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October 14, 2009

Dear Colleagues:

I serve on the Senate Library Committee. At our first meeting this year our Committee was asked to vote in support of the attached selection criteria for determining books and journals that would be sent to storage off campus. We declined because we needed more information and we wished to consult with our colleagues across the University.

With the restructuring of various floors in Bird Library to accommodate social activity, an already serious shelf-storage problem has been made much worse. Bird Library’s shelves are filled to 98% capacity. Library standards recommend 75-80% of capacity. To solve this problem, the Bird Library administration is proposing to send 5,000 items (books, journals, etc.) every two weeks for ten years to an offsite storage facility, the Clancy-Cullen Tri-State Depository, in Patterson, New York (down-state). That means the Library plans on eliminating shelf-access to 1,200,000 books and joumals, downsizing your Library’s on-site holdings by about 10%, (access to these materials will be by web-request and subsequent courier transportation)

At question is how to decide which books and journals will go. And of course the greater question is whether sending this volume of materials to an off-site storage facility is a good idea (loss of immediate access, cost of storage against digitizing efforts by Google, etc.).

Please distribute this Selection Criteria draft to your Department, College colleagues for discussion, All responses welcome. Send responses to this draft to Suzanne Thorin, University Librarian/Dean Libraries, Library Administration, 219 ES Bird Library, or to me. I will carry all responses to the next Senate Library Committee meeting, which is on November 9, 2009.

Thanks for your attention to this matter,


Tom Sherman

Professor, Transmedia

102 Shaffer Art Building
Syracuse University

Offsite Shelving Facility Selection Criteria [PDF]
Letter from the English Department [doc]

Posted in Info.

One Response

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  1. Melissa says

    Yeah… this situation has gotten more and more alarming.

    a) Make sure they keep the grammar and style books at hand, at least. Setting aside, of course that I’m infected by the… um, antics… of the “young people:” Is it just me or is that English Dept. letter… yeesh ?

    b) I hear the request for more letters–but if anyone learns of a meeting or forum open to students, let me know?

    c) Maybe you’ve seen this stuff already, but for more education– there are some students who began a petition and a Facebook group last semester to “Save Bird.” The group has also posted links to Daily Orange references & the letters they’ve sent to Dean Thorin, public outlets etc.
    Links (if they show up as such…) :