Thursday, July 24, 2014
Last updated: 4 days ago

1.1 million books to be removed from University of Saskatchewan libraries

Stacks at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC. Libraries are reducing the amount of stacks in favour of study space. File photo Kai Jacobson/The Ubyssey

Stacks at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC. Libraries are reducing the amount of stacks in favour of study space. File photo Kai Jacobson/The Ubyssey

SASKATOON (CUP) — More than one million hard-copy books are set to be removed from University of Saskatchewan 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.

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 Natural Sciences Library.

According to the official planning document, the number of books that students have been taking out 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.

FURTHER READING

With usage of digital resources increasing every years, what changes are being made to keep libraries relevant? Click here to read our feature from October.

Books that are moved into the high-density storage facility will be available for students to read upon request in a provided location.

Ken Ladd, associate dean of the U of S Library and co-author of the planning document, told the Star Phoenix that most universities are shifting 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, Vicki Williamson, dean of the U of S Library, 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 and 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.