About the Library
Effective: May 2006 ( Appendix A added in June 2006)
Effective: November 2012 (Appendix B added November 2012)
In 1996, the Tri-University Group of Libraries (TUG) purchased a building to house low-use items from the collections of each of the Group's members: the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to opening the building, known as the Annex, Guelph and Waterloo each had their own buildings for low-use material. Collections in these buildings were transferred to the Annex when it opened. Since then, all three libraries have regularly transferred low-use material to the Annex.
The understanding has been that each library may send material to the Annex without concern for what is already there and owned by one of the other libraries. While the building is jointly owned and operated, the items housed in it continue to be owned by the originating library. In addition, through past practice, each library has sometimes sent multiple copies of the same item from its own collection, or has sent a copy to the Annex while retaining one or more copies in its campus collection. Because of these practices, there is appreciable duplication of material in the Annex.
Items selected for transfer to the Annex are low-use, and once in the Annex they typically continue to be low-use. Indeed, at least 80% of items in the Annex have never been requested. (Anyone registered with any of the TUG libraries may ask to have items sent to his/her library of choice to consult or borrow. In addition, people may go directly to the Annex to consult or borrow material. And items in the Annex are available for interlibrary loan, document delivery, and reserves in the same way as other material owned by the three libraries.)
When the Annex opened, we estimated that it would reach capacity in about 12-15 years. This estimate was based on the estimated number of items to be transferred from each library annually. The estimated number was based on a variety of factors such as the number of items that Guelph and Waterloo had transferred to their low-use buildings in previous years, the number of newly acquired items added to campus library collections each year, and the amount of shelving space available in those campus libraries. The Annex has, however, been filling up more quickly than originally estimated because of the need to find space in our campus libraries not only for growing print collections but also for new and changing services. Transferring low-use material to the Annex has helped create the space needed to keep our libraries dynamic and relevant.
In 2004, we reviewed our estimates and concluded that the Annex would likely reach capacity within 3 to 4 years. With this revised estimate, we began to consider options for additional space when the Annex reaches capacity. While these investigations continue and decisions have yet to be made, one thing has become very clear: no matter what we chose to do to gain space for housing low-use collections, it will be very costly — in the millions of dollars.
Given the growing and competing demands for funding available for higher education, we must act as responsibly as possible to avoid unnecessary costs. To this end we will reduce the amount of space needed for low-use collections by changing practices associated with housing material in the Annex.
Because there is relatively little demand for items in the Annex, we believe that one copy of any given item can readily meet current and future needs. To balance the needs of current and future users with the financial resources available for space, we will begin to use the Annex, and any future space available for low-use material, as a "last copy" repository. As a general rule, the Annex will only house items not available elsewhere in the TUG libraries and only if they are deemed necessary to support teaching, learning and research at any of the three universities.
This Agreement is intended to provide a framework to guide decision making while recognizing that exceptions may be appropriate. For example, the Agreement does not apply to Special Collections and there may be a need to make exceptions for reference materials. The parties to the Agreement will work with each other in good faith to determine a course of action when potential exceptions – either individual titles or classes of material — are identified.
For the purposes of clarity, two or more copies of an item should be considered identical (and therefore candidates for disposal) if:
To contain the space needed for low-use material, TUG agrees to work towards retaining no more than one copy of any item in the Annex by:
TUG also agrees that in future each library may send to the Annex only items for which there is not already a copy in the Annex or anywhere else in the TUG libraries (electronic books need not be taken into consideration at this time).
To put it another way: the Annex is to be used to house only the last copy of an item owned by any of the TUG libraries.
TUG also agrees that the last copy retained continues to be owned by the originating library and that it may be borrowed by anyone registered with any of the TUG libraries. In addition, the copy may be consulted at the Annex or any of the campus libraries by anyone regardless of registration with one of the libraries. The copy is also available for usual practices related to services such as interlibrary loan, document delivery, and reserves.
Should the copy go missing, the owning library will follow its usual practices to decide whether to replace it. Should the owning library decide not to replace it and one of the other libraries determines that it needs a copy, that library may purchase a copy at its expense and decide whether the copy will reside in a campus library or the Annex.
TUG also agrees that none of the libraries will discard an item that is the last copy within TUG before consulting with the other libraries to ensure that none of them want the item retained. If one of the libraries wants the copy, it may be transferred to that library or to the Annex.
Note: While this agreement focuses on the preservation of last copies, it also recognizes that there may be items in the Annex that are no longer needed to support teaching, learning or research at any of the TUG institutions and that are not likely to be needed in future. In such cases, all copies may be discarded.
The Agreement recognizes that exceptions may be necessary and appropriate. As exceptions are dentified and agreed upon, they will be listed in Appendix A along with a brief explanation of the reason for the exception.
Affiliated with the University of Guelph:
Affiliated with the University of Waterloo:
Affiliated with Wilfrid Laurier University:
Scott Gillies, Head, Information Resources