2009 Michigan Library Association Conference Poster Presentation

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2009 Michigan Library Association Conference Poster Presentation

  1. 1. Strategic Content Negotiation for the Small Library Presenter: Sophia Guevara, Research Librarian, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Introduction With shrinking budgets, today's information professionals are pressed to make tough decisions when it comes to what resources they can afford to keep within their library collections. In order to make the most of one's budget, librarians need to understand what key questions, tools and data they need to bring with them to the negotiating table. By being strategic while negotiating with vendors, the information professional can improve the value they receive for their budget dollars. Preparing for the negotiation Knowledge and Tasks Connect with your users. Develop a list of questions to ask the vendor. Understand your library’s content and the format in which it is delivered. If the resource is electronic, connect with your IT department to see what the technological limitations are. Have a good understanding of what you must walk away with and what you are willing to do without. Identify alternative products and vendors when possible to give you a better bargaining advantage at the table. Understand the digital content life cycle: discovery, trial, analysis, selection, acquisition, deployment, promotion, usage study, continuation & alignment. Questions to Ask What is the interest level in this resource? If the product is fee-based, what is your budget? What are the expectations of your library’s users? Is there a trial available and if so, how is use counted? How often has it been suggested as an addition by your users? Is there a state library consortium that can provide your library with discounts? Is the content you are seeking to add already delivered by other resources in your current collection? If there are multiple sources for this content, what is the best way to provide the content to your users? While the provider may provide you with a special deal for the first year, will you get a shocking renewal bill next year?
  2. 2. Negotiation Knowledge and Tasks Keep your trial statistics with you. Take your ego out of the equation. Have information about the product with you. Provide the final negotiated contract to your legal department for review. Have a copy of the license with you along with other communications sent between you and the vendor. Understand that when a cash discount is unavailable, the vendor may be open to providing you with non-monetary incentives to close the deal. Questions to Ask Are your print and digital subscriptions tied? If you choose to cancel the print subscription, will this affect your digital subscription? Must access to the content be bought as part of a package or can it be individually purchased? Is there an option to purchase resources as a bundled packaged to negotiate a volume discount? Is it possible to negotiate a multi-year agreement that will save you and the vendor time and money? Is the vendor willing to add a trial of a new product or other throw-ins when a cash discount is unavailable? For vendor protective clauses, are they willing to reword the clause so that protection is extended to both parties? Is the vendor willing to limit damages to the amount of the contract if your organization runs afoul (not deliberate)? Is the access/pricing model something that will work for your library and users? If not, is the vendor willing to work with you? Will the provider agree to provide perpetual access to content already subscribed to even if a decision is made to end the subscription in the future?
  3. 3. After the negotiation Knowledge and Tasks Study your usage. Create a podcast advertising the new addition. Create a screencast to educate users on how to use the resource. Promote the content via your Library 2.0 sites, library website, newsletters, and handouts at the desk. Cultivate the relationship with the vendor and stay in regular contact with them—not just for problem resolution. Questions to Ask How is use counted? Does the content have a high cost-per-use ratio? Were you successful in making the content cross the user’s information-seeking path? If the usage has dropped but the fee has increased, how do you work with the provider in this case? How frequently did users experience problems accessing the content and how effectively did the provider respond? For subscription rate increases, have the provider explain how the increase is providing additional value to your users. Since your decided to acquire the content, have other options become available for delivering similar content to your users in a more effective or efficient way?

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