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GMR Print Retention Task Force Update

By Ruth Holst
Associate Director

Both university and health sciences libraries (HSLs) are feeling pressure with regard to their collection space, with other campus units pressing them to remove print materials and release the space those collections occupy for other uses. Many HSLs have already begun to withdraw print materials that they have available in electronic format. Large resource libraries (RLs) that have not yet taken this step are concerned that they will become the preserver of print collections by default.  Hospital libraries are concerned that they will lose access to needed materials within the region.  NLM is concerned with similar issues as they apply to the medical literature in general and to health sciences libraries nationally.

GMR staff held a series of conversations earlier this year with resource library directors throughout the region and conducted a survey which confirmed the anecdotal impression that space pressures and collection concerns were an issue across the region. GMR is addressing this with additional information gathering, discussion, and planning during the fifth and final year of the current NN/LM subcontract.

A planning task force was appointed in September to continue working on these issues.  The group was tasked with analyzing the data obtained in the GMR RL survey, looking at SERHOLD data, interviewing RL Directors and others in the region to identify interests and scope, and recommending an action plan for the design and implementation of next steps.  The goal is to produce a framework for further action by the end of year 5 to hand over to a steering committee for further work.

In the coming months, GMR members can expect to hear more details from the Task Force as it solicits more input and feedback on the scope of the issue and possible solutions.

Task Force members are:

Jane Blumenthal (University of Michigan), Co-Chair; Martha Fishel, NLM Consultant; Lynda Hartel (Ohio State University), OhioLink Consultant; Anne Moore (University of South Dakota);  Neal Nixon (University of Louisville);  Andrea Twiss-Brooks (University of Chicago); Linda Walton (University of Iowa); Linda Watson (University of Minnesota), Co-chair; Kate Carpenter (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Ruth Holst, GMR Staff.

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