Library Stock Review Project
Over the Summer, we will remove some final copies of low-use books from our libraries and stores in order to improve access to more relevant texts.
We’ve worked with the academic community to agree a systematic and standard approach to withdrawing material. In January, we shared an outline of our approach with Schools and Departments. Using objective data, we’ve identified titles matching the following criteria which we'd like academic colleagues to review:
Item not borrowed for a certain number of years (10 for Arts and Social Sciences, 6 for STEM)
Item also available in a number of other Research Libraries UK (RLUK) libraries (7-10 for Arts and Social Sciences, 3 for Science, MHS, Engineering)
The resulting lists of eligible titles are available below. Colleagues in academic departments are welcome to identify any titles you would like us to keep. Simply let us know on the listings themselves by the end of March 2019 (a 7 week reviewing period).
From April, we will review your responses and make plans. We welcome your engagement with this process so that collaboratively we can make the right decisions about our collections.
If you have any questions about the process, please contact the Collections Team.
Current listings which meet the criteria
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CONSULTATION PERIOD HAS NOW ENDED
- For academic review (items not borrowed for 10 years and available in 7-10 other RLUK libraries). Please review the lists and select Yes from the drop-down in the Keep column for any titles that you consider are still relevant and therefore want us to retain. Please add a brief note into the adjacent column explaining why you want it to be kept.
- For information only - we will withdraw these items (not borrowed for 10 years and available in 11+ other RLUK libraries).
George Green Library
- For academic review (items not borrowed for 6 years and available in 3+ other RLUK libraries). Please review the lists and select Yes from the drop-down in the Keep column for any titles that you consider are still relevant and therefore want us to retain. Please add a brief note into the adjacent column explaining why you want it to be kept.
Central Store 1
Central Store 2
The 'small print'
The listings are based on a snapshot of material which met the agreed criteria on November 1st 2018. We have worked with very large spreadsheets of data from our library management system and the Copac Collection Management Tool to arrive at the listings.
We have checked that the listings do not include items on an existing or archived reading list.
In some cases on the spreadsheet, the Title column appears to have been ‘chopped off’. This is the output received from our library management system. You may be able to form an opinion from the Author and Title columns alone. If not, you can find the full record on NUsearch using this information (or the ISBN).
- The listings are sorted by classmark. They include oversize books and pamphlets.
A small percentage of long-term loans may be included in the listings, if the loan has auto-renewed over a number of years. In such cases - and if an item has subsequently been borrowed since 1st November 2018 - we will not ask the borrower to return it.
We will not split up items which are part of a series or multivolume set and have done our best to exclude these from the listings. However, such items are included where we have never held the whole set.
We have never undertaken a full library stock check. As such, we suspect that some items which have in fact been missing for some time will be included amongst the listings.
Which libraries are included in this pilot?
The pilot will include all books in Central Store, in George Green Library and the following subject areas in Hallward Library:
The choice of subjects in Hallward Library is based largely on an analysis of the stock management challenges in those areas and a review of some areas with out of date classification codes.
Why do we need to do this?
In a typical year, we might buy around 15,000 new print items. Shelves in many locations are too full to add new books, and retention of unused titles makes it both difficult to find specific books and to browse for titles most likely to be of interest. Library staff regularly remove previous editions and multiple copies from our collection.
This review looks at final copies of low use books which are widely held in multiple RLUK libraries. We want to work in partnership with academics to make decisions about these titles. Our approach has been approved by the University’s Teaching and Learning Committee.
Other Research Libraries are not disposing of their library stock in this way
Many of our fellow RLUK libraries have implemented a similar process in recent years, and their experience has informed our recommended approach. UoN Libraries proposed criteria is more generous (ie conservative). There has been a proposal for a national research reserve, but this appears to be some years away from operation.
If libraries and stores are full, can’t the University be asked to provide more space?
We have made a case for additional shelf/storage space. This has been unsuccessful. However, good management of book collections has additional benefits in terms of locating items, therefore it is prudent to have a process for withdrawing material that is no longer required.
How will the released space be used?
The space on the shelves will be used for new books. We are also working with Estates to review library spaces, in the context of the success of the new George Green Library, and hope to make them bright, light and airy for everyone who uses them.
What happens to withdrawn books?
We work with the not-for-profit social enterprise Better World Books
who take all withdrawn stock and attempt to sell it on. Any profits that they make on these books are passed on to a literacy charity, which for us is Read International (a charity started by students at Nottingham some years ago). Our Library Matter's blog post
gives more information on our partnership with Better World Books.
Can I take withdrawn books?
Books will be available to purchase second-hand online from our partner Better World Books.
What will happen to books identified for retention/relegation?
We will keep material which has not been borrowed for a certain number of years (10 for Arts and Social Sciences, 6 for STEM) and which is available in 7 or fewer other RLUK libraries UK (3 or fewer for STEM). Our criteria is more generous (ie conservative) than other RLUK libraries in this regard. We would hope to relegate these items to Store, space permitting. Titles which academics ask us to retain as part of this review may likewise be moved to Store.
What subjects will be next?
Experience during the pilot project will inform the quantities that we (and academic colleagues) can manage to deal with using this method, which will in turn lead us to decide where next to review.