Category Archives: library subscription services

Reopening Campuses – The Road to Recovery Post-COVID-19

In March 2020, campuses across the US became ghost towns almost overnight. Libraries included.

A survey by the University of Illinois showed that 94% of academic libraries closed their doors, and 82% have been limiting their lending to phone and online orders. The future reopening of these libraries is entirely dependent on whether and when campuses reopen. Which is difficult to say for certain.

To open or not to open….

Several months on, the debate rages. When and how campuses should reopen is the question on everyone’s minds. With no national guidelines, each institution must make its own decision, driven by guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state departments of health. On the one hand, keeping campuses closed has meant massive disruption to students’ lives not to mention billions of dollars in lost revenue (which is potentially catastrophic for many institutions out there). On the other hand, it’s helped to stem the spread of COVID-19, which is unquestionably the right thing to do. But what now?

There’s no doubt that students are keen to get back, see their friends and enjoy campus life. However, faculty and other staff are showing signs of being more wary, perhaps because they’re more closely acquainted with the potential dangers of infection. But it seems now that the majority of campuses are planning to reopen in the fall – according to a recent survey by the American Council on Education. They found that over half of college and university presidents say it’s “very likely” that their institution will resume face-to-face classes for at least some portion of the fall term, while 31% say that it’s “somewhat likely.” Only 11% said it was “somewhat or very unlikely.”

The question now is not whether to reopen campuses, it’s how to do so safely.

It will only work if students change their behavior, according to Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University. Campus culture will have to change radically – hanging out with friends will be strictly socially distanced, which is a bitter pill to swallow. Students will be expected to play their part in keeping themselves and the community safe. If Notre Dame and the University of Kentucky are anything to go by, institutions have plans in place for fever checkpoints, contact tracing, quarantine dorms, masks and social distancing. Some institutions are considering moving to a blended instructional model for the 2020–21 academic year.

So what’s the view from the libraries?

Libraries are faced with the same issues – how to keep their staff and customers safe. The ACRL offers guidance for academic libraries on how to prepare for reopening. Crucially, a phased approach is the most likely way forward, with some staff members working from home on certain days of the week, and opening the library space up bit by bit. Naturally, social distancing is advocated, limiting numbers of users at any one time perhaps with a ticketing system.

Harvard is planning a gradual approach to reopening its labs and libraries, employing infection control measures and modifying research spaces.

Purdue is planning to reopen its campus this fall. According to the Dean of Libraries, the uptake in virtual support and services will likely continue, in order to remain within safety guidelines. More spacious study space will be provided and plexiglass barriers employed to enable face-to-face service. And bringing staff back is about finding a balance, with home working for those who prefer not to come in.

An evolving situation…

Although huge progress has been made, the fight against COVID-19 is far from won. It’s impossible to say exactly where we’ll all be in a month’s time, or by the fall.

But remember, WT Cox are here to support the academic library community. In these uncertain times you can rely on us to help you through any challenging situations that arise. We’re here to keep you informed as well, so check back in for updates.

So take a look at how we can help at WT Cox. We’re known for our outstanding commitment – you are our business.

WT Cox – Experience Choice. Where extraordinary service happens.

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The Importance of Special Libraries

What makes a library a special library? There are of course thousands of more traditional school and academic libraries, which are all special in the excellent service they provide to their communities. Then there are even more libraries out there serving their communities in a unique and particularly focused way.

There’s the unusual. Take the incredible and inspiring Biblioburros, distributing books to children in rural Colombia on the backs of donkeys Alfa and Beto. Or Human Libraries, where you can “borrow” people with special experiences and “read” them by asking them questions about their lives.

And then there’s the more traditional niche library with a specific area of interest, providing specialized information resources for a particular user base. For example, law libraries, business libraries, medical libraries, government libraries, or military libraries.

But while all these libraries are special, we’re going to take a more in-depth look at military libraries.

What makes military libraries so special?

