Negotiation Skills for Librarians
In-person Workshop

Building knowledge, skills and confidence in e-resource negotiation

Workshop purpose

  • A 1-day workshop developing knowledge, skills and confidence to support librarians when negotiating with publishers and other vendors for electronic resources.
  • The workshop is highly practical, delivering skills and knowledge which academic librarians and consortia members can apply immediately to on-going and future negotiations, both new deals and renewals


  • Electronic resources continue to bring major change to the provision of teaching and research information, hugely impacting the role and responsibilities of information professionals.
  • The rise of the license, the demise of the ‘list price’, tailored deals, new rights and responsibilities, new users, and new ways of delivering, using and sharing information are all part of the evolving complexity.
  • At the same time, some things have not changed: publishers still seek to maximise usage, market presence and income, whilst libraries and consortia seek to best serve their users within the constraints of rising costs and pressured budgets.
  • In order to navigate these challenges- and make the most of the considerable opportunities -  negotiation has become a fundamental part of the content acquisition process.
  • It follows that libraries and consortia need library staff with strong negotiation knowledge and skills, and yet training in this area continues to be neglected by most LIS degrees.
  • This workshop has been created to fill this gap, informing and empowering librarians, growing their confidence and skills, and enabling them to gain the best from every negotiation.

A brief history

  • I have been delivering this 1-day in-person workshop to library and consortia staff in the UK and Eire (on behalf of UKSG), and continental Europe and the Middle East, since 2008.
  • The workshop has evolved continually and draws on the very latest in negotiation know-how from leading negotiation experts from around the world including many leading librarians.
  • An expert-facilitated online version of the course is also available to meet demand from colleagues who cannot attend the in-person workshop. Click here for more details.

Of the 400+ librarians who have taken either the in-person workshop or the online course to date, 100% would recommend them to colleagues. The vast majority rated their learning experience as 'very good' or ‘excellent’.

Is this course for you?

  • Negotiation Skills for Librarians has been developed for serials and acquisitions librarians and consortia members involved in the acquisition of electronic resources in academic institutions or on behalf of academic consortia
  • Written at an introductory-intermediate level, the workshop is for those who are: new to negotiations or who have some negotiations experience and are seeking a ‘refresher’ and/or additional tips, skills and knowledge. It will also benefit those being trained to undertake purchasing roles in the future.
  • The course focuses on journals and other serially published content (although much of the learning is transferable to eBook and database acquisition).

Although the primary focus of the course is on e-resources acquisition in an academic environment, information/knowledge workers in public libraries and corporations are welcome. Equally, although the course is designed primarily for those new or relatively new to publisher negotiations, more experienced negotiators are welcome.

Learning objectives

You will:

  • Learn proven, highly practical negotiations skills and knowledge which you can use immediately in your professional life;
  • Learn The Four Cornerstones - four key strategies which underpin all successful negotiations;
  • Practice the The Seven Habits of Effective Negotiation intelligent negotiation tactics which will help you get the best deal possible, on pricing and on terms;
  • Apply these skills and knowledge to resolve a range of mini-negotiation situations;
  • Learn powerful guiding principles, wisdom to support you through the whole negotiation process;
  • Share your negotiation questions, challenges and concerns in a confidential and supportive environment;
  • Build your confidence in relation to publisher negotiations;
  • Learn a powerful model for developing your personal resilience, a capacity proven to enhance negotiation abilities and outcomes.

How you will learn

  • In common with all Lead From Within learning, this workshop is lively, engaging and interactive to create the richest learning experience possible. It features the following elements:
    • Presentations sharing key knowledge and information
    • Individual and group exercises
    • Facilitated discussion and sharing of ideas with group coaching as appropriate
    • Sharing of delegates’ negotiation experiences, challenges and concerns in a safe and confidential environment
    • Opportunity to discuss delegates' 'live' negotiation issues and share best practice
    • A comprehensive course pack featuring invaluable checklists designed to support delegates in their workplace

Course Content

Session 1: Introductions, Context and Basics

  • Course overview and learning goals
  • Delegates' learning goals
  • Negotiation context and basics
  • Common negotiation challenges
  • The four main negotiation styles

   Session 2: Building Resilience For Confident Negotiations

  • Defines resilience and explore how this vital quality can enhance negotiation outcomes
  • Explores a proven model which will cultivate your personal resilience
  • Exercise: What’s your perspective?

