Rightsizing the Academic Library Collection, Second Edition

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  • Description
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  • About the authors
  • Reviews

By learning how to rightsize, you will ensure that both the collection and your institution's available physical spaces meet the needs of your library's users.

Honored with many accolades, including a starred review in Library Journal, the first edition of this book demonstrated the power and flexibility of “rightsizing,” an approach that applies a scalable, rule-based strategy to help academic libraries balance stewardship of spaces and the collection. In the five years since Ward’s first edition, the shared print infrastructure has grown in leaps and bounds, as has coordination among programs. With this revision, Miller addresses new options as well as the increasing urgency to protect at-risk titles as you reduce your physical collection. Readers will feel confident rightsizing their institution’s own collections with this book’s expert guidance on

  • the concept of rightsizing, a strategic and largely automated approach that uses continuous assessment to identify the no- and low-use materials in the collection, and its five core elements;
  • crafting a rightsizing plan, from developing withdrawal criteria and creating discard lists to managing workflow and disposing of withdrawn materials, using a project-management focus; 
  • moving toward a “facilitated collection” with a mix of local, external, and collaborative services;
  • six discussion areas for decisions on participating in a shared print program;
  • factors in choosing a collection decision support tool;
  • relationships with stakeholders;
  • how to handle print resources after your library licenses perpetual access rights to the electronic equivalent; and
  • future directions for rightsizing 

 Chapter 1    Background
Chapter 2    Traditional Solutions for Deselecting Collections
Chapter 3    Rightsizing Policies and Strategies
Chapter 4    Project Management
Chapter 5    The Future of Rightsizing References 

Mary E. Miller

Mary E. Miller is the Director of Collection Management and Preservation at the University of Minnesota Libraries in Minneapolis, MN. She has written and spoken on archives and preservation, shared print programs, and consortial collection management. Her current research interests include print retention issues in academic libraries, risk factors that pertain to monographic retention commitments, models for determining the number of copies needed nationally to ensure survival of scarcely-held titles, and best practices for intentional, data-informed collection management, particularly during withdrawal projects. She holds a BA from the University of Illinois - Chicago, and an IMLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Suzanne M. Ward

Suzanne M. Ward retired in 2017 from the Purdue University Libraries in West Lafayette, Indiana. She published the first edition of Rightsizing the Academic Library Collection in 2015. She has also written extensively on patron-driven acquisitions, publishing A Guide to Implementing and Managing Patron-Driven Acquisitions in 2012 and making presentations on the topic both nationally and internationally. Her research interests included print retention issues and the use of e-books in academic libraries. Ward holds a BA from the University of California at Los Angeles, an AMLS from the University of Michigan, and an MA from the University of Memphis.

"I find 'rightsizing' a genuine upgrade from synonyms like weeding, pruning, or deselection. Rather than focusing on what is wrong with the removed materials and rather than acting solely or even primarily in service of space constraints, collections rightsizing seeks to examine materials through a user-centric lens. The collections rightsizing mindset involves affirmative, collaborative, and mindful choices of which materials to keep, resulting in an optimally-sized, attractive, and useful collection ... The authors include plenty of details about how to actually undertake such a project; examples throughout the text include policies to shape and guide a project, print retention memoranda of understanding (MOU) to ensure safety in rightsizing, removal candidate lists (and processes for creating these lists), and suggested procedures at all steps of the way."
— Technicalities

"Highly informative for those who need clear guidance on deselection criteria and how to plan for potential collaborations to manage shared print [collections]."
— Technical Services Quarterly

"Project management principles are explored to step through the process from initiation, planning, implementation, and on to closure. This helps guide the reader through all the steps that need to be considered with examples given to help understand and streamline processes. In particular the JSTOR example, for print journal withdrawal, makes it a replicable project for other academic libraries to follow ... I think the principles of rightsizing are imperative for a considered and holistic approach to academic library collection management. The strategies contained within this book are easy to follow, helpful, and will guide readers through the deselection process now and in the future."
— Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association

Praise for the first edition

"As a recognized leader in the area of collection management, Ward provides both strategic and practical advice for developing and implementing data-driven, rules-based projects that include print and electronic formats. The final chapter on the future of physical collections in academic libraries is especially thought provoking … Recommended reading for all academic librarians and library managers."
— Library Journal (starred review)

"Critically important for professional librarians charged with maintaining the standards of an academic library, as well as an addition to university level Library Science curriculum supplemental reading lists."
— Library Bookwatch

"Along with outlining the necessary background, Ward identifies each potential stakeholder's reaction and highlights various pathways librarians must take in order to continue moving forward … Unlike other books of this kind that focus mostly on philosophy and theory, Rightsizing the Academic Library Collection provides a realistic blueprint to effectively start and finish this massive undertaking."

"Contains the practical elements of weeding both book and journal collections ... Recommended."
— Choice

"An excellent resource for any library considering a major weeding project in the near future. The figures and examples scattered throughout are perfect for libraries looking for ways to justify decisions, as well as offering firm rules that can be referred back to should others question the choices."
— Catholic Library World