Toward a Formula-Based Model for Academic Library Funding: Statistical Significance and Implications of a Model Based upon Institutional Characteristics

Frank R. Allen, Mark Dickie


This study tests the hypothesis that a positive relationship exists between academic library funding (dependent variable) and selected institutional variables taken as indicators of the demand for library services at the university (enrollment, number of doctoral programs, doctoral degrees awarded, number of faculty, select other institutional characteristics). The research employs 11 years of longitudinal data from 113 members of the Association of Research Libraries to create a multiple regression model. Empirical results indicate that operational indicators of the demand for library services are positively associated with funding, and most of the associations are statistically significant at the five percent level or less in two tail tests. In a corollary finding, libraries associated with private universities in the United States spend 21 percent more than their public counterparts, while Canadian university libraries spend 21 percent less than U.S. public university libraries. The presence of a medical school is associated with an 8.6 percent greater expenditure, and the presence of a law school is associated with a 12.3 percent greater expenditure. The study suggests that this formula may be useful as a tool for library funding and assessment of adequacy of library budgets.

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