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Thursday, November 4, 2010
3:00 - 3:45 PM
Speakers: Michael A. Matos - American University; Patricia J. West - American University Library
Reference collections are best managed through collaboration and cooperative assessment. A “blue skies” approach to print reference is to never discard a title. However, for most institutions budgets are tight, space is limited, and today’s information seeking behavior favors digital formats. A major evaluation of any reference collection is especially difficult due to the existence of multiple stake holders and a lack of clear "ownership." And, while the bulk of scholarly literature discusses weeding collections through reliance on internal documents, bibliographies and other librarian-created tools, this paper will examine an innovative process for assessing and reallocating reference resources based upon consensus building.
We will explain how a systematic assessment of the reference collection was conducted via small teams of subject specialists comprised from units throughout the library. We will elaborate on the method used to weight usage statistics against the teams’ recommendations. Using a model based upon transparency and consensus we were able to arrive at timely and thoughtful decisions without strife. We will elaborate on the primary and tangential benefits that resulted from the project, such as increased familiarity with the reference collection, cost savings, re-evaluation of the lending policies and location of the collection, and the creation of a new reference collection plan based upon a forward thinking user-centric model. Attendees will gain valuable insight into this portable, cost-effective, and straightforward approach to re-envisioning reference resources.