There are three main trends:
- a major increase in expenditure on digital publications – as one would expect
- a substantial increase in funding – which is quite surprising given the frequent complaints from the librarians
- a steady decline in the use of the physical library
Big and small
If we distinguish between various types of libraries, we find that
- large public and private doctoral institutions are growing
- small and medium-sized academic libraries fall behind.
Confirming previous studies, there has been an order of magnitude change in the expenditure of e-books and e-serials; but, contrary to the view of being fiscally restrained, libraries have received investments and increases of approximately 12 percent above inflation over the period with significant increases in nearly every area of library operation. Library staffing is being diversified, while use of physical library assets are in decline for every metric in the study—gate count, reference service, general and reserve circulation.
- John J. Regazzi. Constrained? An Analysis of U.S. Academic Library Shifts in Spending, Staffing, and Utilization, 1998–2008. Coll. res. libr. September 2012 73:449-468