Library prepares to move 800,000 volumes off campus

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    To address a need for more study space in the Mary Couts Burnett Library, TCU plans to relocate some of the books to an off-campus warehouse.

    Books are not being removed, only relocated, said Library Dean June Koelker.

    “What we’re trying to do is have enough seating so that students can find a place where they want to sit,” Koelker said. “We’re taking some of the space that we’ll gain by moving the books and creating more seating for students.”

    The plan will move 800,000 materials, including books, bound periodicals and archives, which constitute about two-thirds of all materials housed in the library.

    The library staff has identified these materials as used less frequently or not having been checked out in the past 10 years. About 400,000 new and commonly requested materials will stay at the library.

    Five library staff members will work full time at the annex. Students can request materials online, and the staff members will make deliveries to campus twice per day.

    This move also offers benefits besides creating more seating.

    Tracy Hull, associate dean of the library, said the off campus location encourages students to utilize technology, such as the online virtual library. This feature allows viewers to see book covers, indexes and tables of contents as well as the books positioned next to books on the shelf. She also explained the benefit of moving bound periodicals to the annex.

    “They’re not something that you really browse the shelves for; you usually know what article you want, so you’ll request it, we’ll scan it and email it to you,” Hull said.

    The new location will also allow for better preservation of the materials, said James Lutz, director of library administrative services. The facility will be air-conditioned with humidity control, and storing materials, such as archives, will prevent visitors from “manhandling” these that need special care, Lutz said.

    Many students are ready for the books to go, said senior political science major Nick Morales.

    “I’d say 95 percent of students, maybe even more, don’t use the books,” he said. “We need this space for computers, to print, to study with groups and just for study areas.”

    Both he and junior nursing major Emily Fuson have had trouble finding an open spot in the library at times. Both said the quiet section is particularly crowded during midterms and finals weeks.

    Even Hull has witnessed the problem and agrees a change needs to be made.

    “I’m a librarian; I love books. But seeing students sitting on the floor is really painful,” she said. “So I think it is actually a good thing because we are creating spaces that students need and are going to use, and we’re doing it by sacrificing items that aren’t used that often.”

    The annex building is located just a 5-minute drive from campus near the intersection of Granbury Road and University Drive. It is currently being renovated and will be ready for books by the end of the year.

    Throughout this semester, library staff and student workers are labeling the books to be moved. The move will begin after final exams and will continue throughout next semester, finishing by April so as not to distract students preparing for May exams.