Vendor Relations: Evolving ethos and etiquette
Sammonds Crawford, Laurel
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As vendors consolidate and the electronic resources market matures, products are increasing in complexity and vendors are marketing ev¬er-changing acquisition models. To safeguard the financial health of our institutions and the utility of our collections, librarians must adapt to changes in the library market and vendor behavior. The University of North Texas Libraries has embarked on a multi-year effort to improve our ability to do this, by proactively preventing problems and by re¬sponding effectively to new situations as they arise. Our session will explore practical techniques and everyday actions that help librarians successfully meet these challenges. We will explore librarians’ attitudes toward vendor activities, including how our tolerance for adverse behaviors and our reactions affect our ability to prevent and solve problems. And we’ll look at how librarians’ responses and behaviors are changing as traditional approaches become less effective. We will also examine four important aspects of vendor-librarian relations. First, how librarians should examine and adjust their mindset upon entering a business relationship. Second, evaluation of products and services as an important step that both heavily influences and is influenced by the vendor relationship. Third, negotiating pricing and features and how it is essential to maintain control over the library’s finances and the patrons’ ability to access important materials. Lastly, we will discuss the concept of setting boundaries and how personal steadfastness can create successful vendor relationships.