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Yer doin it wrong: how NOT to interact with vendors, publishers, or librarians


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"Hey, large, multi-national STM publisher, why CAN'T I get your content for free?" "Little Lady, I'll just pat you on the head while ignoring everything you say." "But the XYZ consortium bought this without questioning why only pink-haired zebras are allowed to access the content." Sure, these are tongue-in-cheek characterizations, but these remarks are not too far off from what the presenters have heard or experienced over the years.

Please join these three nontraditional career path librarians as they candidly share how to communicate, interact, and negotiate with all constituents of the information resources chain. Learn why it is important to approach communication and interaction as a win-win synergy that can successfully create dynamic partnerships and, yes, even develop friendships with "the other side." Be prepared for a frank, open discussion where you may be surprised and even a little shocked at the turn interactions and negotiations have taken in the past. Please bring along at least one anonymous example of what you consider to be a poor interaction/communication in the past, from either side of the fence. We anticipate a lively and educational conversation!


Katy Ginanni
Collection Development Librarian, Western Carolina University

Anne McKee
Program Officer for Resource Sharing, Greater Western Library Alliance

Jenni Wilson
Sr. Library Sales Manager, SAGE Publications

Published in: Education
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Yer doin it wrong: how NOT to interact with vendors, publishers, or librarians

  1. 1. Yer Doin it Wrong: How NOT to Interact with Vendors, Publishers, or Librarians Katy Ginanni, Western Carolina University Anne McKee, Greater Western Library Alliance Jenni Wilson, SAGE Publications May 3, 2014 NASIG Annual Conference Ft. Worth, Texas
  2. 2. A. IS IT FAIR FOR LIBRARIANS TO: Give the business to whoever purchases new monitors/work stations for your library? (or to whoever wines and dines you the best?) Write and issue an RFP that is so narrow in its focus that all vendors know it was written for only one vendor in mind? Wait 9 months, 12 months, 20 months or more to pay an invoice? Not inform vendors/publishers promptly and honestly when a decision has been made to go to another publisher/vendor? Pull all business with a vendor/publisher if you do not like the sales rep (without at least giving his/her supervisor the opportunity to make it right with the library?) Not do business with a publisher/vendor because it is making a profit? B. IS IT FAIR FOR PUBLISHERS/VENDORS TO: Go over the head of a collection development or acquisitions librarian or other if he or she says no? To go the Dean, Provost, VP or even well-known alumni to get them to reverse the decision? Expect that all libraries and/or consortia will accept the same contract or license clauses just because one library or consortium did? Quietly allow non-members into a consortium deal without first asking the consortium’s permission? Try to guilt the library into doing business (“I’m going to lose my job if I don’t get this account”)? Donate to campus alumni or foundation to get business? Try to retroactively ADD OR CHANGE the contracts? Call and harangue the librarian for moving the business? MORE ▼ C: IDEAS TO SHARE:
  3. 3. For each license being negotiated, consider agreeing on expectations for all parties. Use wide ranging language when possible in order plan for future trends and technologies such as “utilizing prevailing technology of the day.” Write in concessions the vendor/publisher must make if they are delayed or late in meeting time obligations OR if a substantial amount of the content (such as 10%) leaves the database, journals package, etc. Encourage Use of SERU.
  4. 4. Yer Doin It Wrong: How NOT to Interact with Vendors, Publishers, or Librarians “Six Mistakes the Library Staff Are Making”, January 2, 2013, Rick Anderson on the Scholarly Kitchen ( “Six Mistakes Your Sales Reps are Making”, December 4, 2012, Rick Anderson on the Scholarly Kitchen ( “Serials Esperanto: Helping Librarians, Vendors and Publishers Understand Each Other”, NASIG Proceedings 2005 “How to be a Good Customer” Building and Maintaining Productive Relationships with Vendors, Rick Anderson and Jane F. White, NASIG Proceedings 2004 “One Hundred Percent Communication”, Mary Devlin, NASIG Proceedings 1999 Journal of Library Administration, vol.44, issue 3/4, 2006, also published as Library/Vendor Relationships (ed. Sam Brooks and David H. Carlson), Haworth Press, 2006. --“Introduction: The Importance of Open Communication Between Libraries and Vendors”, Sam Brooks. --“Managing Customer Relationships: A Book Vendor Point-of-View”, George Coe. --“Library/Vendor Relations from a Public Library Perspective”, Ronald A. Gagnon. --“Library/Vendor Relations: The APA Experience”, Linda Beebe. --“Library/Vendor Relations: An Academic Publisher’s Perspective”, Keith Courtney. “Libraries are From Mars and Vendors are From Venus? Understanding one another Better to Achieve Common Goals”, Charlie Remy, Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, v.25 Issue 3, 2013. Op Ed – “Ivory Tower vs. the Dark Side: A Rebuttal to ‘Joining the Dark Side’”, Katy Ginanni, Against the Grain, vol.24 Issue 6, 2012/2013. “Building Global Relationships: A Vendor’s Perspective”, Sean Smith, Information Outlook, vol.15 Issue 7, 2011. “Vendor Relations: Tales from a Vendee”, Julie Kitchen, Legal Information Management, vol.11 Issue 1, 2011. “Ethical Considerations in Library Vendor Relations”, Rebecca Blakiston, College & Research Libraries News, vol.71 Issue 8, 2010. “Happy Together”, Devin GawneMark and Sarah Nichols, AALL Spectrum, vol.13 Issue 4, 2009. Vendor/Library Relations, regular column in Against the Grain. ALCTS Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Group AALL Committee on Relations with Information Vendors