Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a few queries about Prospector, and as such, we wanted to share some information about its discontinuation.
Prospector is a beloved service highly valued by residents and libraries alike. However, given extensive budget cuts due to the pandemic, Boulder Public Library (BPL) and the Flatirons Library Consortium (FLC) cannot currently afford Prospector’s high expense at $52,000 annually. Boulder Public Library is part of a collaborative purchasing agreement with the Flatiron’s Library Consortium. Many people have asked if they could contribute to the Foundation to cover the service’s cost; however, even if the Foundation paid BPL’s share of $16,000, they cannot purchase Prospector without the FLC.
The FLC member libraries jointly determined that the cost is currently too high for any of the libraries to purchase. Prospector is undoubtedly a valued service; however, it accounts for just 1.22% of the FLC’s total circulation of 5.4 million items and represents less than 1% of BPL’s overall annual circulation. The cost per participant is also significantly higher than most of the other services the library offers. The service was cut after much consideration and multiple attempts to negotiate reduced pricing with Prospector. Most library vendors are offering deep discounts to libraries during this difficult time. Unfortunately, Prospector couldn’t make such an offer, and the FLC had to make the difficult decision to cut Prospector for 2021.
The ripple effects of 2020 will be felt for some time to come. Due to budget shortfalls stemming from the pandemic, BPL has had to cut $1.6 million from the 2020-21 budgets, lay off 60+ employees, cut collections purchases by over $100,000, and close three library locations. Other FLC library systems are also facing budget shortfalls and economic impacts of this nature.
BPL continues to offer an extensive collection of physical and digital items and resources on its website. They also provide many other services for residents who are socially distancing and sheltering in place. Learn more at boulderlibrary.org, or see the attached flyer for more information. Items in the catalog can be placed on hold and picked up at Main Library or Meadows Branch Library.
Although Prospector will not be available in 2021, BPL looks forward to restoring Prospector as soon as possible, hoping that this will be in 2022.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Patrice Madurai at firstname.lastname@example.org.