The biggest takeaway from this project was that deselection of materials had a largely positive impact on the age of the collection, greater than just adding brand new materials could. It’s like trying to mix a grey paint; you’re going to need to dump a whole lot of white onto your black paint to get it to lighten up. It’s so much more effective if you take all the old, unused stuff away first. Committing to keeping up with how we are progressing towards our goals is the only way I would have found out that the time invested by liaison librarians into collection development has been paying off – and more importantly, just how much of an impact their actions made. I think it is so much more valuable to see that quantitative comparison in the data than to simply say “good job.”
The Colleagues Who’ve Left
Last year I started a chart tracking colleagues who had left my institution. When I left for the winter break finally, the number stood at 37 and I’m sure I missed a few. These are spread across the university, though nearly half are from the Library. It includes people I worked with regularly enough that their leaving had a significant impact on me, with a sprinkling of high level administrators whose transitions always end up with creating waves of change likely to reach me at some point. I started tracking because I knew that the volume was going to be high and that I would need to be able to see at year’s end — at scale — how significant the disruptions had been.