Planning for Library Collections – March 26, 2020

Librarians planned for the inevitable reduction of the main circulating collection. Using data gathered from the current library catalog and data harvested from the previous system, as well as a holdings analysis conducted by SUNY Library Services to identify which titles had few or zero holdings within SUNY, librarians put together several scenarios to share with campus project stakeholders. Regardless of which scenario was selected, the collection would have to be reduced in size to fit into any temporary location on campus while Milne Library underwent abatement and renovation. The College Archives and Special Collections and the TERC collection would remain intact.

Collection decisions were made based on the following factors:

  • Books purchased in the last five years
  • Books of local or regional value
  • Books with few holdings in SUNY libraries
  • Books with circulation history:
    • Natural sciences: books with circulation history in the last five years
    • Social sciences: books with circulation history in the last seven years
    • Humanities and Mathematics: books with circulation history in the last ten years

To make the process more efficient and save valuable hours, Bill Jones, Digital Resources and Systems Librarian, created a data dashboard to search and analyze usage data from the legacy catalog system with an option to export data in a meaningful report.

Librarians invited faculty to review a list of potential weeding candidates and solicited input on the titles intended for retention. Alana Nuth sent a message to department chairs, deans, and directors on March 26, 2020 to invite faculty to view a list of books that would be otherwise disposed.  An Excel file was sent with the message, listing titles intended for retention and a link to a library catalog profile which listed only books intended for withdrawal. Faculty could search and browse this special catalog view and flag titles for retention by clicking a purchase request button that had been customized for this exercise. Faculty were given until May 1, 2020 to make their selections.

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