in the Scholarly Marketplace
  3. Frameworks for Productive Collaborations with Staff and Faculty
  4. Evaluating Resources for Acquisition
  5. Reviewing Resources for Renewal
  6. Optimizing Consortial Memberships
  7. Collaborative Collection Development and Retention

With this text we seek center the library acquisitions conversation with those who practice it, developing a living resource for immediate use. Rather than continuing to rely on informal channels of knowledge sharing and white papers published by market actors, this approachable resource is about service and sharing, as library acquisitions always has been.

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