OUR LIBRARY has pioneered what we believe is the first program of its kind in patron-driven acquisitions.
One of the problems with most library collections is that although they may be extensive, they can never be complete. And when the patron requests books on a topic, for example, "theoretical experimental particle physics," although the library may pride itself on its exhaustive collection, with current on-demand and online publishing it can't ever call its collection complete. So when the patron is given ten current books on "theoretical experimental particle physics," it is still a common occurrence whereby the patron will respond with infantile disappointment.
So the current model of collection development is broken. Libraries can't ever hope to meet every need. We buy and buy, but it's never enough for some people. So our library has adopted a new model that reduces our inability to fulfill our patrons' requests down to nearly zero. If the material exists, we can get it.
Here is a typical PDA transaction at our library:
The patron has expressed a need for some online content and the librarian assesses the system requirements of the content and the system configuration held by the patron to verify a match. When a match is found, for example, an iPad, the librarian will initiate the purchase by locating the item in the app and downloading it to the patron's device.
"Enter your password."
"This is how it works. Just do it."
"Now tap that."
"And it's downloading to your iPad. And you can read it right now. Pretty cool, huh."
"But I didn't want to spend *my* money! That book was four *hundred* dollars!"
"But the library already spends your money through the taxes you pay. This is faster."
As you can see from the model, the patrons get what they want, when they want it, but the cost to the library has also been reduced to nearly zero.