Quite a lot! Historically, the military have been significant library users. During World Wars I and II, the US forces were able to use camp libraries, set up by the American Library Association. This meant librarians travelling to war zones to help run them – in fact over 1,000 volunteered to do so. Reading, and reading to others, became a common form of therapy for those affected by war.

And this continues today. Whether on board every US Navy ship, or in remote bases in Afghanistan, library services remain an integral part of the US Defense Department’s focus on morale and welfare.

How does this work?

The SLA Military Libraries Division (DMIL), part of the Special Libraries Association, plays a key role in ensuring the military receive the library services they so need and deserve.

DMIL’s goal is to promote the importance of military libraries and librarians to the outside world. They also help their librarians in their roles by offering continuing professional development, a forum for the exchange of ideas, opportunities for networking and career enhancement.

Where does a subscription agent come in?

Well, subscription agents play a major role in the running of a military library, wherever that might be. Military libraries are like any other library, facing budget cuts and managing their resources ever more efficiently, so enlisting the help of a subscription agent pays off in no time. An experienced subscription agent like WT Cox can assist with the nuts and bolts of serials management, leaving libraries the time to focus on their users.

WT Cox’s award-winning library services

WT Cox have been in the library subscriptions business for over 45 years – military libraries included. Their knowledge and expertise is particularly valuable. Rare for a vendor, they scooped an award at the 2019 DMIL Awards this November. WT Cox’s Debra Knox won the DMIL Distinguished Service Award, alongside the DMIL’s current Chair, Travis Ferrell.

Debra’s role within DMIL is unique as a sales representative, and her continued commitment to the Division has allowed it to thrive. According to the DMIL, Debra has been our voice among vendors and on the various SLA Planning committees. Her care and concern for service members and those serving the military has made her an outstanding member of DMIL and well deserving of the Distinguished Service Award.”

Proudly accepting the award, Debra said: “Do not underestimate the power of giving yourself to a cause you believe in. I am proud to support the mission of military libraries all over the world and have done so for more than 20 years. The librarians in this community are the most dedicated group of individuals I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They have become friends. They are the “special” in special libraries!”

Exceptional customer service

At WT Cox we’re known for exceptional levels of customer service. We take care of the day-to-day running of your serials management, allowing you more time to focus on what really matters – your patrons.

WT Cox – Experience Choice. Where extraordinary service happens.

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Top 5 Challenges in Serials Management

Over the centuries libraries have become no strangers to change. Which is why they’re so adaptable. And in today’s rapidly changing environment, they’re required to be more flexible than ever before. Ask any librarian and they’ll say they’re being asked to do more with less. Shrinking budgets mean lower staff numbers, but the workload doesn’t go down.

It’s the same story, whatever the library, wherever you are. But what are the most pressing issues specific to serials management? At WT Cox we’ve been in the business long enough to anticipate our customers’ challenges, and we are well positioned to help them through the problem areas.

According to our customers, these are the top 5 challenges:

#1 – Transitioning

We hear from many new customers that they’re apprehensive about transitioning to a new Subscription Agency. They often say they’d wanted to make the change for a while, but were nervous about switching from their old vendor. Quite understandably, as there’s a lot of work involved, and new trust has to be established.

One of the first things we do at WT Cox, in customer service, is talk through the challenges each of our customers face in their particular library. We come up with a transition plan, together, which allows us to tailor our service to their needs. This takes all the stress out of the migration of their serials.

#2 – Invoicing

When a new customer comes to us at WT Cox, one of the top challenges they talk about is invoicing. It sounds simple but it’s actually quite a precarious area. All too often invoices arrive in a format that finance departments won’t accept.

So, during the transition period, we talk with our customers to find out what really suits their needs best. And we’re able to be truly flexible as our CoxNet account management system allows for invoices to be generated in a variety of ways – alphabetical by title, sorted by fund code and split invoices by fiscal year, for example.

#3 – ILS Set-Up

No migration is without its problems. Setting up a new ILS can seem a particularly arduous task.

