Indiana Library Directors' Perceptions of e-Book Patron-Driven Acquistions


  • Robert Spencer Freeman Purdue University
  • Judith M. Nixon Purdue University
  • Suzanne M. Ward Purdue University


patron-driven acquisitions, e-books, pda, collection development, patron-initiated collection development, small academic libraries, library directors, Indiana, Academic Libraries of Indiana, ALI


A recent survey of collection librarians at large academic libraries with patron-driven e-book acquisition programs (e-book PDA) has shown that a majority of these librarians support the programs and believe that patrons choose good quality e-books that have higher circulation rates than e-books selected by librarians.  E-book PDA is becoming an increasingly common method of building digital collections in large academic libraries.  In smaller academic libraries, however, there are still relatively few e-book PDA programs.  To get some idea of how many e-book PDA programs there are in smaller academic libraries, to learn about the directors’ attitudes toward such programs, and to see whether attitudes vary according to the size of the institutions, the authors conducted a survey of directors of libraries in Academic Libraries of Indiana (ALI), an association of mostly small academic libraries.  With responses from 28 out of 73 ALI directors, the survey revealed that 82% (n=23) of the libraries do not have e-book PDA programs, even though 82% (n=23) of the directors, regardless of the size of their institution, have positive attitudes toward the propositions that patrons would choose good quality e-books that these e-books would likely circulate. Reasons given for the directors’ reluctance to pursue e-book PDA include the lack of time and of staff, concerns with the wide variety of ways e-books are accessed, and the resistance of some patrons to e-books.  The authors address these concerns and encourage smaller institutions to consider e-book PDA.

Author Biographies

Robert Spencer Freeman, Purdue University

Robert S. Freeman has worked at Purdue University since 1997, where he is a reference librarian and liaison to the School of Languages and Cultures and the Department of English. He has an M.A. in German from UNC-Chapel Hill and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Interested in the history of libraries and publishing, he co-edited and contributed to Libraries to the People: Histories of Outreach (McFarland, 2003). He recently co-edited a special issue of Collection Management (July-December 2010) on PDA with Judith M. Nixon and Suzanne M. Ward.

Judith M. Nixon, Purdue University

Judith M. Nixon received her B.S. degree in education from Valparaiso University (Indiana) in 1967 and her M.S. in Library Science from the University of Iowa in 1974.  She has held appointments as head of three libraries at Purdue University:  Consumer & Family Sciences, Management & Economics, and Humanities, Social Science & Education Library.  Currently she is the bibliographer and liaison to the College of Education.  She has publisher over 23 articles and 7 books.  Most recently her research has focused on evaluation of library science journals and patron-driven acquisitions (PDA). 

Suzanne M. Ward, Purdue University

Suzanne Ward holds degrees from UCLA, the University of Michigan, and Memphis State University.  She has worked at the Purdue University Libraries since 1987 and is currently Head, Collection Management.   Professional interests include patron-driven acquisitions (PDA) and print retention issues.  She has published two books and over 25 articles on various aspects of librarianship.  Her book Guide to Implementing and Managing Patron-Driven Acquisitions was published by the American Library Association in 2012.