Five-Month Print and Electronic Patron-Driven Acquisitions Trial at a Large University Shows Circulation Advantages


  • Laura Costello



evidence summary


A Review of:
Tynan, M. & McCarney, E. (2014). “Click here to order this book”: A case study of print and electronic patron-driven acquisition in University College Dublin. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 20(2), 233-250.


Objective – To evaluate the effectiveness of the first patron-driven acquisitions program in the Republic of Ireland and determine the effects of this acquisitions strategy on circulation, budget, and collection development.

Design – Case study.

Setting – A large university on two campuses in the Republic of Ireland with a total of over 25,000 students.

Subjects – Patron-driven acquisitions including 1,128 electronic monographs and 1,044 print monographs.

Methods – The authors evaluated titles purchased during a five-month patron-driven acquisitions trial conducted in 2013. Patron-selected titles were compared to traditionally acquired (faculty and librarian-selected) titles acquired during the same time period based on subject area and circulation data. Results from the trial were also compared to a literature review of patron-driven acquisitions trials conducted at other institutions. Information on selectors was examined for patron-driven print acquisitions.

Main Results – The most frequently acquired subject areas included business, politics, English, drama and film, medicine, psychology, history, and law. These frequently acquired subject areas were consistent across print and electronic patron-driven acquisitions, traditionally acquired titles at the institution, and data from the patron-driven acquisitions trials of other institutions. Patron-selected titles in art history and architecture subjects showed a significant print preference over electronic. Patron-selected electronic titles were used 8.45 times compared to 3.27 uses for traditionally selected electronic titles. Patron-selected print titles circulated 1.32 times compared to 1.04 circulations for faculty-selected titles and 0.63 circulations for librarian-selected titles. For patron-driven print acquisitions, 63% of selectors were students and 37% were faculty and staff.

Conclusion – The trial was considered successful in circulation and subject area diversity. Subject breakdown for patron-selected titles was consistent with expectations and mirrored traditional acquisitions strategies and expected demand. Patron-selected titles showed a circulation advantage over traditionally selected titles, though this advantage was more significant for electronic titles. The library intends to continue with patron-driven acquisitions. Considerations for future trials, including higher quality and more selective discovery records for print titles, more informative marketing, and better timing, could improve results.


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Author Biography

Laura Costello

Head of Library Materials & Acquisitions Gottesman Libraries Teachers College, Columbia University




How to Cite

Costello, L. (2015). Five-Month Print and Electronic Patron-Driven Acquisitions Trial at a Large University Shows Circulation Advantages. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 10(3), 88–90.



Evidence Summaries

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