Search this site
Other stuff

All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

My latest books:


        Available now

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Page on Facebook


EdTech Update




« State of the e-book state in LJ | Main | Being techno-frugal »

The maintenance formula

Another section from the budget chapter of the Indispensable Librarian, 2nd edition ....

Administrators understand maintenance. They regularly budget for replacing roofs, tuck-pointing brickwork, and resurfacing parking lots. They understand why windows, furnaces, and pencil sharpeners all need to be replaced now and again.

What administrators don’t always understand is that library collections and instructional technologies need to be maintained as well. But once it's pointed out to them, they "get it" and budgets become more realistic.

Use the following formula with your print and e-book collection, share the results with your administrator, and see if it makes a difference. 

Doug's Magic Formula for a Maintenance Budget

Here's one way to calculate what funds you should be spending to keep your resources up-to-date:

Maintenance budget = replacement rate X total number of items X average cost

(Replacement rate = 100%/number of years in the life span of material)

Here are examples:

If a library has an agreed upon supported collection* of 10,000 books with an average cost of $18 per volume with an estimated life of a book at 20 years, then the maintenance budget should be 5% X 12,000 X $20 or $9,000. (Remember the replacement rate is 100%/life span or 1.00/20 or 5%) 

If a school has 20 DVD players which cost $100 each and have a life span of 10 years,  then the maintenance budget for players should be 10% X 20 X $100 or $200.

Here's one for you to try:

A school has 40 computers with a life span of 5 years. The average replacement cost of a computer is $1000. How much should be spent each year to maintain the computers?

Replacement rate =   1.00/ _______ years

Maintenance = _______________  X ____________________  X ____________________

                       Replacement rate             Total number of items             Average cost of an item                      


$_________________ Maintenance budget.

Current, well-maintained materials, even if in smaller quantities, better serve staff and students than large, old, and unreliable materials. If maintenance budgets are inadequate, your materials will get older, fewer in number, less reliable and have less relevance to the user and program. Those who allocate budget dollars need to know this. A maintenance formula will make sense to them. Remember that this is an annual expense, not a one time outlay.

* How do you determine a "supported collection size"? There is no one right way, but it doesn't need to be mutually agreed upon by the librarian, the administration, and the library/technology advisory committee. Here are some things to look at when determining this number:

  • Current collection size and how well it serves the curriculum
  • Any standards regarding recommended collection size
  • Size of school population, number of grades served, and special needs of student groups
  • Other digital resources available to students

Image source


EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>