Even though the article is about law librarians -- I think a lot applys to us non-legal types.
But as the libraries take on more businesslike tasks, they are also facing more businesslike challenges. According to the survey, the average law library budget decreased 3.5 percent in 2007, coming in at $4,251,627 -- compared with $4,408,242 in 2006. And only 45 percent of firms have more full-time library employees than they did two years ago. The average law library staff size is currently 19. Cost recovery has become more difficult, too, with clients increasingly demanding that online research tools be treated as overhead. But perhaps the biggest headaches are coming from the content providers, the vendors who sell access to electronic research tools. They continue to raise licensing fees, introduce new products and market their wares aggressively -- often directly to lawyers.
So librarians are spending an increasing amount of time vetting products, training lawyers how to use them efficiently (read: without running up the tab) and haggling over contracts. "Every vendor thinks we are a cash cow," says Carolyn Ahearn, director of library services at Wiley Rein in Washington, D.C. "But clients are balking at the costs. I've gotten much more unwilling to accept the offer the vendor puts on the table. Librarians are wising up that they can negotiate."...