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QandANJ Fact Sheet

Last year's NJLA survey showed NJ librarians' priorities were databases, ILL/delivery and Per Capita State Aid. On that survey, QandANJ was a lower priority. The State Library would very much like to continue programs like QandANJ, but our priority is to keep local libraries strong in hard times.

We don't know what cuts the final state budget might bring on June 30, but we do know we are losing $357,473 in this year's federal LSTA money – which funds QandANJ. The QandANJ fixed costs are $300,000 annually. Seven of the 51 libraries participating in QandANJ are on hiatus due to staffing shortages and budget cuts.

Shutting down QandANJ was discussed last year with NJLA, the statewide budget task force, Infolink and the SJRLC executive director. Because NJLA based the South Jersey Works grant on having QandANJ, the program was kept one more year until the grant year ends on June 30, 2011. We wanted to wait as long as possible to see if there was federal funding to continue QandANJ. When we realized there wasn't enough federal funding to continue the program we couldn't immediately discuss this with the library community because LibraryLinkNJ requested a three-month block of time starting April 1 to confidentially speak to program participants and conduct an orderly shut down of the program. Had we heard from the federal government sooner there would have been a larger window of time and we could have held discussions, but that was not the case.

Usage Statistics

Year General Questions Academic Questions
2005 54,604 7,094
2006 54,696 6,500
2007 30,717 (restricted to NJ residents) 4,666
2008 34,488 5,081
2009 34,111 4,694
2010 26,447 3,614
2011* 6,244 (annual projection 24,976) 770 (annual projection 3,080)

*NOTE: Statistics are kept on a calendar year, so 2011 statistics reflect activity from January through March 2011 only.

The latest OCLC Perceptions of Libraries 2010 survey shows minimal growth of ask-a-librarian sites and that the public prefers to consult subject experts online or Google questions on their mobile devices. Only 1% are starting their searches on library websites. Usage statistics of QandANJ seem to bear this out.

Due to the total elimination of state funding for Virtual Library and NJKI in FY11, more federal resources have been directed to paying for databases than in past years. The following chart shows how databases have been funded over the past three years, as well as an estimate for next year. One million dollars more of federal money will be needed in FY2011 than in FY2009 for databases. FY12 will require even more federal dollars. So the choice had to be between RefUSA/EBSCO or QandANJ.

Increase of Use of Federal Funds for Databases

Funding Source FY09 (Actual) FY10 (Actual) FY11 (Projected) FY12 (Estimate)
Library Network $588,813 $520,000 $544,500 $350,000
Virtual Library $650,000 $353,000 $0 $0
NJKI $1,354,729 $1,194,793 $0 $0
Federal LSTA $854,083 $1,247,679 $1,994,238 $2,066,565

 

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