Valrie Minson, Chelsea Dinsmore and Melody Royster
Today, most academic libraries face the conundrum of creating more group study and collaborative work areas while maintaining and growing research collections. The universal needs for space have led many libraries to initiate weeding and evaluation projects with the goal of clearing space for these other purposes. Concurrently, libraries are concerned with maintaining accessibility and preservation of rare and historically important research collections. At our library we have strong agricultural holdings, including: federal depository materials, agricultural publications produced in the state (which includes Agricultural Experiment Station materials, County Extension documents, academic department reports, and other ephemera), and agricultural science journals. This collection also contains materials from most U.S. states and protectorates. There is increased national interest in preserving and digitizing historical agricultural collections, as evidenced by the growing number of available consortial projects. Our library participates in two cooperative regional retention programs in the areas of agricultural federal documents and agricultural journals. When the library space that housed our state agricultural publication collections was selected for renovation, our library chose to modify the existing model for federal document and journal retention for use with the state collection. After evaluating the collection based on holdings by other institutions, availability of digital content, usage of materials, research value to our institution, and other factors, materials not selected for retention were offered to the states of origination. This method of evaluation and retention provides our library with the opportunity to engage in discussion with libraries at other land grant institutions, with the overall goal of meeting space needs while also placing materials in the most advantageous location to ensure continued retention of valued historical collections. This paper will discuss the two consortial projects, and the model developed to address the state collections.