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Hannon Library Sustainable Collection Growth, 2018-2023

A three-year project to strategically withdraw library materials in order to make space for collection growth without compromising access to the scholarly record.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hannon Library has a huge basement. Can't we just keep everything?

The project overview on this LibGuide home page outlines the constraints that the library is facing when it comes to long-term collection growth. If we do not make space in the basement for future growth, our ability to build the collection for the future is hampered. This Sustainable Collection Growth project provides a road map for us to solve the challenge of limited space while still preserving access to the scholarly record. 

Even with infinite space, deselection of library materials is an essential part of responsible stewardship of a university library collection - both at LMU and at every other academic library. Removing outdated, damaged, and sometimes even unused books increases the overall quality of the collection by making current scholarship and seminal works more visible in the library catalog. Removing materials that no longer connect with the curriculum makes room for growth in academic disciplines not taught at the university decades ago.

But books! Libraries are supposed to love books! 

We love books. We really do! But even though it may sound counterintuitive, removing materials from the library collection is essential to responsible maintenance of the library collections, and librarians use the same professional judgment that we apply to build the collection to identify what we can remove. The best way to ensure that our collection meets faculty needs and those of LMU students is a close working relationship between librarian liaisons and faculty. The more that librarians know about faculty research interests and departmental curricula, the more informed that they can be when both building the collection and identifying candidates for deselection. 

What happens if a book is removed from the collection that I might need for my research in the future?

The networks that libraries rely upon to provide materials not owned locally are now very robust. Through traditional interlibrary loan and now our SCELC Shared Print Program, we are able to borrow materials not in the collection, both for books that LMU never purchased and if we were to withdraw a book that a researcher needs. And if you notice that the library no longer has a book that you need for your research and feel is essential for the library collections, please let us know, and we will work to find a replacement. 

Why do faculty need to come into the library in person to review the books targeted for potential deselection? 

Physical review of the materials provides essential context that is missing when reviewing a list of titles on a computer or in the library catalog - both for identifying materials that should absolutely remain in the collection and in making obvious immediate candidates for deselection based on format or condition. Through regular communication with departments and by making each set of books available for a 3-4 week review period, we are maximizing access and engagement with the review process for any faculty who wish to participate. 

Can faculty keep any of the deselected books?

Absolutely! We only ask that you indicate which materials you'd like by using the flags in the review area. Once the book is fully processed and withdrawn from the collection, we will arrange to get the book(s) to you.

I have more questions. 

If you have an unanswered question, it's likely that someone else also has the same one. Please let us know by contacting Glenn Johnson-Grau (contact info to the left), and we'll update this section of the resource guide as needed.