The cumulative holdings of Western Libraries eight service locations number more than 11 million print and electronic items, with over 60,000 new items added each year. Developing and maintaining this world-class collection is a key objective of Western Libraries, as noted in our current Strategic Plan. To that end, Western Libraries is supported by a university-protected annual acquisitions budget of $14.8 million, approximately 80% of which is devoted to print and electronic journals and other serials acquisitions.
In addition to our robust electronic holdings, Western Libraries collection includes over 2.5 million print books, more than 1 million print journal issues, and an extensive microform collection including musical scores. The Archives and Research Collections Centre boasts the James Alexander and Ellen Rea Benson Special Collections, which encompasses an array of antiquarian and rare books of significance to the London region, as well as those of general interest. Another strength is our Map and Data Centre, which holds over 222,000 paper maps and provides access to thousands of datasets.
Western Libraries is also committed to championing open access through the development of our institutional repository, Scholarship@Western. The repository hosts Western’s Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository as well as 30 open access journals. In total, Scholarship@Western is home to nearly 17,000 electronic items.
Librarians at Western Libraries base collection decisions on carefully developed subject profiles and collection development policies. They regularly liaise with faculty as well as other campus partners to identify resources that will best support the research and instructional needs of the university. In addition to building the collections, librarians work to manage the materials held in our collections by selectively shifting print collections to storage.
Western Libraries also participates in many initiatives with other academic libraries to develop and maintain our collections. This takes the form of partnerships with members of the provincial Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) and the national Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), among other consortia. Participating in consortial licensing of resources has allowed Western to purchase large packages of journals from individual publishers such as Elsevier, Taylor and Francis, Sage, Wiley and Springer for very reasonable prices. These packages often provide exceptional value for cost; however they require regular review to ensure that the high cost continues to represent the best value for Western Libraries money.