This is why at WT Cox we have a dedicated team who walk both new and existing customers through the ILS set-up process. We’re happy to explain what is needed to complete the process and run tests to ensure everything’s running smoothly. We do this for both invoicing as well as claims, to make sure live invoices and claims are transmitted without errors.

#4 – Customer Service

We pride ourselves in providing the best customer service in the industry.

Dawn Babich, Customer Service Manager – Academics

Customer service can be a major pitfall. It makes all the difference when it comes to managing your library services. If it works, you don’t notice it’s happening, but with poor customer service, you can end up chasing your tail. And that’s when problems start to snowball.

We know how crucial good customer service is. At WT Cox we assign each client a Customer Service Specialist, who learns the ins and outs of their individual account. Our specialists are quick and responsive. In fact, our customer service team considers themselves to be an extension of your library staff – that’s how closely connected we are, and how seriously we take this. We’re here to help, after all.

#5 – Systems

The amount of systems librarians must deal with can be a real problem. Different vendors have different systems, which work in different ways. It’s vital to minimize the workload on libraries, and make things as simple as possible.

CoxNet is WT Cox’s proprietary system, which we provide to all our customers. It’s easy to use, but even so we provide training for everyone, both new and existing clients. It’s the most user-friendly interface we know, in fact, and our customers love it.

With CoxNet you can view orders, place claims and view responses, view electronic details, edit and submit renewals, and a lot more. Plus, we are always open to suggestions about how to improve your serials management system. We add enhancements regularly and always welcome customer feedback. We’re listening!

So take a look at the services we provide at WT Cox. We’re known for our outstanding commitment. We make your serials management our business.

WT Cox – Experience Choice. Where extraordinary service happens.

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Getting More Bang For Your Buck

3 Steps Towards Optimizing Vendor Support

Library expenditure on serials is on the up. In today’s knowledge economy, information is king. Knowledge is power.

But you all know that. And you know too that library budgets are shrinking, all the time. Which means that something has to give, and that includes staff numbers. In particular, staffing of serials operations is declining, which presents a challenge for libraries the world over. According to Ithaka’s 2019 Report Library Acquisition Patterns, serials and other ongoing resources make up over 70% of total library expenditure. So the challenge for library staff is significant, and it’s not going to go away.

Sound advice

At NASIG’s 34th Annual Conference in Pittsburgh this June, Maria Hatfield addressed exactly this issue. Maria is VP of Integrated Solutions at WT Cox, and has years of experience working with publishers, libraries and library technology. Her session at NASIG, Getting more bang for your buck: working with your vendor in the age of the shrinking staff , faced this issue head on, and offered sound advice on how best to move forward. As a Member at Large on the NASIG Executive Board and a member of the ISO ISSN Revision Working Group Committee, Maria has her ear to the ground and knows what libraries want. Here’s what she had to say.

It’s all about support

Your vendor is there to support you, so make the most of this. Maria knows that establishing an effective new vendor-library relationship is the number one priority for any library to get the most support possible. In order to optimize your serials workflows, tap in to your vendor services. Here are three vital steps in establishing the most effective vendor-library relationship from the beginning:

  1. Set clear expectations. Both library and vendor need to be direct about their requirements and needs in this partnership. Right from the start. This is the basis upon which the entire business relationship will be built, so it’s pretty crucial.
  2. Communicate these needs. Yes, it’s all about communication. As vendors, at WT Cox we have two account management teams who are there to act as advisers and consultants whenever you might need them. Our Sales Team is responsible for looking at everything from cost impact analysis to assessing support service needs. And our Customer Relationship team actually view themselves as an extension of your staff – their relationship with your library is close and responsive.
  3. Establish a transition plan. You’ll need a timeline clearly indicating who is responsible for each step of the transition. At WT Cox we have an established transition plan that has evolved through years of experience doing many successful transitions for new customers. Our transition team and account management teams start by collecting data about your library and end with the order invoice. Our aim is to ensure as smooth and continuous a service as possible.

