If we summarized this year with just one word , it would be “planning.” We are beginning to plan for the renovation of the third floor of Bartle Library. While ostensibly an asbestos abatement project, the renovation will give us the chance to rethink our collections and services, and we have already begun the process of intensive consultation with stakeholders to balance competing requirements for the space.
A consequence of the Bartle renovation will be the transfer of more collections off site, and preparations are underway for a new shelving location. A newly constructed Collection Management Facility, to be located at the Health Sciences Campus in Johnson City, will enable us to ultimately close our Library Annex in Conklin. Decisions about what should be located where and implementing the logistics, both physically and bibliographically, will not be trivial.
Further efforts are underway to establish a Health Sciences Library in Johnson City that will be housed in the renovated Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences building. This library will provide space, collections and staffed services to support current, new and future programs on the growing campus in Johnson City. The Libraries will also relocate operations out of the Newcomb Reading Room because that space has been reassigned by the University.
With all the upcoming renovation and relocation projects, the need to create an overall master space-planning effort for the Libraries is critical. How should we best allocate our space? What kind of dependencies are in effect? How will the University’s strategic priorities influence ours? Because of these contingencies, our space planning must be subordinate to our overall strategic planning. We have established a strategic planning committee to make recommendations about a process for the Libraries to move forward. One of the committee’s objectives will be to articulate the Libraries’ priorities that best serve our stakeholders and, at the same time, identify services or programs we now offer that may need to become less of a priority moving forward.
So we will be preparing for lots of movement as hundreds of thousands of volumes will be relocated in the coming years and also for how we will communicate these developments to the campus community to keep everyone informed and engaged. Through it all is the expectation that the continually superlative levels of service that our users have come to expect from us will be sustained. It’s no small order, but we are up for the challenge.