Whether on a campus or at the center of a community, a library always has one foot planted in the past with the other stepping toward the future. Libraries collect and share humanity’s most celebrated authors and thinkers from across the millennia, even as they search out new works and yet unknown voices.
A librarian’s work seems an almost monumental occupation, then, and the greatest obstacle to success is funding. Recent surveys find librarians struggling with resource limitations but remaining upbeat nevertheless. According to an annual survey conducted for the Publishers Communication Group (PCG), the consultancy arm of Ingenta, global institutional library spending is expected to rise a modest 1.4% in 2016. PCG interviewed senior librarians in 686 institutional libraries around the world for the survey.
“While a modest increase sounds like good news—and sure, it is better than the alternative—the survey revealed that overall, a sputtering global economy is still negatively affecting library budgets, reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.
US public librarians attending the recent BookExpo America, as well as their colleagues who responded online, also have told Publishers Weekly about their spending on books and other media. Nearly 40% of respondents said that their budgets increased over the last three years, thought 50% said their budget had remained flat.
“Public library budgets took a pounding during the Great Recession, so it’s not clear whether those libraries that are reporting budget increases have yet to return to pre-recession spending levels,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.