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The reference collection

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The reference collection

  1. 1. The End is Here… for the Reference Collection Mark A. Vargas, Director University Libraries Saint Xavier University CARLI, October 2008
  2. 2. Purpose <ul><li>To explain why and how Saint Xavier University eliminated 95% of its print reference collection. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Context <ul><li>SXU is a comprehensive, private Catholic university for both men and women. </li></ul><ul><li>Two main campuses, and over sixty off-campus teaching sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, and nursing. </li></ul><ul><li>5,600 students. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Library was Sinking… Fast <ul><li>Shelves were at 140% of capacity. </li></ul><ul><li>Collection was dated. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of budget control. </li></ul><ul><li>At least 25% of the print budget went for reference materials and standing orders… and no one knew why. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Where We Started Services Facilities Personnel Resources Strategic Plan
  6. 6. Two Approaches <ul><li>Get the budget under control </li></ul><ul><li>Get the physical collection under control </li></ul>
  7. 7. Library’s Budget Priorities Redefining the Hoops
  8. 8. Established Collection Priorities Library Budget University Curriculum Annual Review Collection Development
  9. 9. Reference Collection Policies <ul><li>Evolved over several years. Changed in context with other collection issues. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Collection Review <ul><li>Collection must accurately reflect the curriculum. </li></ul><ul><li>Need to accommodate vast majority of students who never enter the library. </li></ul><ul><li>No new funding; instead, reallocate existing funds. </li></ul>
  11. 11. No Sacred Cows <ul><li>End the “we’ve always done it this way” approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Willing to review all aspects of collection development. </li></ul>
  12. 12. New Primary Focus <ul><li>Base collection development on curricular area, not format </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Up-to-date circulating book collection. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best possible array of web-based databases. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Low priority </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Print reference collection. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Print journal collection. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Previous Budget Model Budget Circulating Books Reference Books Databases Serials Art Business Art Business Art Business Chemistry Mathematics Nursing Chemistry Mathematics Nursing Chemistry Mathematics Nursing Art Business Chemistry Mathematics Nursing
  14. 14. New Budget Model Budget Art Business Chemistry Mathematics AV Books AV Books AV Books Databases Serials Databases Serials Databases Serials AV Books Databases Serials
  15. 15. Reallocation of Expenditures
  16. 16. Library’s Facility Priorities Making room for more… with a lot less
  17. 17. Off-Site Storage Program <ul><li>Used third-party vendor (records management firm) for storage and retrieval. </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminated political problems with weeding the collections. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Off-Site Storage Program <ul><li>60% of book collection to off-site storage. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any circulating items not used in the last 10 years. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>99% of print journals to off-site storage. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any cancelled titles, and anything more than 5 years old. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1 business-day delivery </li></ul>
  19. 19. Essential Questions <ul><li>Is the curricular need better served with an item in reference or the circulating collection? </li></ul><ul><li>Would you buy it again? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Could the funds be better spent on circulating books or other resources? </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Basic Early Policies Adopted <ul><li>Electronic versions of reference materials were preferred. </li></ul><ul><li>If available electronically, hard copy taken out of reference. </li></ul><ul><li>Bibliographies taken out of reference. </li></ul><ul><li>About 30% of reference. </li></ul>
  21. 21. “ Process of Elimination” <ul><li>Lists of remaining titles given to each librarian. </li></ul><ul><li>Each person reviewed the lists and made their priorities. </li></ul><ul><li>Options: keep in reference, send to stacks, send to storage, or weed. </li></ul>
  22. 22. “ Process of Elimination” <ul><li>Combined reviewed master list was discussed and decisions made. </li></ul><ul><li>There were no pre-assigned targets or quotas. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Results <ul><li>Not every subject needs to be represented. </li></ul><ul><li>For most primary subject areas (music, for example), we retain one general, multivolume set and keep it current. </li></ul><ul><li>Almost all single volumes less than 5 years old went to the stacks; older items sent to off-site storage. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Results <ul><li>New titles with “ Almanac, Atlas, Bibliography, Encyclopedia, Index ,” etc. no longer automatically put in reference. </li></ul><ul><li>Reference may not have the most current materials ( Mental Measurements Yearbook ). </li></ul><ul><li>If in doubt… let it circulate. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Where the Items Went
  26. 26. Outcomes <ul><li>We can tie the reference collection directly to curricular needs. </li></ul><ul><li>We know why what we have in reference is there. </li></ul><ul><li>Released extensive funds for better use. </li></ul><ul><li>No problems with students or faculty. </li></ul>