Collections FAQs - Weldon Revitalization Project

To enable the construction of a new Learning Commons as part of the Weldon Library Revitalization, library staff will be relocated from the mezzanine to the fifth floor. The following FAQs describe collections work that has been undertaken to prepare the fifth floor for this construction.

How does the Weldon Revitalization Project affect collections?

The upcoming Weldon revitalization project will introduce a new Learning Commons environment, with a variety of learning spaces for students, enhanced access to consultation services for research, writing and learning skills support, technology-enhanced spaces, a community presentation space, and a Family Room for student parents studying in the company of their children.

To create space for the Learning Commons, library staff are relocating from the mezzanine to the fifth floor. As a result, we are relocating some of the collection.

What changes are Western Libraries making to its collection to accommodate the renovations?

To accommodate renovations to Weldon Library, Western Libraries has relocated lower-use materials to storage. Lower-use materials remain a part of the Western Libraries collection and are discoverable through the catalogue and continue to be available for use.

To provide for collection growth, we are also introducing high-density shelving to the ground floor, which will enable us to retain critical collections on site for our user community.

What is considered lower-use material?

Lower-use material is any item added to our collection more than 10 years ago that has not been checked out in 10 or more years.

Has Western Libraries permanently removed materials from the collection to support the D.B. Weldon renovation?

No items have been permanently removed from the Western Libraries collection to support Weldon Renovations.

What will happen to Western's rich, historic collections and rare material?

Important, historic and rare material is always kept on campus.

We worked with our Collections & Content Strategies and our Special Collections librarians to develop a plan for identifying materials for storage. This plan recognized the importance of the print record to Arts & Humanities faculty while also allowing us to meet the time parameters for Weldon renovations.

The majority of material identified for transfer from the call number ranges associated with disciplines in the arts and humanities was sent to our local Command Services storage facility. This means that any material from these ranges can be recalled and stored on-campus if required.

Moving forward, we will continue working with faculty in Arts & Humanities as well as our Special Collections Librarian to make sure the processes we have in place for managing our collections preserves historical and rare material appropriately.

What will happen to materials from the original Barnett collection?

The staff responsible for pulling lower-use material were trained to identify items from the Barnett collection and set them aside. This material was then passed to the Special Collections librarian for review and relocated to our rare book room as appropriate.

How much of the collection was moved to off-site storage to prepare for renovations to Weldon Library?

The majority of the collection remains in Weldon Library. Lower-use material accounts for approximately 30 per cent of our collection and was moved to off-site storage in the summer of 2019. 80 percent of the lower-use material was sent to Command Services storage in London, Ontario. The remaining 20 per cent of lower-use material was sent to Keep@Downsview. All materials in storage remain a part of the Western Libraries collection, are discoverable through the catalogue, and can be retrieved upon request.

Recognizing the importance of the print record to Arts & Humanities, the majority of material identified for transfer to storage from the call number ranges associated with disciplines in the arts and humanities were moved to the local London-based Command Services storage facility. In addition, items identified as part of the Barnett collection were set aside for the Special Collections Librarian to review. Going forward, this means that, working with our Collections & Content Strategies and Special Collections librarians, select materials may be recalled from Command Services and housed on-campus. We will continue working with faculty to make sure the processes we have in place for managing our collections preserves historical, rare material appropriately.

Is more material moving to storage in preparation for this phase of the Weldon revitalization?

No more material needs to move to storage in preparation for this phase of the Weldon revitalization project. The work that is currently taking place in Weldon is relocating material from one floor to another.

Does Western Libraries ever permanently remove materials?

Western Libraries has a living collection, which means new materials are continually added to support evolving academic program and research needs. This means the collection requires regular, ongoing maintenance which includes permanently removing materials. Material identified for permanent removal (rather than storage) is currently limited to duplicate copies that are held by Western Libraries. We are committed to refining our policies to ensure that these extra copies are not rare or unique in any way. Materials withdrawn from our collection are donated to a vendor who manages the books in a socially responsible way.

How can I access materials in storage?

Material that is located in storage can be obtained by using the request button in the catalogue and signing-in to your library account. On average, material in storage takes from 2-4 days to arrive at a pick-up location.

Where does Western Libraries store materials if they are not in a library? What does "off-site storage" mean?

Western Libraries uses two off-site storage facilities:

Command Services is a third-party storage solution located off-campus in London that houses low-use material transferred out of the general collection due to changing access requirements. Material sent to Command Services may be recalled into the on-site collection if Collections & Content Strategies librarians determine that need for the material has changed.

Keep@Downsview is a shared preservation collection and facility in partnership with the University of Toronto, Queen's University, McMaster University, and the University of Ottawa. This shared preservation collection consists of lower-use print materials and does not include archival collections, media collections or rare books. All partners have access to all items in the shared preservation collection in print or digital format. Western retains ownership of materials sent to Downsview. When an exact copy has already been added to the collection by a partner school, Western shares ownership of that title and Western's copy is not sent to the facility.

This new partnership allows for long-term stewardship and preservation of scholarly collections and creates exciting new opportunities for the development of services and delivery options to improve access to collections, including on-demand digitization and electronic delivery services for journals currently only available in print. We are continuing to develop and revise our processes to identify material that is appropriate for storing at Downsview.

For more information about how Keep@Downsview might affect you, please see our Keep@Downsview Frequently Asked Questions.

Campus storage:

Archives and Research Collections Centre (ARCC) - Located within Weldon Library, ARCC includes the High Density Storage Module, rare book room, and the reading room. It houses Archival collections, Special Collections, University records, and, low- or medium-use general collection library items identified for storage and for which there is a rationale for close proximity to the general collection.

Storage locations are listed simply as "storage" in the catalogue and material can be requested using the catalogue request button. On average, it takes 2-4 days for material to arrive at a pick-up location. All materials in storage remain a part of the Western Libraries collection and are discoverable through the catalogue.

How does Western Libraries balance the need to support current academic programs and research while addressing the value of the historical collection?

Western Libraries' collection includes a large modern research collection as well as many historically valuable items. Stewarding these collections held in the same space is challenging and we recognize the importance of this work.

The research collections are managed in a way that is responsive to changing academic needs and optimally serves the current programs and research agendas of our university community. We are also committed to stewardship of our valued historical collections to ensure they will be available for future scholarship. Collections maintenance, preservation, and storage policies have been developed to guide this work and we are committed to revise and adjust policies and practices to address the specific needs of all parts of our collection.

How can faculty continue to be involved in conversations about collections?

Collections and Content Strategies Librarians are available to attend department or faculty meetings to engage in discussions about collections work. They already connect with many faculty members individually on a regular basis and these conversations help inform our collection development and maintenance practice. Some departments already have standing library committees that provide valuable insight and support to our collections work.

Any department or faculty that would like to form a library committee should reach out to Harriet Rykse, Associate Chief Librarian, Collections.

Who should I contact with questions about Weldon's collection?

If you have additional questions, please contact: