Temple Times Online Edition
    APRIL 27, 2006
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Library creates depository, centralizes collections

Over the summer, the University Libraries will undergo several changes.

By next fall, resources located at the University’s Main Campus branch libraries will be centralized and the shelves of Paley Library will be thinned out to provide desperately needed space.

With the completion this summer of a new library depository, a holding facility for books, the staff will finally have the opportunity to relocate parts of the collections and create expanded student study and collaboration space, comfortable lounge areas and more room for new materials and services.

“Many large academic research libraries have successfully used shelving facilities like this to manage their growing collections and open up space within the library buildings to meet the varied needs and expectations of today’s students and scholars,” said Larry Alford, vice provost for libraries and University librarian.

During the summer, the library will move a portion of its lesser-used volumes into the depository, which will be located on campus just two blocks away from Paley Library. The depository will be located in a portion of the Kardon Building and outfitted as a state-of-the-art holding facility with precision controls for temperature, ventilation and humidity.

Over the years since Paley opened in 1966, much of the quiet study space has been lost to make room for collections, which now number close to 3 million volumes, with more than 2 million in Paley alone.

“It’s painfully obvious that Paley is overcrowded,” Alford said. “Study areas have gradually disappeared over the years as shelving has taken over, and the study carrels and tables that do exist are crammed together. This is something that was mentioned to me over and over again by students and faculty when I arrived at Temple.”

Plans for the creation of the depository have been under discussion for a number of years, and started moving forward about a year ago with financial support from the University administration and the Board of Trustees. The space is designed to hold 2 million volumes, including archival and special collection materials that require stable environmental conditions.

Photos courtesy Temple University Libraries
During the summer, a portion of Paley Library’s lesser-used volumes will be moved into a new, on-campus depository in Kardon Building (above), which will provide much-needed space for study and lounge areas as well as new materials.

Half of the depository will be completed in mid-June, and the remainder will be ready in July. An experienced library moving contractor will handle the moving in consultation with library administrators and staff. Subject-specialist librarians are currently reviewing lists of materials to decide what stays in Paley and what should be removed to the depository.

Older issues of journal volumes that Temple users can currently access online will be moved, including titles in the JSTOR and ScienceDirect collections. Aging journals to which the University no longer subscribes will also be relocated, in addition to selected monographs that have not circulated in more than 10 years but remain important for research. Similar materials from the Health Sciences Center libraries and the Law Library will also be moved to the depository, in addition to a number of special collections materials.

Library staff will be able to quickly and easily retrieve materials from the depository upon request. Any materials that turn out to be heavily used will be returned to the Paley collections.

With the creation of the depository, several departmental libraries will close, providing the opportunity to expand services and reintegrate collections that have been split for years because of limited space.

“I’m fully aware of how difficult the closure of smaller libraries can be after they have served a department’s faculty and students so well over the years,” Alford said. “I hope, however, that we can transform this into an opportunity to build and expand services to those library users, which we were unable to do in the smaller, overcrowded environments with staffing spread out over so many locations.”

During the summer, the Zahn, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematical Sciences libraries will close. According to Assistant University Librarian Carol Lang, these special-subject libraries have become cramped for space despite the relocation of large portions of bound journals to Paley and to storage over the past several years.

Lang also said that having these collections moved to Paley will be more convenient for students and scholars because the service hours are limited at the branch libraries. Integrated into Paley, access to these materials will expand dramatically, with more staff and librarian assistance at hand.

Jenifer Baldwin, head of Reference and Instructional Services, noted that having these collections in one place will also be beneficial for students who are researching interdisciplinary topics.

“My experience working with patrons over the reference desk has shown that both undergraduate and graduate students are doing highly interdisciplinary work that benefits from access to myriad resources available in one facility,” Baldwin said. “Their serendipitous interactions with each other in the stacks really strengthen not only their research, but also their sense of community across disciplines.”

The Zahn Library will be the first to close. Its last day of operation will be Friday, May 12, the last day of spring semester. Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematical Sciences will follow. Library staff expect that the closings will be completed and the library materials distributed to Paley and the depository by the end of the summer sessions.

The online catalog will be updated to clearly indicate the new location of materials. In addition, the library Web site, http://library.temple.edu, will feature an FAQ and updates on the transitions.

- By Karen Shuey