Floating Collection: How It Can Work in a Large, Multicampus, Academic Library

“If our libraries’ collection is ‘one collection, geographically dispersed,’ why do we have to ship books back to the library of origin after they are returned by a patron?” In response to this question, Penn State University Libraries’ began a floating collection pilot program among four campuses. A floating collection is a group of items not housed permanently at one specific library, but instead are shelved in the library where they were most recently discharged.

This webinar will discuss the challenges of making a floating collection feasible within a multicampus environment and its successful implementation at nineteen campus locations. Issues such as deciding which books should float, evaluating shelf space and adapting the concept to the ILS, as well as the discovery of unintended benefits, will be shared.

Originally presented on Wednesday, October 2, 2013.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, participants will have a better understanding of:

  • the benefits of a floating collection
  • steps needed to implement a floating collection in an academic library

Who Should Attend

Academic libraries with multiple library locations interested in finding new ways to share collections.


Barbara Coopey is associate librarian, assistant head for Access Services, and head of Interlibrary Loan for Penn State University Libraries. She oversees all aspects of resource sharing activities conducted on multiple systems among Penn State’s thirty-eight libraries located across twenty-four campuses and the Penn State World Campus. In 2009 she received the ALA Virginia Boucher OCLC ILL Distinguished Librarian Award and in 2012 received the Pennsylvania Library Association Certificate of Merit Award.

Barbara Eshbach, a graduate of Clarion University (MSLS, 2000), is the Head Librarian at Penn State York and a recent participant in the Pennsylvania Library Association’s Academy of Leadership Studies. Formerly, she was the reference and instruction librarian at the York campus.




How to Register

No registration required. Access recording now:

Recording (YouTube)

Recording (.wmv)

Slides (.pdf)

Tech Requirements

Computer with Internet access (high-speed connection is best) and media player software. Headphones recommended.

If you receive a Codec error when playing the recorded file with Windows Media Player, download the gotowebinar codec file from: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/codec?Portal=www.gotomeeting.com The Codec acts as a patch that allows the recording, which is created with a higher version of Media Player, to play in version 7. For more information on playing the recording, see the FAQ.




For questions or comments related to the webinars, contact Julie Reese, ALCTS Events Manager at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5034 or jreese@ala.org.