Materials Budget Allocation and Collection Priorities

Each fiscal year, July 1-June 30, a portion of the Library's budget is allocated to the purchase and lease of new items. The following narrative describes the sources of funding for the books and materials budget, the budget approval process, the major budget categories and the many factors that determine the Library's collection priorities.

Sources of Funds

The Library receives annual funding for the purchase of library materials from the City and County of San Francisco's Library Preservation Fund. Other sources of funds include gifts, grants, and bequests, some of which are received from the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Responsibility for the Books and Materials Budget

Each year the City Librarian presents a proposed Library budget to the Library Commission. The Library Commission then approves a budget proposal which is forwarded to the Mayor. The Mayor presents a budget to the Board of Supervisors, which then approves the Library's budget, including the amount to be spent on materials. Allocations for the major categories of the materials budget are then determined by senior staff in consultation with division managers, subject to approval by the City Librarian. The selection of materials is coordinated by the Collection Development Office and Main Library staff.

Major Budget Categories

The major categories of the books and materials budget are books, electronic resources, periodicals (magazines and newspapers), standing orders (annuals, directories, etc.), books and materials in languages other than English, audiovisual materials, cataloging and processing services from vendors, and leased books and audiobooks.

Factors That Determine Collection Priorities

Many factors determine the Library's collection priorities. Among those (not in priority order) are:

  • Usage statistics, such as circulation, in-library use, database use, etc.
  • Public surveys
  • Demand
  • Community assessments
  • Consultations with staff
  • Changing demographics
  • Strategic Plan goals, if applicable
  • Rising costs
  • Recurring costs
  • Restricted grants
  • Library and societal trends
  • Format changes
  • Changes in technology for delivery of content
  • Collection capacity changes, including branch bond program facility plans
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