The City University of New York: 24 Colleges, 5 Boroughs, 1 Collection

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Electronic Resources, Licensing, Collaboration, CUNY


The City University of New York (CUNY) is the third largest public university system in the United States. It consists of 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the Macaulay Honors College, and five graduate and professional schools located throughout the city’s five boroughs.

Though they have their own budgets and report up through separate academic structures, the 21 libraries in the CUNY system are tied tightly together by shared students, shared resources, and shared systems. This paper describes how the campus libraries and the central Office of Library Services work collaboratively to build a collection of electronic resources using different models to align with local and systemwide needs.

The benefits and the drawbacks of this hybrid system will be discussed. Special attention will be paid to CUNY’s efforts to use the power of the system as a negotiating tool with vendors for better pricing, to develop methods for the selection of various electronic resources, and its use of several years of cost-per-usage data to aid in retention decisions. Technical services/access, collections development, and the new legal and operational aspects of New York State procurement will also be covered.

Publisher Attribution

Charleston Library Conference Paper