Outsourcing of the cataloguing function in the libraries

Short description of the problem: Outsourcing of the cataloguing function in the libraries to increase quality of the services and to decrease the costs of books cataloguing.
Country: USA
Type of local government: Town
Name of local government: Dayton
Years of operations: 1993 – present

Detail description of the problem

Low quality of library services, unsatisfactory and unsuitable books offer and other materials caused the pressure of the public on the town administration to solve this unpleasant situation. This happened in the time of budget cuts in the most areas in town´s responsibility what even worsened the situation that has already been bad. Moreover, there was a burden of overemployment laying on the libraries what led to even higher costs.

Detail descriprion of the solution strategy

The administration of Dayton together with The Wright State University Libraries pioneered contracting out of all of their cataloguing. This function was taken over by OCLC TECHPRO. OCLC TECHPRO is the company specialized in organizing and improving effectiveness of the library services including purchasing, cataloguing, shelving, processing etc. It concentrates on the problematic parts of the library system and its tailoring to meet special needs of each customer (either private or federal). In the case of The Wright State University Libraries, already functioning cataloguing program was to be completed, all backlogs should have been eliminated and all the materials catalogued in higher quality which requires special expertise.

Description of the results

Outsourcing saved the libraries about 230,000 in the first year, 63% of recent costs for cataloguing. In the same time, there was no job loss and the libraries were able to eliminate all backlog. The effectiveness of the costs allocation got better as in this new situation the management was forced to think twice about each dollar when time came to use it. With less money, the quality and quantity of the library materials significantly increased. TECHPRO, thanks to its technical capacities, is able to catalogue 2000 new titles every month.

Sources:
www.privatization.org

http://www.oclc.org/customcataloging/service/contract/

Peter Tóth

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