County Examples & Solutions

Developing a Financial Book Purchasing Model for Public Libraries

  • Document

    Developing a Financial Book Purchasing Model for Public Libraries

    Wake County, N.C.

    Over several years, Wake County Public Libraries (WCPL) faced challenges with its book collection decreasing at an alarming rate. Factors affecting size included: a 50% budget reduction related to the economic downturn ($1.4 million); higher disposal rates due to age, damage to and relevancy of the book inventory; and spending plans based on circulation statistics and individual librarian experiences. WCPL reconsidered its approach to collection planning, budgeting, and procurement, developing a comprehensive, data-driven model that ensures the best use of resources. Additionally, the model facilitates improved communication with funders and supervising departments. Libraries assembled a team of varying backgrounds to develop a book purchasing financial model that generates a recommended spending plan for the fiscal year based on:

    • demographics
    • target collection size and composition
    • cost inflation
    • book disposal rates

    While the model was developed as a result of the economic downturn, the benefits are helpful in any economic climate. By utilizing a business approach, the data generated facilitates greater involvement and planning of library administration, and communication with the supervising departments and funders. The County’s budget office has reviewed the process and agrees with the principals/techniques. As a result in FY 2017 WCPL’s book budget was increased to $3.8 million.

    Ms. Elena M. Owens 
    Regional Library Manager

    Wake County, N.C.
    County Examples & Solutions

About 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work

Counties play an essential role in keeping America’s communities healthy, vibrant and safe. With public and private sector partners, we pursue innovative approaches to advance public health and well-being, protect public safety and foster economic strength and resiliency. Counties anticipate and adapt to challenges by thinking outside the box and demonstrating local leadership that makes a difference in people’s lives.

Under the leadership of NACo Immediate Past President Bryan Desloge, NACo embarked on an initiative to identify and share 100 examples of visionary county leadership that results in improving residents’ quality of life. Through this initiative, NACo worked with county leaders and partners to share best practices that bolster our nation’s ability to thrive county by county.

See All 100 Brilliant Ideas