Sponsored by Collection Development Committee, Space Planners Roundtable
Paula Gabbard, Fine Arts Librarian at Avery Library at Columbia University, moderated the ASK ARLIS session devoted to all aspects of remote storage. She introduced the session by describing the efforts Columbia University is taking in alleviating their severe space crisis. Columbia already has several temporary remote storage facilities within several miles of the campus and is in negotiation with Princeton University and New York Public Library to build a joint storage facility on the Forrestal Campus of Princeton University. It will be based on the Harvard Remote Storage Facility model. Since it is obvious that remote storage is not an ideal solution, a group of librarians who have already experienced the process of planning and moving collections will share their experiences to those facing the task in the future.
Amanda Bowen, Collections Management Librarian at Harvardís Fine Arts Library, described the Harvard Remote Storage facility, which many institutions are looking to as a model for their own facilities. Built in 1986 and located 20 miles from Cambridge, it has state of the art climate control. It is currently 4 modules and the site has space for 10 modules. In 1997 the Fine Arts Library began planning on what part of their collection to send to remote storage. Amanda spent time discussing how they evaluated their collection to make those decisions.
Katherine Poole, Librarian for the Rotch Library Visual Collections at M.I.T, concentrated on the problems associated with visual materials and remote storage. Katherine says that storage for visual materials is in itself a problem whether it is remote or not. Because of the wide range of formats of visual materials, including photo albums, postcards, and glass lantern slides, specific selection criteria must be used. Space, equipment for viewing, collection use, new formats, and preservation needs are some of those criteria. Katherine addressed the challenges for remote storage, including the selection criteria, careful handling, and retrieval procedures. Their remote storage facility is a ten-minute walk from the department. From 1991-1994 they have put photo albums, black and white photos, lantern slides, and 16mm films into that facility. Because of its location, materials are not really retrieved item by item which makes putting visual resources into storage the same as dead storage.
The third speaker was Carol Terry, Director of Library Services at Rhode Island School of Design, who has been dealing with space problems since she became director in 1987. In 1994 they ran out of ways to deal with these problems and a committee was formed to work on the concept of building a new facility on campus that will combine library, museum and academic space. Temporary remote storage was needed until the new facility could be built. An office building with shelving already in it was found minutes from the library. Carolís problem was how to identify which items to send to storage. She based it on use. 10% of the circulating collection, 5500 books, was sent with 200 more a year having to go over. Retrievals for those materials happen everyday. 60% of requested books are not picked by patrons.
Al Willis was scheduled to speak but because of his new position as Dean of Library Services at Savannah College of Art and Design he was unable to attend the conference. Paula Gabbard read his paper. Al discussed his experiences with remote storage while Head of the Arts Library at UCLA. UCLA presents the case of a large, multi-subject, academic art library having a high percentage of its holdings in remote storage. Al presented 5 recommendations for sending part of a libraryís collections to remote storage. First, vigorously critique the storage model and its implementation in the institution. Second, think of the remote storage facility as an extension of closed stacks. Third, weed to discard. Remote storage is not a holding pen for garbage. Fourth, integrate preservation efforts in the weeding process. Fifth, donít play favorites and donít play the blame game.
Submitted by Chris Sala