The UCSB Library has long been active in planning for the anticipated Addition and Renovation Project. The precipitating issue driving the project is the need to correct the seismically-deficient 2-story section that houses many volumes, several service operations, and numerous staff, as well as adding greatly needed upgraded spaces to support growing needs for scholarly collaboration. During the latter part of 2011, the Library and campus planners were informed that the 8-story tower—previously not included in the project scope—also requires seismic retrofitting.
As engineers and campus partners study options to reinforce the tower, we know one thing is certain: the eventual solution and associated work will consume some currently occupied collections space. In order to be prepared for construction, the Library will need to relocate some materials to alternative locations—some temporarily and some permanently. While there is a short-term need to work with a portion of the collections, the Library would like to do that work in the context of a longer term plan. It is important to note that the Initiative is not driven by collections reduction goals.
Magnitude of the Challenge
The Library anticipates that the topmost rows of books situated in the tower—primarily on floors 4 through 7—will need be relocated to allow for the installation of a fire-suppression system. In addition, another yet unspecified number of volumes will need to be relocated where book stacks do not meet ADA requirements. The estimated impact of removing the topmost rows of books on floors 4 through 7 is approximately 15% of the tower’s capacity (some 100,000 volumes). When all potentially impacted materials are counted, the number of relocated volumes may be 130,000. Further, decisions about the locations of some tower materials may have cascading longer term effects on planning how to best arrange volumes throughout the Library complex. Campus is working with us to secure local off-campus space to accommodate this need.
Faculty Helping to Lead the Way
The Library is assembling the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Library Collection Space Planning to help shape the configuration of collections housed on-site and—by extension—the profile of collections housed in alternative stack locations. This is a critical discussion because, as with other research university libraries, the UCSB Library’s holdings are primarily influenced by the research and instructional requirements of our faculty.
Convened by the University Librarian, the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee is composed of members (including student representatives) nominated by academic deans and the Academic Senate. Members reflect the scholarly interests of broad disciplinary areas—namely humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The Committee will work under a short timeline —April to June 2012—to inform the Library’s understanding of which physical materials are most important to retain on-site based on two primary questions:
- What are behaviors and preferences relative to accessing the Library’s physical collections?
- What are the perceived impacts to research and instruction associated with alternative access strategies?
Factors Shaping the Work
Many possibilities and questions emerge in the conversation about collections in the evolving research library. As the UCSB Library engages stakeholders (faculty and students) to arrive at the best possible solution to our physical challenges, a number of factors apply.
- There is diversity across and within disciplines with respect to information behaviors, preferences, and access impacts.
- While the Library envisions the addition of new space resulting from the Addition and Renovation Project, other than the space for housing special collections and rare materials, most of it is allocated to meeting the demand for increasingly diverse and collaborative spaces distributed across the Library complex. Little new space for collections will result from the Project.
- The Library’s physical collections will continue to increase over time. However, spaces for collections will remain relatively fixed.
- Reliable and timely services must emerge to maximize access to collections in using innovative and sustainable approaches (onsite in the library complex, as well as nearby in local alternative stacks).
The Committee will provide essential insight and guidance assisting Library collection managers and project planners to obtain and interpret data from an all-faculty survey describing Library research behaviors, access preferences, and potential impacts of alternative access to materials. The outcomes of this important assessment will be a Report of Study Findings used to directly inform the Library’s short-term plan for project preparation and the implementation of indicated large-scale collection shifts and relocations. Most important, the Committee’s work will shape long-term collection management strategy by establishing a rational and sustainable practice for planning based on the interactions between scholarly collections configuration, access alternatives, and research and instruction.
Working with the Library collection managers and project leaders, the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Library Collection Space Planning will ensure achievement of the following milestones:
April–May: Implementation and interpretation of data following a planned faculty survey on collection behaviors, access preferences, and access impacts.
June: Report of study findings and committee retirement.
Summer–Fall: Library develops and implements plans for initial collection shifts and relocations.
Questions? Stay Informed!
The Library is committed to keeping the UCSB community informed about the issues, challenges, objectives, and outcomes related to the Library Collection Space Planning Initiative. For more information, updates, and reporting associated with the Library Space Planning Initiative and the Addition and Renovation Project, consult the Project website.