Last Spring, I notified the campus that the Library was undertaking a comprehensive review of the circulating book collection, a first in Lupton Library history. As I stated then, our purpose in doing so is to provide the campus with a strong and accessible collection of materials. The initial review will be completed, book-by-book, by UTC librarians, followed by the public posting of a list of items suggested for secondary review. The list will be available for review by affected departments and any other interested member of the campus community. Following this secondary, campus-wide review, items will be removed in a library book sale. Today I want to follow-up and provide some additional information on the project.
The Library is planning an Open Campus Meeting on the Collection Evaluation Project and invites any interested member of the campus community. The meeting will be held on Friday, October 15th at 10:00 a.m. in Library 208. Please join us if you want to learn more about project specifics, such as timelines, input opportunities, and how librarians are approaching the collection. Coffee and a muffin provided. My library colleagues and I are also happy to meet with any academic department or one-one-one with any member of the faculty. Feel free to email me at email@example.com to set-up a meeting.
Why review the collection?
Please know that librarians are neither discarding books because they are old, nor are we attempting to change the focus of the collection. As you can imagine, librarians almost as one, really, really like books. We are reviewing the collection because:
- The collection has not been reviewed since it was moved to the Lupton Library in 1974, nor are we certain it was ever reviewed prior to that date. It is a good information practice, and a collection development standard, to do so, and unusual that a review has not taken place in over 35 years.
- While reviewing the collection, we are also taking an inventory of the collection to determine what we actually own. Again this has not taken place in over 35 years.
- The review process entails noting outdated editions, damaged and deteriorating volumes, duplicate copies, non-circulating items, aspects of the collection that need updating, aspects of the collection that need enhancing due to heavy circulation, and other collection development issues.
- The use of our collections, compared to peer institutions, is very low and, in part, this is related to the accessibility issues that arise in a collection that has never been formally reviewed.
How many books are being reviewed?
- The circulating collection of books includes approximately 350,000 volumes, all located on the 3rd floor. Each and every book will be reviewed individually.
- There are no target numbers set and there are no quotas per section for this project.
- The Library will not discard any book for which there are 100 or fewer holding libraries in the world, as reported by OCLC’s Worldcat.
What is the procedure you are following?
Our intent is to follow the process used during the Spring 2009 journal cancellations, that is:
Step One: The Library Liaison assigned to your department will do the initial review of the collection. Liaisons are recording notes in a Microsoft Excel file and are placing a blue flag in books under consideration for a second level of review. The criteria used to evaluate will vary from discipline to discipline. However, common issues include:
- Duplicate copies of titles that do not circulate,
- Damaged books,
- Outdated editions for which we have updated titles available,
- Titles that have not circulated in decades and for which we have adequate coverage elsewhere.
Step Two: Impacted departments will be sent a link to a list of titles selected in the first review. The list will also be available in Microsoft Excel and print forms. If a faculty member wishes to review the collection physically that can be arranged as well. A UTCINFO announcement will also be sent to the entire campus.
Step Three: If a faculty member suggests we keep a title, we will leave it on the shelf. An online form is available and you need only give us your name, cut and paste the call number in a text box, and hit submit. Please note that just removing a blue flag will not remove the book from the list.
Step Four: Remaining titles will be placed in a library book sale, before being donated.
Faculty participation is welcome at any stage in the process. If you would like to be engaged earlier in the review process, please just let me or your Library Liaison know. I can already cite one example of a member of the departmental faculty working with library faculty in the stacks.
We anticipate this process will take us 1.5 to 2 years to complete. Our goal is to have the collection evaluation piece completed by January 2012. I am in the process of creating a schedule so that academic department will know, in advance, when the initial librarian review phase is completed. Departments will be given a minimum of two months to review possible discard lists. No reviews will take place in the summer.
Communication and Transparency
The Library’s goal is to be as collaborative and transparent as possible throughout this process. As such, the Library has posted the list of all circulating books and all the documents related to this project on our library wiki, available a at https://wikilib.utc.edu/index.php/Collection_Evaluation_Project.
Again, should you have any questions or concerns, please just let me know.