The Webster Library Transformation project has offered the opportunity for yet another first: a comprehensive assessment and reconfiguration of our library collections at both campuses. This review will include different document types and formats including reference material, circulating monographs, government documents, maps, journals, microfilm/microfiche as well as media, curriculum and music materials.

Gloria Booth-Morrison, Special Projects Librarian, developed a plan to systematically assess the circulating book collection. The first phase of the plan targeted low use duplicates at both the Webster and Vanier Libraries and has to date resulted in a realization of 1,012 linear feet of space in the collection.  The second phase in spring 2015 will assess titles that have superseded editions (prior editions of the same title, not different versions of a literary work).  Each title will be reviewed to make sure that no earlier editions of particular academic interest are removed from our shelves.  The third phase will be a review of the overlap between our print and electronic books where we have copies of the same book in both formats. The final phase is a thorough assessment of our unique titles (where it is the last copy in our collection).

It is important to note that no donated material will be removed from the shelves.  Moreover, the Libraries are ensuring that as many books as possible that are removed from the collection find a new life elsewhere or are recycled as we are dedicated to sustainability in this project.  Materials that are in a condition where they can be used further (approximately 60% of books removed from the collection) are being sent to Better World Books, an organization dedicated to literacy initiatives worldwide.  Materials too damaged for re-use will be sent to recycling.

All projects include opportunities for consultation with our user community.  Consultation has already taken place for the maps project, which has been successfully concluded under the leadership of Alex Guindon, Geospatial and Data Services Librarian.  Consultation is currently ongoing for assessment of the government documents collection under the leadership of Michelle Lake, Government Publications Librarian.  We will begin in earnest consultation in March 2015 on the retention decisions for low-use last copies of books in our circulating collection.

Assessment is an essential process in the management of collections to ensure a healthy collection that supports our users’ needs now and into the future.  Stay tuned for future updates!

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk, CC BY-NC 2.0.