Most importantly…

“The most important thing a library can do is communicate with their vendor.” Maria Hatfield, VP Integrated Solutions, WT Cox

Communication. Throughout the whole transition process, communication is the number one priority. And ongoing, it’s probably the most important aspect throughout your entire relationship with your vendor. It’s worth spending a bit of time at the start to establish clear expectations on both sides, and to promote a full understanding of your library’s needs and special requirements. If you do this, and ensure you have a sound understanding of the transition plan, you’ll save yourself hours of staff time further down the line.

Get the most bang for your buck!

So, follow these simple steps and get your vendor on board. Streamlining this partnership will save you invaluable time. And it’ll save you money too, if you let your vendor take an active role in the running of your library. Take a look at the services we provide at WT Cox  – and we’re known for our outstanding commitment to serials management. We ensure you get the most bang for your buck!

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EveryLibrary Fundraiser at ALA Annual 2019



This year sees the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, from June 20th – 25th. Are you all set?

Besides the outstanding line-up of hundreds of top authors and speakers, there are plenty more reasons to attend, as you’ll know. It’s all about networking and keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in the library world. There are so many opportunities to catch up, it’s hard to list them all. But there’s one we think is particularly special…

The EveryLibrary Fundraiser

One event you absolutely can’t miss is EveryLibrary’s fundraising event on June 22nd. If you’ve not attended one of these before, let us tell you what you can expect. It’s one of the best opportunities to network with your peers, but above all it’s sure to be fun.

This year’s fundraising event is at Buffalo Billiards, just a short distance from the Convention Center. Come along for billiards, skeeball, shuffleboard, ping pong, and darts, not to mention the open bar with beer and wine. You can purchase your tickets here.

If last year in New Orleans is anything to go by, this’ll be a sell-out event. And if you were there in Philadelphia with us throwing axes, you’ll know how much fun it’ll be. If you’ve not signed up already, we recommend you do so now.

Help support libraries in the United States

Most of all, we think this is a good cause. EveryLibrary supports libraries at the ballot box and fights against library defunding measures through pro-bono consulting, digital tools, and training, among other things. It’s fundraisers like this at the ALA Annual that will help EveryLibrary’s continued success throughout 2019.

Libraries, and the future of libraries, are what we’re all about. They’re our lifeblood. That’s why WT Cox are working together with EveryLibrary to raise awareness of their organization, and to support them at their fundraising events. So we’ll be there on June 22nd!

EveryLibrary’s Mission

John Chrastka, Executive Director of EveryLibrary, is passionate about the cause.

“EveryLibrary’s mission is to build voter support for libraries. We provide a unique kind of support to libraries, and we’re fortunate to have great companies like WT Cox as donors and sponsors to help power that mission. The EveryLibrary fundraiser in D.C. is a wonderful way for us to bring together a huge group of people from around the country who believe in that mission, and who share in a vision that any library funding campaign should matter. We’re there to celebrate the wins and to support each other in the losses. Our hope is to meet new people who also want to see library advocacy in action and reconnect with hundreds of our friends who have joined in the work over the years.”

We’re looking forward to seeing you at ALA Annual. Do be sure to visit the WT Cox team at booth #812 and the EveryLibrary Fundraiser. We will see you there!

Experience Choice. Where extraordinary service happens.

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The Value of a Subscription Agent

We understand libraries are tasked today with doing more with less.  Additionally, library professionals are trying to stay connected to their core activities while making time to perform new duties.  In an effort to offset these challenges, libraries can look to some of their vendor relationships to help create opportunities to do just that.  Case in point, your subscription agent.

Take a moment to imagine managing all your e-resources yourself. How many publishers would you need to engage individually? Quite a large number, we can confirm! Not only that, there are claim issues, access issues, managing renewals on an ongoing basis and more.

Consider, what it would be like paying the multitude of individual invoices. With an agent, all of these challenges are taken care of, with one intermediary acting on your behalf, addressing publisher situations, consolidating services and producing in many cases one single invoice.