Session 3: Negotiation Strategy: Four Cornerstones

  • Introduces Four Cornerstones - key strategies which will strengthen and support your negotiations
  • Explores how each cornerstone contributes to negotiation success
  • Considers how you can incorporate these strategies further into your negotiation process
  • Exercise: Integrating the Four Cornerstones

   Session 4: Negotiation Tactics

  • Shares seven habits or tactics to employ for effective negotiations
  • Explores how each supports you in each stage of the negotiation process
  • Interactive presentation with discussion and Q&A throughout plus illustrative examples from across the sector

   Session 5: Principles into Practice

  • Delegates undertake the Principles into Practice Challenge
  • Working in groups you will apply knowledge and skills from the workshop to resolve a series of realistic mini-negotiation scenarios
  • Sharing findings from the challenge and discussing best practice

Session 6: Bringing It All Together

  • Guiding principles for navigating negotiations: wisdom to support you through the whole negotiation process
  • Final Q&A
  • Revisit workshop goals and review delegates' key learning
  • Course feedback and next steps

Course impact

Participants from this workshop report many practical benefits including:

  • immediately saving money[1]
  • greater confidence when dealing with vendors
  • achieving more affordable, sustainable agreements
  • securing better license terms
  • greater understanding of which areas can - and should - be negotiated
  • stronger sense of the areas they want to influence
  • greater confidence about the negotiation process as whole
  • being able to serve teaching and research more effectively
  • enhancing the value and impact of the library

[1] For example, colleagues at a library in Eire reported a saving of €5,000 on a single deal within two weeks of taking this course. Whilst such results cannot be guaranteed, this course is expressly designed to build the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary for negotiating cost savings and more equitable and sustainable deals.

Feedback from workshop delegates

“I have used the learning from the day when speaking to publishers on the telephone and have found that I have a great deal more confidence and am able to assert myself better.”
Resources Manager, Serials, e-Resources and Digital Access,  June 2015

 “Very approachable, friendly, clear and concise delivery. Good course which was paced with good variety of content. I enjoyed it very much and learnt a lot. Thank you.”
Acquisitions Librarian, May 2015

“This has been a really useful course with a good mixture of content. The background in terms of Mindset and Resilience was really useful and was built upon with practical negotiating tools…the Checklist is a valuable practical tool which I am sure I will use over and over again. As a new member of staff particularly, the course has been excellent.”  Librarian, June 2014

“Lots of invaluable handouts.  Good mix of presentation and practical.  Nice informal style, felt very engaged with all content.” Serials Librarian, June 2014

 “Every librarian involved in purchasing/licensing should do this course!”
 Special Collections Librarian, June 2013

 "Excellent – I’m actually looking forward to my next negotiation (-ish!).” Librarian, June 2013

 “Thank you so much for one of the most informative, practical and useful courses I have attended.”
Serials Librarian, June 2013

Date of Next Workshop

  • I deliver Negotiation Skills for Librarians once a year on behalf of UKSG.  The 2016 workshop took place in London in May.
  • independently of UKSG, I also deliver this workshop to libraries, groups of libraries and consortia throughout Europe and the Middle East. If this is of interest, please contact me for an informal conversation about your learning and development needs.
  • This workshop is also available as a fully-facilitated six-week online course. To find out when the next course begins, please contact me.
  • If you have any questions about this workshop or any of my coaching and learning services, please get in touch.

About me

  • I am an experienced facilitator and ICF-accredited professional coach[1]  with a passion for designing and delivering empowered immersive learning which enables people to realise their full potential and engage with their work and wider life with creativity, courage, wisdom and confidence.  

  • I have over 25 years’ experience working with libraries, publishers and a wide range of intermediaries in the academic and professional information industry, including significant experience of the change, disruption, challenge and opportunity which characterises this sector. 

  • Through Lead From Within I deliver one-to-one and group coaching, training, facilitation and consultancy services. I have worked with a broad range of clients in over 20 countries.

  • In addition to this workshop I also own and facilitate the 1-day in-person resilience-building workshop, Forever Changes and Make Yourself Heard (a 1-day workshop developing confidence in public speaking for new and not-so-new speakers, on behalf of UKSG).

[1] I trained with the world’s leading coach training school and continue to learn from thought-leaders in negotiations, mindset, resilience and inner leadership development.