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What we know...

More study space, more technology, and lots more power outlets are needed in the library. In addition, because the library provides hundreds of databases and other e-resources, the print collections are not as heavily used as they once were.

What we are doing...

We have embarked on a Collection Analysis Project to learn how the physical collections are being used and whether it is reasonable to shrink the footprint of the collection to create additional study spaces. By reviewing current collection usage patterns, we can ensure that our students, faculty, and staff have the right materials to support their educational and research needs, while allowing us to respond to changing space requirements.

What is the Collection Analysis Project (CAP)?

The Collection Management Department is coordinating an analysis of library collection usage, starting in 2014 and expected to run through spring 2017.  Collection Management staff are compiling reports that combine circulation, bibliographic, item, and holdings data, which tell the story of an item: when did we add it to our collection? Has it ever circulated? Is it in an outmoded format, like VHS?  Was it once popular, but no longer?   Librarians then apply their subject expertise to these titles, identifying those that may still merit retention, while also flagging those titles that need not be kept.  Titles that are not retained are sent to a remote storage facility or to a company called Better World Books; titles that are retained can be shifted to other spaces to provide for more study areas in the library.  

CAP Project Results to Date:

  • By switching to electronic journals over the years, print growth rate slowed so we consolidated two floors of bound periodicals onto the first floor of Library West.
  • Similarly, much of the reference and journal collections are now published electronically, so that we have been able to remove outdated print titles. 
  • In another area, we eliminated most of the VHS collection, given that the format is no longer supported and 82% of the collection has been unused for the past 5 years.
  • Initial reports for the Main Collection indicate that 33 percent of the library’s items have circulated two or more times.  10,000 of the items in Main have been here less than 2 years, and items need some time to amass sufficient circulation to analyze usage.
  • We also consider how often an item is “browsed” or used in-house. Our Access Services staff regularly check the tables and book carts for books and other items and then check them back in, which records an in-house use.  Nearly 7,000 of our items, spanning every discipline, have been used up to 7 times in house.

For more information please contact Library Dean Kathy Miller