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Wednesday, November 7 • 11:30am - 12:10pm
Strategic Restructuring: staffing collections for an evolving scholarly landscape

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The core work of collection development and management has never been more complex. Added to the traditional decision making around the content itself are layers of strategic decisions around access, licensing, DRM and preservation. New and evolving business models have increased the choices for procurement. Issues of cost containment and sustainability, as well as pressures for more student space, have fueled the need for more in-depth collections analysis and assessment.

To effectively respond to these challenges, some academic libraries have engaged in restructuring to build strategic collections teams. We will discuss this work at three Canadian academic libraries who are each at a different stage in the process: the University of Alberta, University of Guelph and Western University. The evolution of the teams and the impact on workflows, capacity building and decision making will be described.

The University of Guelph Library reorganized from a liaison librarian model to a strategic team based model in 2009, resulting in the creation of the Information Resources Strategic Team which has undergone further iterations since that time.

In 2014, the University of Alberta Libraries moved from a decentralized model of monograph acquisitions that involved all liaison librarians, to a centralized model that eliminated individual selection. In 2016 this model further evolved with the formation of a centralized team of collection strategies librarians who are responsible for all aspects of collections work, allowing liaisons to focus on other emerging service areas.

Western Libraries more recently shifted to a ‘functional’ or team based model. Following three years of planning, the libraries moved to a hybrid approach, helping to better accommodate the professional libraries and archives. Tangible, first steps will be discussed.

The presentation will wrap up with the common themes, lessons learned and next steps drawn from the experiences at our three libraries.

avatar for Samuel Cassady

Samuel Cassady

Head, Collections and Content Strategies, Western University
avatar for Pamela Jacobs

Pamela Jacobs

Research & Scholarship Librarian, University of Guelph
avatar for Denise LaFitte

Denise LaFitte

Associate University Librarian, University of Alberta Libraries