An updated handbook for rightsizing academic library collections

For Immediate Release
Thu, 04/08/2021


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Honored with many accolades, including a starred review in Library Journal, the first edition of “Rightsizing the Academic Library Collection,” published by ALA Editions, demonstrated the power and flexibility of “rightsizing,” an approach that applies a scalable, rule-based strategy to help academic libraries balance stewardship of spaces and the collection. In the five years since Suzanne M. Ward’s first edition, the shared print infrastructure has grown in leaps and bounds, as has coordination among programs. With this revision, Mary E. Miller addresses new options as well as the increasing urgency to protect at-risk titles as you reduce your physical collection. Readers will feel confident rightsizing their institution’s own collections with this book’s expert guidance on:

  • the concept of rightsizing, a strategic and largely automated approach that uses continuous assessment to identify the no- and low-use materials in the collection, and its five core elements;
  • crafting a rightsizing plan, from developing withdrawal criteria and creating discard lists to managing workflow and disposing of withdrawn materials, using a project-management focus; 
  • moving toward a “facilitated collection” with a mix of local, external, and collaborative services;
  • six discussion areas for decisions on participating in a shared print program;
  • factors in choosing a collection decision support tool;
  • relationships with stakeholders;
  • how to handle print resources after your library licenses perpetual access rights to the electronic equivalent; and
  • future directions for rightsizing 

Miller is the Director of Collection Management and Preservation at the University of Minnesota Libraries in Minneapolis, MN. She has written and spoken on archives and preservation, shared print programs, and consortial collection management. Her current research interests include print retention issues in academic libraries, risk factors that pertain to monographic retention commitments, models for determining the number of copies needed nationally to ensure survival of scarcely-held titles, and best practices for intentional, data-informed collection management. Ward retired in 2017 from the Purdue University Libraries in West Lafayette, Indiana. She has written extensively on patron-driven acquisitions, publishing “A Guide to Implementing and Managing Patron-Driven Acquisitions” in 2012 and making presentations on the topic both nationally and internationally.

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