It is interesting to see all of the enthusiasm for patron-driven acquisition, particularly in the area of ebooks. Among many academic librarians, there is a stated desire to move from a just-in-case mode of collection development to more of a just-in-time model. There were sessions on this topic at the LJ/SLJ eBook Summit and sessions are planned at Internet Librarian and the Charleston Conference. Many of the ebook vendors have announced support for patron-driven acquisition, with ebrary being just the latest to publicize a new offering.
Patron-driven acquisition could offer an opportunity for librarians to increase end user engagement and better understand end user needs. Many libraries are starting out cautiously, allocating only a small portion of their collection budgets to patron-driven purchasing to test it out and then they are planning to increase that allocation over time. This seems like the smart approach.
How should libraries be balancing just-in-time purchasing with more strategic decisions to prepare their collection for the future? I would be interested in hearing your views about how best to strike this balance.