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K-State Today

November 4, 2019

Libraries plan for the return of collection to Hale, seek campus input

Submitted by Darchelle Martin

After the May 2018 fire at Hale Library, all collection materials were removed from the building. Once the renovation and restoration of Hale Library is complete, the Libraries will face the monumental and unprecedented task of organizing more than 1.5 million items in the collection and returning materials to the library.

The unique circumstance presents an opportunity for the Libraries to curate the collection to better align with current and anticipated research and teaching efforts at the university. To create the most useful and relevant circulating collection for K-State, the Libraries need information from the campus community. K-Staters are encouraged to complete a brief survey by Nov. 22 to provide details about their research and teaching activities.

Academic services librarians will also be reaching out to liaison departments, though departments are encouraged to contact their librarian at their earliest convenience. Information from these conversations and survey results will provide needed qualitative information in addition to a quantitative analysis of the print collection.

"One of our roles as librarians is the ongoing evaluation and management of our print collections," said Joelle Pitts, head of content development. "Since we have to go through our entire physical collection anyway, we can make use of this rare opportunity to perform a comprehensive curation of our print holdings."

In a recent analysis of more than 1 million items in the circulating collection, data showed that one-third of the materials have not been checked out since 1995. Electronic data is not available before that date. Results also indicated that the print collection is older than most academic research libraries. Ninety-six percent of the items analyzed are more than 10 years old.

"This is a strong indication that there is room for improvement. Intentional and thoughtful curation can improve the quality of the collection by removing materials that are dated or in poor condition. It will also make the print collection easier to browse," Pitts said. "We want our collection to align with our university's current and future needs, but to be successful, it's essential that we gather feedback from the campus community through conversations and survey responses."

For additional information and updates on the curation project, please visit the Libraries website. The campus community can complete the survey online.

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