Why Now? The Case for Deselection
At a time when print use is declining, there is an opportunity to free space and resources by intelligently drawing down print monograph collections. The availability of data and services to support rules-based deselection now makes it easy to pursue this opportunity
More and more books remain unused
- In 2011, OhioLINK determined that 6% of its 30 million books accounted for 80% of circulation.
- In 2010, Cornell University reported that 55% of its books acquired since 1990 had never circulated.
- Circulation in academic libraries dropped 37% between 2002 and 2008.
- A library user in 2008 checked out 80% fewer books than a user in 1995.
More books have been digitized
- Hathi Trust: 5.3 million book titles
- Google Book Search: 15 Million+
- Internet Archive: 1.5 million
- Europeana: 2 million
More digital books are securely archived
The cost of keeping a book is significant
A June 2010 CLIR report concludes that a library bears an annual cost of:
- $4.26 for each volume held in open stacks
- $0.86 for each volume held in high-density storage
In a modest-sized academic library (say, 200K volumes), it is possible, even likely, that 50% of the collection—100,000 books—have not circulated within the past ten years. In open stacks, this equals $426,000 spent per year with no benefit to users; in high-density storage, $86,000.
Many copies can be removed safely
A quarter of the secure digital titles held in Hathi Trust are also held in print by more than 100 libraries.
Distribution of Titles by WorldCat Holdings
Source: Constance Malpas, Program Officer, OCLC Research
Related SCS Writings & Presentations
- Sample & Hold: Rick Lugg's blog (50+ entries, updated regularly)
- Doing What's Obvious: Library Space and the Fat Smoker. Against the Grain 21 (1). 2009.
- The Disapproval Plan: Rules-Based Weeding and Storage Decisions. Against the Grain 20 (6). 2009.
- Weeding: The Time is Now. Against the Grain 20 (4). 2008.
- Allan Kent et al., Use of Library Materials: The University of Pittsburgh Study. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1979.
- “On the Cost of Keeping a Book” in The Idea of Order. The Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR). 2010.
- Malpas, Constance. 2011. Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research.
- Life Cycle Costs of Library Collections: Creation of Effective Performance and Cost Metrics for Library Resources. College & Research Libraries vol. 62 no. 6 541-553. 2001.
- OhioLINK Collection Building Task Force, Julia Gammon and Edward T. O’Neill. 2011. OhioLINK OCLC Collection and Circulation Analysis Project 2011. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research
For more in-depth research, see the SCS Deselection Knowlege-Base