• When Special Librarians are permitted to control their total operating costs, they are able to make the wisest strategic and financial decisions. Many Special Librarians appear to have responsibility only for their direct material costs – i.e. the costs of purchasing publications, and paying for site licences etc.  But the total operating costs include a lot more items such as:
    • labour costs –i.e. salaries and labour associated overheads such as holiday pay, sick pay, superannuation, training, workers compensation, travel etc.
    • occupancy costs such as rent, electricity, telephone, IT, cleaning, maintenance

When Special Librarians have responsibility for total costs, they can assess where they can get the most bang for their bucks! Do they need more space or less space, do they need more staff or more staff training?  Do they need hard copy publications, or online services?   Often Special Libraries can appear to be very costly to financial staff because their occupancy costs are so high.  This is another reason to keep collections as small and as focussed as possible. There are many examples of Special Libraries reducing the size of their collections and the space they occupy and therefore their total costs and finding that their collections are seen to be more focussed and relevant and easier to navigate, and the total services are more cost efficient.

  • There should also be capital budgets to plan for upgrading expensive equipment.

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