Virginia Commonwealth University

Make it real.

Skip to content

Moving materials and deaccessioning obsolete items part of prep work for library construction

October 4, 2013

Moving materials is a critical component of planning for the new library on the Monroe Park Campus. As part of preparation and clean-up in advance of construction (beginning spring,  2014), librarians are analyzing the collection for essential deaccessioning. 

Today's academic libraries are no longer warehouses for books but workplaces for people. Construction will renovate some parts of the existing Cabell Library as well as add 93,000 square feet of new space. In order to meet the needs of the 32,000-member VCU academic community, 90 percent of the new space will be for researcher study space and workstations. This renovation will reduce the library's capacity to house physical volumes, which even in the ebook age, are still growing by 20,000 to 25,000 volumes per year.

"VCU librarians are carefully assessing the needs of the VCU community by analyzing use and circulation patterns and by studying how other research libraries manage their print collections in light of the burgeoning growth of e-resources," said John Duke, senior associate university librarian. He is overseeing what Cabell's librarians are calling "The Big Shift." 

Books with a history of low use will be moved into VCU Libraries' off-site compact shelving storage facility at 500 Academic Centre. 

VCU Libraries also will reduce the size of the print collection in these five ways.

  1. The reference collection on Cabell's first floor will be reduced. Legal and reference sets and indexes that have been superseded by e-resources or that are no longer appropriate for VCU will be withdrawn. Remaining volumes will be made available for circulation.
  2. Government document use has been shrinking because most titles are available electronically. Obsolete volumes will be withdrawn.
  3. JSTOR collections provide high-quality digital images to replace print journals. In the 2010 renovation, most printed bound volumes replaced by JSTOR were moved into storage. An analysis of use shows only two articles were requested over two years. Librarians have reviewed these print journals: About 860 can be safely withdrawn without affecting scholarship or the classroom because the VCU Libraries holds the electronic version.
  4. Duplicate copies of books with low circulation and obsolete books without curricular or research value to VCU will be withdrawn.
  5. In some cases, print volumes for which permanent ebook versions exist will be withdrawn, especially if the print version is worn and at the end of its useful life.

Deaccessioned volumes will be sold or offered to other libraries or recycled.

Have Questions?

Faculty or researchers who have questions about the collection calibration plan will find additional information and are invited to contact

< Previous | Next >

VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (866) 828-2665
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (866) 828-2665
(804) 828-0636

Reserve a room

Please choose a library

×