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Tuesday, June 5 • 9:30am - 10:20am
Lean & Mean: Flash-Weeding to Reduce Risk and Maximize Return on Investment in the Physical Monograph Collection

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At Park University's McAfee Memorial Library, we are committed to supporting our patrons in the digital spaces in which they live, learn, and work. With over 80% of our students either online or at remote campus centers, it just makes sense for us to become a truly digital library. However, because not every resource can be provided online, maintaining our physical collections continues to be a high priority for us.
Due to the premium placed on campus space, we pour enormous resources into maintaining our physical collections. We store our books at an off-site Annex and page them upon request. We must pay rent for that off-site storage space, pay part-time staff to help maintain the stacks, and devote significant full-time staff hours to shelving, paging, and travel time between the library and the stacks. How do we balance the resources consumed by our physical collections against our need to spend time and money directly supporting students while building a world-class digital collection?
Our answer: flash-weeding.
Currently, our monographs are packed onto 7-foot shelving that is often filled to 100% capacity. Lack of space to reshelve books has led to a semi-permanent staging area where books that are returned from circulation are kept in call number order, but outside of the main file. Our Annex is a cave with floors that are slowly heaving. Shelving has collapsed in the past, and many remaining units are leaning despite the “earthquake bars” installed to stabilize them. The concrete floors are cracking as the stone underneath rises. Aisles are narrow, often no more than 20 inches wide. Poor lighting and dust are common throughout the space. These challenging working conditions will only worsen as time goes on.
Our flash-weeding project will reduce our physical monograph collection from over 97,000 volumes to an estimated 9,000 volumes, a reduction of 89%. The remaining monographs will be safely tucked into the most stable portion of our Annex, occupying 16% of their current physical space. By flash-weeding, we hope to complete the project by July 31.
This fast-track project eliminates phases when necessary and overlaps them whenever possible. We invite you to come learn about our vision for a lean and mean print collection, our process and progress, lessons learned along the way, and our prognosis for on-time completion.

avatar for Karen Bleier

Karen Bleier

Collection Management & Resource Sharing Librarian, Park University

Tuesday June 5, 2018 9:30am - 10:20am CDT
Water Room