Notice of Library's Collection Review Process

Atkins Library has been working for several years to adapt to changes in student and faculty use of library collections, services, and spaces. The availability and convenience of online materials to support research and teaching, more sophisticated search and discovery tools, and rapid delivery from other libraries of materials we do not own have reduced the use of the printed books and journals we store in the building. Academic Affairs has provided funding for us to purchase online backfiles and subscriptions to heavily-used journals, e-books, and videos that enable 24/7 and remote access to more resources.

As the student and campus population grows, UNC Charlotte faces space challenges. Students’ need for individual and group study spaces and academic support services has led to a significant and continuing increase in student use of library spaces. With support from Academic Affairs, we have renovated the Ground and 1st Floors of Atkins to facilitate student study, collaboration, and creativity; however, students also desire access to new technologies and equipment, which they can use in their assignments. A few of the technologies the Library either is offering or plans to support include: 3D printing, data visualization, multimedia, digital projects, and creative tools such as the Adobe suite. Additionally, students benefit from exposure to the unique and rare materials held in our Special Collections and University Archives. These materials are not available from other sources and help students analyze and understand our history and culture. J. Murrey Atkins Library continues to rise to the challenge to provide such services, collections, equipment, and spaces.

The Library has never conducted a comprehensive inventory of its collections. Traditionally, the status of an academic library was judged by the number of volumes in the collection, so many gifts and other materials that were not relevant to the curriculum were added to the collection to boost volume counts. Today, academic and research libraries are valued by the relevance of the collection to the university’s curriculum and research concentrations. As a result of having added materials indiscriminately and not reviewing the collections, the building is overcrowded and we do not have space to shelve new materials. Students cannot locate materials in an unfamiliar topic area because we have multiple runs - the books are not in a single sequence.

The Library must review our physical collections to ensure we have the appropriate materials in the building to support the UNC Charlotte curriculum and research interests of students and faculty.  The process, which started in summer 2016, includes multiple stages and provides faculty with many opportunities to provide input into the decision-making. We hope to secure out-of-building storage for books and journals from which items can be retrieved and made available within 24 hours (more quickly than interlibrary loan).

The collection review process includes both our print journals and monographs.

Print Serials Review

We have completed a number of steps in the print journal review, and other steps are currently in progress:

  1. Full inventory of the collection – completed August 2016

  2. Review of the print collection by subject librarians – in process

  3. Review of titles identified for further faculty review– late fall 2016

  4. Removal of titles selected for discard or storage – spring 2017

Plans are currently underway to move the majority of the print journals to out-of-building storage. Articles would be delivered electronically through our request article service within approximately 24 hours.  Single or multiple volumes of a bound journal could be retrieved and even returned to the collection upon request.

Review of the Print Book Collection

We are currently in the early stages of the review of our print books. Books in each subject area will be considered independently because of disciplinary differences, but the general review criteria include :  

  • Publication date

  • Acquisition date

  • Circulation statistics

  • Genre

  • Number of copies available at UNC Charlotte

  • Number of copies available at other libraries both regionally and nationally

By narrowing the lists using these criteria, subject librarians will be able to identify titles that might be removed from the collection, pending faculty review. The steps in the print book collection review include:

  1. Review of the print book collection by subject librarians – In process, estimated completion mid-Spring 2017

  2. Review of titles identified for further review by faculty – spring 2017

  3. Removal of titles selected for discard – spring 2017

  4. Public book sale of removed titles – end of spring 2017

  5. Complete inventory of the collection – in process, estimated completion early summer 2017

This is just an initial review of our collection, identifying titles that can be easily removed from the collection including multiple copies, outdated materials, etc.  We will continue to review the print collection from now on to ensure we always have the most comprehensive and appropriate collection for research and study on our campus.

We recognize the significance of this process and welcome questions and suggestions. Please feel free to contact your subject librarian or the Collection Development Librarian at any time.