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Milner forums on monograph collections

Milner Library

Milner Library on the Illinois State campus.

Milner Library will hold two open forums to gather input from the campus community concerning possible future decisions and plans concerning the collection of monographs in the library’s basement storage area.  The forums will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, and from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 6, in Room 164D on the lower level of the library.

The basement storage area contains less frequently used materials, including books and older periodicals, which are available by request. The number of requests has diminished from approximately 5,700 in FY12, to 4,500 in FY13 and 3,800 in FY14, a 33 percent drop in two years. In general, academic libraries are witnessing dramatic declines in book circulation, and not just for those books in storage.

Changes in book circulation come at time when Milner Library is working to address water infiltration challenges. Before any construction can be done, Milner librarians would need to move materials in the basement storage area. As a result, a deliberate review and assessment of those collections is being undertaken to make informed decisions about retaining materials needed for teaching, learning and research.

During the forums, Milner librarians will share additional information about the overall project timeline, gather input for refining the withdrawal criteria to better reflect interdisciplinary needs and seek feedback on an acceptable schedule for retrieval of items from an off-site storage area.

Milner Library’s Collection Development Withdrawal Policy provides the following criteria for withdrawal: (1) use, research value, and availability; (2) language; (3) specific classes of books; (4) condition; and (5) age. In addition, subject librarians will utilize specific collection development policies that have been developed and revised over the years for various subject areas.

Some withdrawn materials will be moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as part of a consortia, Last Copy Project. Milner librarians will begin evaluating the monograph collection during the summer and will likely continue into the fall semester. Unlike some previous large withdrawal projects at Milner, there are no quotas for the number of items to be withdrawn.

Subject librarians will compile lists of titles recommended for withdrawal. These lists of proposed titles will be shared with classroom faculty and Milner is discussing methods that would allow for physical review. Feedback from the forums will help Milner develop the best ways for sharing recommendations and allowing for faculty review.

Additional comments or questions can be directed to Chad Kahl, interim associate dean of Public Services and Information Technology, at cmkahl@ilstu.edu.