I think it is totally unethical to change library subscriptions to a
personal subscription. Institutional subscription prices are higher
because more people are reading the same issue of a journal. Persons who
want to subscribe privately to a journal would not be able or willing to
pay the higher price, but if all the institutions would start subscribing
as personal subscribers, the journal prices would go up for everybody. I
do not think that would be fair.
Another thought: we just changed some of our subscriptions which came to
the library for processing and were then sent on to individual department
subscribers to being sent directly to that person. As a side effect of
that change I noted that we could sometimes subscribe at the personal rate
since the journal is now going to one person and no longer through the
library. I do not know if that would apply to your situation since the
subscriptions you are talking about seem to stay in the library and are
are not being forwarded to a single person in another department.
Milton J. Chatton Medical Library, San Jose, Ca