Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Budget preparation for hospital librarians - a post by Michele Matucheski

What tools do you use to plan Hospital Library Budgets?  

In the September 2016 issue of MLA News, I was reading Angela Spencer’s brief article about Hospital Library Budgets, entitled “Budget shouldn’t be a Bad Word.”   She raised some good questions about Budget Planning for Hospital Librarians, wondering how we do it if we didn’t learn this stuff in Library School, and there seems to be very little written about it?

I’ve been a Health Science Librarian for almost 20 years now.  I’ve been contributing to budget preparation since 2007.  Since that time, I’ve developed several tools to help with budget preparation.  I don’t actually plug the numbers into the budget planning program – that’s usually left for a higher-up (non-Library) manager who counts on me to give them the data and the numbers I anticipate needing in the coming year for renewals and expenditures. 

  1. Cost-per-Use Study of our databases and electronic products.   Cost-per-use is the annual cost divided by the usage (annual stats, usually supplied by the vendor).  This annual study goes a long way to helping me make informed decisions about what I should be making a case for, and what I can let go of … and sometimes what I may need to promote more.   I put it on a spreadsheet with columns for several previous years, so it’s easy to compare how the annual prices have increased, and how usage has kept pace, or not.
  2. Electronic Products Spreadsheet     I also keep a separate spreadsheet of those big ticket annual purchases – mostly the online databases, and eJournal packages, so I know what we’re spending overall, when they come due, and how it adds up through the year.    This way, the spreadsheet easily tabulates the totals for me, and I can easily keep track of how much I should have left in our budget for the year. 
  3. If we have multi-year contracts for the databases, it can make the annual price increases more predictable, and even cap them.  
  4. Ebsco and Mathews Medical Books also produce annual reports about price increases for Journals and health science books, respectively.  Although I hang onto these and keep them in my back pocket to justify price increases, the higher-ups usually don’t care to see these reports.  

Every time I renew a database, or online resource, I usually have to make a business case about why we need it.  The cost-per-use data comes in handy there in 1) showing that it’s being used, and of value to our Physicians and Nurses and staff and 2) so that the powers-that-be know that I’m keeping tabs on that info.   I usually include the % of price increase over the previous year, and a bit about how these resources are needed by our Physicians and Providers to make informed decisions related to patient care …

Here’s a sample :  
Cinahl FullText
We planned for this renewal in the 2016-17 Fiscal Year Library Budget.

This renewal price reflects a 5% price increase over last year amounting to $XXX.  

Business Case :
  • This Library database indexes the nursing and allied health journal literature.  It also includes some full-text journals.  It integrates nicely with the point-of-care tool Nursing Reference Center, but does not duplicate content.  
  • This resource is needed by our nurses and allied health professionals to make informed decisions about taking care of our patients, running hospitals, and clinics, best practices, updating standards and policies, management issues – among many other questions that come up.   It contributes to Healthcare that works -  is safe – and leaves no one behind.    It contributes to our evidence-based practice offerings.  

2015 Usage Stats
  • $1.69 / search
  • $3.93 / session
  • $5.37 / article     

Anyway, I hope this helps sort out how Hospital Librarians plan their budgets.   I’d love to hear what other tools WHSLA Members use to prepare their budgets …


Michele Matucheski, MLS, AHIP
Librarian – Ascension Health Wisconsin
Ministry Health Care / Affinity Health System
Office at Mercy Medical Center
500 S. Oakwood Rd.
Oshkosh, WI 54904
t: 920-223-0340

 One Mission. One Integrated Ministry. One Ascension.
Visit our Ministry Library LibGuides  http://ministryhealth.libguides.com/

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