Distributed Collections #blogjune

At the end of last year, the shelves at our campus were full, and we were getting more items for our Women’s Studies program transferred from another campus. We’d weeded the collection relatively recently, and so my bright idea (one of the few that I have) was to relocate most of the resources relevant to their study to another location – in this case, their classroom.

The cleverest part of the plan was that I was on Long Service Leave when the work had to be done, but still, someone has to come up with the ideas. Now that I’m back at work it seems to be working very well. The program uses a single classroom, which isn’t used by others, and they use a thin version of our LMS to book things out. We seem to be getting *more* of their students coming over to the library. I wonder whether it’s because it’s a relatively safe intorduction to using us? Most of them get tours and/or information literacy sessions at the beginning of the year, but from the student’s point of view it’s probably just part of the background noise of information that they have to process. And most of them are new to study, often many years after they finished school.

Students often return their items here, which we then have to take back to their classroom, but the little extra work (and exercise!) is worth it if it means that it makes access to our collection easier for our patrons. One thing that I would like do do is to convince the lecturers to let us arrange the stuff according to DDC. They have it arranged in ‘categories’ and, I suspect that the funny numbers on the spine are just made up.

I’ll be interested to see whether our end of year stats reflect increased use. I’m even thinking of trying with another program area. Academic libraries often have distributed collections – Law libraries, Medical, and so on. Anyone have positive (or negative) experiences of a distributed collection?



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