Shared print archiving
Our nation’s libraries and high-density storage facilities are reaching capacity, and, despite aggressive digital library development, are adding 25,000,000 new printed volumes per year. College and universities are reluctant to build more space for books and pressure is on to use valuable central campus space for learning commons and purposes other than book storage. Something has to give: its probably our concept of each library as an independent collection and each school as going it alone in addressing the needs of faculty and students in its managing legacy collections.
I am working with colleagues nationally to help shape an intentional, national shared collection comprised of a coordinated network of college and university libraries and storage facilities. Every school will need to decide if it wants to opt into one or more regional and national shared print archiving programs. My consulting practice is evolving to help both individual college and universities and consortia determine how best to manage local conversations and collections, and institutional policy and practices as they move into the era of collective collections.
Over the next 3-5 years many difficult collection management decisions will have to be made in the nation’s college and universities. The potential for making mistakes in a national drawdown and for engendering conflict and misunderstanding on campuses is great. My 38 years in lovingly developing and managing college library collections, combined with my deep commitment to and broad experience in preservation of the record of scholarship, equip me to contribute a voice of reason and caution to this great movement towards shared collections. My combination of pragmatism and idealism, my inherent conservatism about collection management and clear acceptance of new realities and opportunities drive me to work in the arena of shared print archiving. I hope to assist campuses and consortia in developing collection management strategies that address local needs and reflect local values and political realities by connecting these local strategies to nascent regional and national programs and strategies.
My first consulting job in this arena was for the University of Minnesota and MINITEX. To get a sense of my approach and how this can work for one institution and a state-wide consoritum, see https://wiki.minitex.umn.edu/MLACEvaluationTaskForce
There will be great consternation, even outrage, as faculty learn that libraries are being forced to weed their collections. Surprisingly to some people, I find I actually enjoy working with faculty to help come to an understanding about how a particular institution can most responsibly manage down its legacy collections. Helping faculty understand the pressures libraries are under, the options they have, and the opportunities for collective action often results in greater understanding and acceptance of the exegencies of managing legacy collections.