In 2000, Chicago State University hired a new dean who came in the position and discovered, beside the budget crisis that the library had been having for many years back, he also realized that there was no formal system of distributing the small budget the library received every year for acquisitions of materials for the various discipline on campus. The money was divided out on the first come first serve basis until it was all used up. There were specific allocations made if a college was starting a new program or going up for accreditation. In terms of resources, he noticed that some areas were not receiving the financial attention needed for well rounded programs. That was when he decided to develop a formal way of equitably allocating budgets for acquisition of library resources, now known as the “Algorithm." Although sometimes referred to as a matrix, this spreadsheet of formulas shows variables and the distribution amongst the various subject selection areas.
As the Acquisitions Librarian and the Chair of the Collection Development Committee, some of the selectors express dissatisfaction with the algorithm set up, want an open discussion on how to improve the way the formulas are set up or remove some of the variables used. There is a feeling amongst some of librarians that some variables included in the algorithm contribute to an unfair distribution of funds. I want this to be a discussion of the methods of acquisition budget distribution for library materials. I want to see if other libraries are satisfied with their methods of budget distributions and what are the methods they use.