There’s also a great deal of reporting to take into consideration. Given the complexity of numerous publishers’ websites, life is a lot simpler with access to an agent’s serials management system. WT Cox offers dedicated customer service specialists backed by a knowledgeable administrative team who are there to manage your collection needs.  This combined with CoxNet, our online real-time serials management tool, we enable libraries to stay connected to all types of collection changes.

It’s about creating efficient and effective practices that generate more time for libraries to focus on their core duties. We know how important it is for libraries to maximize their resources and improve learning outcomes. We are tethered to the objectives of our customers and work side-by-side with each customer to assist them in achieving their stated goals.

WT Cox has long been established in the business for over 45 years. Learn more about how to team up with us and experience what it’s like to have extraordinary customer service.

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ACRL 2019 – The Latest For Academic Libraries

We’re looking forward to seeing you at ACRL in Cleveland on April 10th. The theme of this year’s conference, Recasting the Narrative, examines the key position of academic library professionals in the constantly evolving higher education landscape. It’s academic librarians who are leading the way in the transition to exciting new roles.

Academic libraries have been supporting teaching and learning ever since the birth of the academic institution. Over many centuries librarians have gotten used to adapting and reinventing their roles. So they’re well prepared – the future is bright!

Make the most of ACRL

Make sure you reserve a spot in your schedule to come by and meet us at booth #713. We’ll be showcasing the latest serials management solutions and support tools, alongside a full range of demos. We’re here to partner with you in all things serials management – and we’re known for our outstanding service and commitment.

Conference highlights

 You won’t want to miss this round table discussion titled Marketing Academic Libraries – Garnering University Support via Patron Satisfaction. Check it out here!

 Plus, this year’s keynote speakers are here to inspire you and your colleagues on your journey thru these times of change.

Journalist Michele Norris talks about her work with the Race Card Project, and sheds new light on America’s complicated racial history via her investigations into her family’s long hidden secrets.

Novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen examines the experiences of refugees past and present, via his book The Sympathizer, which focuses on the legacy of the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

Alongside 25 years of the generational chronicle Dykes to Watch Out For, cartoonist Alison Bechdel has produced award-winning memoirs using the graphic novel, expanding the medium’s expressive potential.

Immerse yourself in some of this year’s in-depth pre conferences

Engaged Students are Empowered Students: Instructional Design Matters focuses on student learning outcomes. Learn how to revitalize your lesson plans for success.

Lead Your Library Towards Accessibility: Knowledge & tools for any librarian to promote a culture of accessibility explores why accessibility matters for your library. You’ll leave knowing exactly how to move forward with accessibility initiatives.

OER + Scholarly Communication will empower you to develop the resources necessary for supporting scholarly communication. Learn to develop methods for articulating and addressing problems in the field.

Planning, Assessing, and Communicating Library Impact: Putting the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Into Action is all about demonstrating value. Learn how to use the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education to communicate your library’s impact and value.

Systems Leadership Lab: A Deep Dive into Functional & Dysfunctional Organizational Patterns uncovers how functional and dysfunctional systems operate. Find out how to choose functional strategies for personal and organizational action.

Taking Charge of Your Narrative focuses on career plans. See how to develop a career road map, and develop a leadership narrative.


ACRL 2019 will energize you with this year’s carefully chosen conference programs. The insights and inspiration on offer this year from presenters who are leaders in the profession will enhance your library’s programs and services.

See you at booth #713, or why not make a date in advance with us. Email us to schedule. We look forward to seeing you in Cleveland!

WT Cox – Experience Choice. Where extraordinary service happens.

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Join us in Austin, TX at the ER & L Conference

If you’re in serials management, you’ll no doubt be attending Electronic Resources & Libraries 14th Annual Conference. March 3-6 sees the library community gather in Austin, TX – working together to improve the ways we manage and access electronic resources.

