Letter to Faculty, February 2018

Feb. 26, 2018

Dear Danforth Campus Faculty,

The shelves in the Danforth Campus libraries are over-crowded. To relieve this problem in the short run and create sufficient space for normal acquisition of new books for the next few years, the University Libraries have planned a project designed to support all of our community, with the unanimous agreement of the Faculty Library Committee.

This Short-term Collection Space Management Project will remove print journal volumes otherwise redundantly available through electronic and shared collections. We will remove items only after academic departments have vetted them. This 12-month effort will reduce the immediate pressure on our physical collection capacity while ensuring accessibility to affected journal volumes through trusted means, including perpetual electronic access and the variety of inter-institutional sharing practices long characteristic of academic research libraries.

This project is limited to printed journals only. Eligible volumes are those to which the University Libraries has immediate or near immediate alternative access. The project will neither eliminate the University’s ability to ensure access to any journal title, nor completely remove any title from our resource holdings.

We have consulted the Faculty Library Committee to identify the issues critical to our faculty colleagues and to develop a project plan that satisfies faculty concerns. The interactive plan enables systematic faculty input and engagement with our subject librarians and project leads during the project to safeguard faculty research.

Subject librarians will inform their assigned departmental faculty regarding journal volumes targeted for removal and the process for deaccessioning them. The project provides the vital opportunity for faculty response in a review process concerning the potential impacts on research. The libraries have assembled a project website, providing complete and current information about the project (including the project plan, lists of affected journals with feedback options, and other supporting documentation) at library.wustl.edu/about/policies/collection-space-management-initiative.

The project involves eight steps to take place over the next 12 months:

Project Overview
Step I: Libraries will initiate a communications plan
Step II: Libraries will identify items for de-accessioning
Step III: Libraries will distribute lists of eligible items to Faculty and Departments
Step IV: Subject Librarians will communicate with relevant Faculty and Departments
Step V: Faculty can review eligible items and can request items to be removed from lists
Step VI: Items approved for de-accessioning will be processed for withdraw
Step VII: WU community will be allowed to retrieve de-accessioned materials
Step VIII: De-accessioned items will be recycled for paper pulp

Regarding the Social Work Library’s Collections: The Brown School Library and its collections are independent of Washington University Libraries and are not included in this project. However, the Brown School Library will be performing its own collection and space inventory. If you have questions about this project please feel free to contact the Brown School Library Director, Susan Fowler, at fowler@wustl.edu.

This project requires ending the current moratorium on deaccessioning of library materials. Based on Faculty Library Committee endorsement of our project strategy, Provost Thorp has granted our request to lift the moratorium for this project.

Please visit the project website (see above link) to familiarize yourselves with our effort. Also, expect to hear from your subject librarian shortly, as we initiate this important project. As project sponsor, I am also happy to receive your inquiries or comments.


Denise Stephens' signature




Denise Stephens, Vice Provost and University Librarian