More than one million hard-copy books are set to be removed from campus libraries in the coming years.
The move, which will wipe the shelves at four of the seven campus libraries, is the third phase in the library’s long-term plan to become efficient in the digital age. This third phase follows phases of renovations that included the major renewal of the Murray Library and the addition of the University Learning Centre and Learning Commons, which nearly doubled student learning areas and service spaces in the Murray Library.
The removal of the 1.1 million books will begin with the Veterinary Medicine Library in September 2013, followed by the Engineering Library in 2014. Both the Law Library and the Education and Music Library will be gutted at an undetermined later date.
The remaining books will create a three-branch collection in the main Murray Library, the Leslie and Irene Dubé Health Sciences Library, which will open in the spring of 2013, and the soon-to-be renamed Sciences Library, currently the Natural Sciences Library in the Geology Building.
According to the official planning document, the number of books that students have been taking out has has dropped 42 per cent in the past decade. The university acquired 1.6 million books from 2008 and years previous, of those books, 1.1 million have been deemed suitable for disposal or storage.
Books that are moved into the high-density storage facility will be available for students to read upon request in a provided location.
Associate Dean of the U of S Library Ken Ladd and co-author of the planning document told the Star Phoenix that most universities are revamping their libraries with a shift towards a more digital book collection. The goal for most facilities, he said, is to decrease book space by at least 20 to 30 per cent.
Despite the strategic move away from the printed copy, Dean of the U of S Library Vicki Williamson told the Star Phoenix that visits to the Murray Library skyrocketed since the renovations three years ago.
This space will be used to create a classroom, a reading room, graduate student commons, additional space for special collections and archives as well as a digitization centre where resources can be made easily available beyond the U of S community .
Ladd told On Campus News that the third and current phase of the plan will help define the university’s library by allotting new space for archives and special collections.
“With the way electronic resources are going, libraries are becoming more similar to each other except for their archives and special collections. These, as well as service and facilities, are what makes libraries unique from each other.”
The planning document describes the amount of books that will be removed as equivalent to 32 kilometres of bookshelves.
Photo: CCAC North Library/Flickr