Library shelves are increasingly full, and print books are still being acquired. Yet surprisingly few are being used. In 2011, a study of OhioLINK’s 88 libraries and 30 million monograph volumes showed that 6% of those books accounted for 80% of circulations. In October 2010, Cornell reported that 55% of its books had not circulated since 1990. Meanwhile, library administrators seek to expand space for group study, information commons, and writing centers. Much of the available space is currently occupied by low-use print collections, stored and maintained at an estimated annual cost of $4.26 per volume in open stacks, $.86 per volume in high-density storage. For these reasons, print collections face increased scrutiny. This presentation focussed on three aspects of this challenge: The Changing Value of Local Print Collections: changing user preferences; usage of print collections; shelving and floor space; lifecycle management costs. Alternatives to Local Print Collections: collection integrity & security; the “collective collection”; archival copies, service copies and surplus copies; Hathi Trust; shared print initiatives (WEST, CRL, MI-SPI, Maine Shared Collection Strategy and others); and independent action in a collective context. Managing Down Local Collections: making the case; coordinated deselection; efficient storage & withdrawal; analytical tools and deselection metadata; disposition options. The intent of the session was to explore why rethinking print collections is a reasonable idea at this time, and how management of print collections might be adapted while assuring archival security and continued access for users.
A presentation by Rick Lugg of Sustainable Collection Services. Presented at the BCRLG Speaker Series on March 6, 2014 at SFU Vancouver.
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