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Brandeis Library Sustainable Collection Growth, 2018-2021

A three-year project to strategically withdraw library materials in order to make space for collection growth without compromising access to the scholarly record.

Questions? Comments?

Brenda Cummings / Director of Public Services / / (781) 736-4694

Mark Paris / Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources & Discovery / / (781) 736-4695

Project Overview

The Brandeis Library is working to build collections that support the three major aspects of our work as a University: teaching and learning, research, and unique collections, including a Judaica research collection among others. In some of these areas, we have been very successful, while in others we recognize the need to do more and are actively working to address the needs. Toward this end, we have done more to focus our acquisitions in areas of need based on librarian and faculty feedback. The library is acquiring new materials in electronic and physical formats, but this also comes with finite physical space for long-term physical collection growth. The library acquires an average of nearly 6,000 of new, physical monographs per year; however, our shelf space does not continue to grow. To address our ever-growing space concerns, the library must start exploring options that allow for the sustainable growth of the collection in the years to come.


One option that libraries have pursued to meet the challenge of physical space is to prefer purchasing electronic-only content. Based on conversations with community members, we do not wish to pursue that approach. The library wishes to support our community with resources in the format that is going to make the most sense for the work that is happening; sometimes that will mean favoring something in an electronic format and sometimes that will mean favoring a resource in a physical format.  However, with the physical formats it is important to remember that for each new book that goes into the main stacks, we are getting closer to the point when we need to find materials to either be discarded or moved to storage. The ultimate goal is to support our community with resources and services that meet our needs today and will continue to meet our needs for years to come.


As a result of these space challenges, the library is embarking on a project to plan for the sustainable growth of our collection in the coming years. As we begin planning this project, we will be reaching out with members of our community to generate some practical approaches to address these challenges and optimize our resources. Your feedback and insights will help us to establish a plan for reviewing our collection to ensure the library continues to be a trusted partner in support of our entire community.