Sunday, July 15, 2007

W-2, Delivering the Goods: Effective & Efficient Acquisitions Processes

Saturday, July 14, 2007.
I have been an acquisitions librarian for a little over a year now. So I was a member of the Acquisitions Workshop on Saturday to confirm that I had learned a little something over the past year and to learn whatever I could about being a competent Acquisitions Librarian from here on out. I did indeed confirm that what I have been doing over the past year has been what others are doing, and I also learned quite a few things that I will take back and hopefully implement in my institution.
The Workshop started off with introductions by Lorna Tang from the Univ. of Chicago. Carol Nicholson, Univ. of N.C. was up first with an overview of what it means to be an Acquisitions Librarian, Collection Dev. Libn., Technical Services Libn. or some combination. She emphasized that the Acquisitions Librarian should be the one to delegate authority and duties for acquisitions work to others. This person should also be the one that faculty, firm partners, judges, etc. communicate with. The Acq. Libn. should be the one to work out problems.
Next on the agenda was Betty Roeske, Katten Muchen, with a perspective from a firm acq. libn.
The wonderful points I got from her were to create a generic e-mail account for internet updates, advertisements, etc. to come to rather than having it come to a real person that may leave or be out for a while. This account also lets you monitor e-mails or alerts that may be going to other people and determining if they are working. Betty also says what she does is create a serial record for all electronic products. This serial record is not for check in but for notes about license agreements, passwords, # of people allowed, when invoice is due. Any information that staff may need to monitor this electronic resource. I am definitely going home to implement this !!
Next up was Melody Lembke, Collection Mgmt Serv. Dir from LA. County Law Library. She was there to tell us all we needed to know about vendors and publishers ! Anyway, as much as she or anyone else knows about publishers on any given day !! One of her point of interests was that 80% of your material probably comes from the Big 3 publishers. You probably have just as much trouble with invoices, customer service, etc. with these 3 as you do with all your other hundreds of publishers in your vendor database. EDI invoicing is certainly a wave of the future and if all publishers can get with the program, then all of us should be willing to go that route to save time and be more efficient in our acq. process. Negotiation is really big issue today with publishers as it may never have been in the past.
After lunch, when people were trying to stay awake, Jim Mumm from Marquette Univ., regaled us with how to keep superb budgets and do wonderful reports and graphs for the higher ups that control the purse strings. The short and sweet explanation of what budgeting is: We don't know where we are beginning, we don't know where we are going to end, and you don't know what you will encounter along the way, but you must have a budget and strive for it to be balanced at all times. Quite an undertaking for anyone !! Jim also re-emphasized the 5 principles in the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers.
Richard Vaughan from Indiana Univ. told us all we ever needed to know about collection development and weeding. Put everything in your collection development policy that you might need to refer to later, such as what do we do about retaining those West annual pubs. now?, is a gift policy in your C.D. policy? Weeding should be routine and it should be for getting rid of old editions. De-selection is the process of cancellation for thing you no longer need.
The workshop was wonderful and TS has not had one since 1995. The theme of the day was DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. Keep paper, or computer, records of who asked for what, correspondence with the sales rep., the p.o., follow-up, e-mails about returns or claims, tracking info. for returns, etc. etc. etc. You never know when you might need some tiny little piece of the paper trail when someone asks you a question.
Hopefully, I learned a great deal, and will be able to put into practice many of the great things that these librarians had to impart to us. Thanks to each of them for putting on this great WS.
Look forward to a more complete description of this Workshop in the TS Newsletter in September.
Sue Burkhart, Technical Services Libn., U.S. Court of Appeals Library, 11th Circuit.

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