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Joint cost-savings effort at D’Azzo Research Library saves more than $380,000

Dwight Goforth, a library technician at the D'Azzo Research Library, places books back into circulation. Today, the library includes more than one million items. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bryan Ripple)

Dwight Goforth, a library technician at the D'Azzo Research Library, places books back into circulation. Today, the library includes more than one million items. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bryan Ripple)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Thanks to a joint effort between the staffs of the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Academic Library and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Technical Library – who together form the D’Azzo Research Library, AFIT students and faculty and AFRL researchers now have access to hundreds more journal titles, conference proceedings and eBooks.

In 2016, Dr. Ellis Beteck, AFIT Library Director, and Annette Sheppard, AFRL Library Director, formed a Joint Purchases Task Force to review subscriptions from both libraries. The focus of the task force was to build a bridge between AFIT and AFRL to increase buying power by combining orders for library services, materials, and equipment in order to achieve better pricing and realize savings than what the AFRL and AFIT libraries were achieving separately.

The group of librarians evaluated the subscriptions from each library looking for opportunities for collaborative purchases that would eliminate duplication of service, but at the same time enhance access to online resources. Working with the task force members and base contracting, the directors were able to secure collaborative purchases for more than 23 databases and journal collections at a cost savings of more than $382,000 for FY17. Both libraries also now use a resource called EZ proxy that allows library users to register for a login that provides them with access to all of these resources when they are on their own laptops, off campus or TDY.

According to Beteck, vendors previously looked upon the AFIT and AFRL libraries as two separate entities, so the directors invited various vendors to visit so they could confirm the D’Azzo Research Library occupies a single space, but serves two organizations. Vendors such as Elsevier have visited the library and agreed to work with the D’Azzo Research Library as one library – not two. The result has been an increase of subscriptions without both organizations having a cost increase.

“We remain committed to providing responsive service for which the library is known as well as strive to connect information and library users to support research, teaching, promote learning, and stimulate new knowledge,” Beteck said.

Located in Building 642 on the AFIT campus, the D’Azzo Research Library is named in honor of Dr. John D’Azzo, who served Wright-Patterson AFB as an engineer, educator, and technology leader for nearly 64 years. It is the third largest research library in the Air Force, according to Amy High, chief of reader services.

“Our collaboration is not just between the two libraries – it is reaching out across AFRL, AFLCMC contracting office and all the FM offices that all had to work together to make this work out so well,” said Sheppard. “I am very passionate to enhance the resources of both organizations and save the tax payer money. I’m a tax payer and saving money here is almost like getting a bonus for a job well done…well almost,” she said.

“Today, the library includes a total of more than one million items and stands as a lasting tribute to John’s legacy of achievement,” said Beteck, who joined the AFIT library staff in September 2015. “We are striving to be an exemplar for this century so that our students have access to the resources they need – we are placing emphasis on access. We look at the library as the academic hub of AFIT, and it makes us have that feeling that we are helping to fulfill the mission of AFIT, AFRL and the Air Force.”

According to Sheppard, about 25 percent of AFIT students go on to become AFRL researchers.