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Derrik Hiatt says hi.

I participated in “Popular Reading Collections in Academic Libraries – A Panel Discussion on Goals, Parameters, and Campus Reactions” with colleagues from NCSU and UNC-CH. My prep for this talk prompted me to learn some fascinating facts about the Browsing Collection. According to an article from the digitized OGB archives (thanks SCA and DISC!), the current Browsing Collection began in the fall of 1960. I also discovered during my cursory literature review that the name “Browsing Collection” is now considered old school, and the cool kids call theirs something like the “Popular Reading Collection.” Across the three campuses, the collection is more popular among faculty and staff than among students. (I didn’t have any leisure reading time in college; today’s students probably don’t either.) ZSR Browsing circulations are 11% to students. To frame this a little more, Graphic Novels circulations are 48% to students and Main Stacks circulations are 61% to students. I’ve discussed these findings with Lauren, and we are keeping this information in mind when we transition selectors soon. If you use the Browsing Collection, thank Ellen D. – our tireless selector since 2010! Interested in becoming the next selector? Let me know!

Another set of panelists discussed ways to seamlessly (or perhaps less seam-fully) direct users to subscribed content when their main known-item discovery method is Google. Ideas included Anywhere Access by Readcube, Kopernio, etc. Right before this session, I checked my email and lo and behold, I heard from a linguistics student who couldn’t access a journal that her professor was confident we had. Sure enough, our access was JSTOR/Muse, and she had instead been looking at that journal’s website.

Denise Koufogiannakis and Denise Pan (yes, two Denises!) presented on collections budget reorganization. The University of Alberta – which has a general (i.e. non-endowment) collections budget of CAD$25M – went from over 700 fund codes, to about 200, to 43, then finally to two. The two funds left standing were “continuing” and “one-time.” Subject librarians stopped doing title-by-title selection altogether, and acquisitions staff complete all of their work in their campus business system (PeopleSoft) not in their ILS. Locally, some Big Deal packages have dropped all pretense of charging us title-by-title (individual titles that we can’t cancel anyway) and just charge us a single line item for the whole package. This phenomenon is generally called the “database model.” Derrik asked how they report out program-level spending for accreditation and similar functions. Denise Koufogiannakis responded that we already cannot accurately report subject-level spending due to approval plans, multi-subject databases and Big Deals, so Alberta taking this step changed this situation very little.

The annual Charleston Fast Pitch Competition featured four contestants with entrepreneurial ideas. Two ideas were awarded funding – one by audience text vote and one by a panel of judges. One winner (and the idea I personally found most compelling) is developing a GUI, open-source alternative to the GFA software for off-site inventory. The Goodall Family Charitable Foundation funded the prizes.

Of all the sessions, I paid the closest attention a discussion of how UVA will manage book storage during an impending closure for renovation. They developed an algorithm to determine which books will move to an adjacent building (open stacks), and which books would go temporarily to retrievable off-site storage 1.5 miles away. (No books will go to irretrievable storage.) Besides what the algorithm determined, they set aside small percentages of space in the adjacent building for (1) librarian overrides of the algorithm for specific titles, (2) new acquisitions, and (3) any item housed temporarily off-site with a single checkout/return during the closure. This plan resulted in furious protests from some faculty. The presentation content was split between discussing how they developed their algorithm and how they responded to the criticism.