Patron Driven Acquisitions: E-Book Purchases on Demand


indexIn the Fall of 2015, the College of Staten Island Library (CSI) launched a Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) project utilizing EBSCO’s e-book collections. This project, similar to CUNY’s in 2014, allows patrons of the library to make purchasing decisions with e-books based on their need. How does this work? First, a patron discovers an e-book title when searching the library catalog, CUNY’s OneSearch, or EBSCOhost’s e-book database. You will next be directed to the e-book, where you will be able to search, browse, print or download material. If the patron views the book for a certain length of time or shows another long-term need for continued access, the e-book is triggered for purchase. The purchasing happens behind the scenes without any interruption to the viewer. In other words, the patron will not see any change when the ‘preview’ e-book essentially becomes an e-book ‘owned’ by the library. It is a seamless and inconspicuous process for the patron who is now assisting in acquiring resources for the library!

Libraries have been using patron driven acquisitions since its launch a decade ago, but it has recently become a main-stream tool libraries are using to provide e-books based on the immediate needs of patrons. It is also a cost-effective tool for libraries because if the e-book is not triggered for purchase, money will not be spent. Likewise, if it is purchased, the e-book has a higher chance of being used since the original purchase was based on demand. Libraries are using patron driven acquisitions in different ways to build their collections. Most libraries are using it to build their collections alongside other means, i.e., librarian purchases or faculty requests. CSI Library’s PDA program will be best used on collection building for new academic programs on campus where the library’s collections may be limited. Above is an example of one e-book in the PDA project, added to help build the library’s East Asian studies collections. (It is important to note that e-book titles are vetted by CSI librarians before they are added to the PDA project.)

-Kerry Falloon