It’s an unmissable event. There’s so much to learn, and so many people to catch up with. But you know that. What you might not know, however, is what else you won’t want to miss while you are in Austin.

The Bat City

Did you know that Austin is famous for its sunsets? There are some hot   spots to catch its celebrated pink and purple skies – visit the Congress Avenue Bridge, where you can view the spectacle of the city’s 1.5 million bats emerge from underneath, just before dusk. Take a stroll on the bridge itself, or watch from a boat on the river.

Join us at The Color Inside

Don’t like bats? You can still watch the sunrise and sunset! Best of all, visit artist James Turrell’s Skyspace The Color Inside, at the University of Texas. These fabulous light sequences last around an hour, and are best experienced at sunrise and sunset. WT Cox secured several tickets to the Color Inside – we’d love you to join us there at 6:05 pm on either Monday, March 4th or Tuesday, March 5th. Claim yours fast, limited quantities available. Visit us on LinkedIn and post a comment to get your ticket. We hope to see you there!

Sample the food scene…

This is a city for foodies! Austin’s historic East Side is home to some top restaurants, including the Franklin Barbecue  – the best barbecue in the known universe, according to Texas Monthly. Talk serials management over its famous brisket. Or try one of the city’s famous food trucks – there are over 1,000 of them serving up top notch food from lobster rolls to Cajun to churros… And you can’t leave Austin without having taken in some breakfast tacos, which are good almost anywhere you choose to go.

…and the bars

Austin takes its bar scene seriously. Get together with colleagues for some ice-cold beers or craft cocktails and sample a true Austin experience. Enjoy stunning views of the city at the same time at one of the city’s many rooftop bars .

See some sights

If you want an insight into some Texas history, the awesome Texas State Capitol should be at the top of your list. Take in a free guided tour around this larger-than-life institution. In fact it’s the largest capitol building in the United States, 14 feet higher than the Capitol in Washington DC. If you want to stay outdoors, head for Zilker Park  and enjoy the sunny weather the city is known for. Better still, make the steep climb up Mount Bonnell  for magnificent views.

Whatever you choose to do in Austin, be sure to drop by and visit with our team at Table 602.  We look forward to seeing you there!

WT Cox – Experience Choice. Where extraordinary service happens.

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Insider Tips at the Charleston Conference 2018

1 Small US City (1)

What are your plans for Charleston this year? Need a bit of insight? It is a city with so much to offer, it’s hard to know where to start and seeing as we are local – let us show you around!

The history of Charleston is what makes it so special. From graveyard tours to the historic French Quarter, Charleston will surprise and impress you. For over a decade, this conference has provided the WT Cox team with an environment rich in experiences. From relational to educational, exploration to collaboration, it’s truly inspirational!

In fact, Charleston, SC is one of our favorite cities to visit. The fine dining, waterfront parks and good ole Southern hospitality make this the perfect backdrop for this iconic conference! Get your shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and of course abundant fresh fish and seafood straight from sea to table. It is just hard to choose, so take some tips from our team, who can help you know your way around the Hot Spots.

In addition to the fun, the Charleston Conference boasts content-rich sessions, engaging speakers and exciting evening events to attend! This year, join us on Tuesday, November 6th at 1 PM in Salon II, Gaillard Centre. You won’t want to miss this preconference session, Foundations of E-Resource Acquisitions. Maria Hatfield, our VP of Integrated Solutions, will share her professional insight and extensive experience of e-resource acquisitions – relating to concepts and workflows, an overview of supporting tools, and solutions to common problems.

Also on Tuesday, you will find the WT Cox Team at Table #80 during the Vendor Showcase. This is a great opportunity to meet your reps, chat and perhaps make plans to meet for a drink. Proof is where you will find us just about every night. The hand-crafted cocktails that are NOT to be missed…

We hope you get the opportunity to experience all that the Charleston Conference has to offer and we look forward to seeing you there.

WT Cox – #1 subscription service for libraries

1 Voted 8 years running by readers of Conde Nast Traveller

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