April 10, 2000
Volume 52, No. 28
Woodruff stacks blooming--and bursting
Students and faculty who have visited the Woodruff Library stacks this semester may have noticed books "blossoming" with pink or green tags. This is not a sign of spring, but rather one signaling that the stacks are severely overcrowded.
Books with pink slips have been identified as candidates for the Storage Library, and those with green slips may be withdrawn from the collection altogether. In both cases the library is looking for faculty feedback on which of these books should remain in the stacks.
By the end of fiscal year 2000, library staff estimate that the Woodruff stacks will be 97 percent full; shelving should be no more than 80 percent full for patrons to use the library efficiently. As the stacks approach full capacity, the potential for shelving errors greatly increases, and books literally start getting lost. Our staff is currently using study carrels to shelve overflow in some rapidly growing areas of the collection.
The General Libraries' print collection is now growing at a rate of 56,000 volumes per year--the equivalent of one mile of shelving. To allow for new additions, library staff are trying to identify approximately 75,000 items that may be sent to storage.
Each discipline is using slightly different criteria to make its selections, but a few guidelines apply across all or most disciplines: volumes of science and technology journals published before 1980 will be considered for storage, as will social science journals from 1970 or earlier. In the humanities, staff are considering the print copies of journals for which the entire backfile is available electronically. We are also looking at duplicate copies of little-used titles and books that have not circulated in 10 years or more.
The Storage Library is located in the Materiel Center at 1762 Clifton Road. It is a climate-controlled warehouse equipped with compact shelving and used by all the Emory libraries except Oxford's. All General Libraries materials in the Storage Library appear in EUCLID.
Browsing the stacks is not possible in the Storage Library. To compensate, the library is enhancing EUCLID's "browse" feature to make it more apparent that the function browses through the collection in call number order, capturing all materials as they would appear on the shelves.
Emory faculty, students and staff may request stored items and have them delivered within 24 hours, Monday through Friday, to one of the libraries on campus, or researchers may use materials on-site at the Storage Library. Call Allison Shirley at 404-727-8161 or Kevin Miller at 404-727-8160 to schedule an appointment or to tour the facility. A copier/scanner soon will be in place for electronic delivery of journal articles to the desktop, in addition to fax.
Remote storage of library materials has become a fact of life at most large research universities, given the high demand for space on the central campus. Of the 122 members of the Association of Research Libraries, 80 now utilize some sort of remote storage.
Nevertheless, testing indicates it would be feasible to install compact shelving in Woodruff Library as an alternative. If the entire stack tower were to be converted to compact shelving, it is estimated that capacity could be increased by as much as 90 percent. In addition, when Candler Library can be renovated, it will provide more space.
Both of these projects will require a great deal of planning and could take several years to complete. In the meantime, as the stacks near full capacity, the library has no choice but to proceed with the storage project planned for this year.
Faculty members are being asked to take the time to review the call number ranges that interest them and let library staff know of any titles they believe should be retained. Faculty may contact the selector designated for that specific subject area (for a list of selectors, see http://info.library.emory.edu/cm/cmseldir.htm), call Jane Treadwell at 404-727-0140 or send e-mail to email@example.com.
Jane Treadwell is director of collections and technical services for University Libraries.