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The View From Somewhere: Institutional Values in Collections Decisions

by | Nov 4, 2021 | 0 comments


Heather Howard, and David Zwicky Associate Professors, Purdue University Libraries noted that there is no doubting that the events of the past year have been a crisis. As we have conversations about our institutional values and ethical standards what do our partners in the publishing world value? A new strategic plan was developed at Purdue; we value: innovation, collaboration, ,agility, equity, stewardship, and service. We need to capture our institution’s values and translate them into a tool (a rubric) for making decisions about our library collections..

A values rubric does not stand alone.To use it, have a lot of conversations with vendors and colleagues which cannot be done alone.Here are some characteristics to be examined:

  • Innovation: align with our values, Get a demo of a new service. Talk to vendor representatives.
  • Collaboration: Does the vendor have a library or advisory board? Are they resistant to consortial negotiation?
  • Agility: We need flexibility. How did the vendor work with us during a time of crisis? Do they embrace new trends responsibly?
  • Equity: Accessibility, How are they treating their people? Have there been any egregious lawsuits? Check their annual reports and get a business librarian to help you.
  • Stewardship: Are price increases fair? How to they cope with library budget cuts? Is there transparency at the company? Are their salaries equitable?
  • Integrity and honor: What is their worldview? Are they improving their community?

A values rubric does not stand alone but is used with standard evaluation metrics. It is a conversation tool with both colleagues and vendors. Is this the type of information that a vendor would be willing to share with its customers? We should let the vendors know that these are things that we as their customers care about. Although we want our relationship with vendors to be a partnership. sometimes wehave to subscribe to something regardless of the vendor’s business practices.

Don Hawkins
Charleston Conference Blogger



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