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Thomas Cooper Library Materials Projects

Project I. Transfer materials to the Annex: September-November 2023

We have identified more than 20,000 books in Thomas Cooper Library that are held by few other libraries worldwide. We will transfer these scarce materials from the main library’s stacks to the Library Annex, which features preservation-quality storage conditions. In the Annex facility, these volumes will be protected for present and future researchers on our own campus and for the wider scholarly community. 

All the items removed from Thomas Cooper Library to the Annex remain discoverable in the library catalog and those in good condition will continue to circulate. Materials in poor condition will undergo conservation treatment before they are made available. In rare cases, use of fragile materials may be restricted to on-site consultation and/or scan-and-deliver requests. 

Project I inclusion criteria:

Project II. Withdraw materials in poor condition: In process and ongoing

Like all library collections, ours is subject to damage and deterioration, with issues ranging from torn bindings and pages to staining from spilled food or drink.

Our staff are surveying the physical collection and removing damaged volumes. We maintain lists of withdrawn materials and will prioritize those with regular or recent circulation for replacement as eBooks. We are also prepared for increased use of PASCAL Delivers and Interlibrary Loan

Project II inclusion criteria:

  • Visible damage to the volume

Project III. Withdraw materials with no circulation history: Fall 2023-Spring 2025

More than 200,000 volumes in our stacks have no record of circulation. These materials are demonstrably not serving the research and teaching needs of our USC community. They represent nearly 25% of items held onsite, with substantial annual cost (see below). With increased enrollments in recent years (and projected going forward), more spaces for students are an important priority for the university and for the Libraries.

We will only withdraw no-use materials that can be borrowed from partner libraries if needed.

Project III inclusion criteria:

  • 0 circulations since we began electronic recordkeeping (approximately 1990)
  • Published before 2013
  • > 10 holding institutions in OCLC (WorldCat)
  • ≥ 5 holding institutions within 500 miles
More information on the cost of maintaining our collections

Courant and Nielsen (2010) estimated the cost of on-campus storage of a single volume to be $4.26/volume/year in 2009 dollars.  Adjusted for inflation, that cost in 2023 would be $6.04/volume/year, or approximately $1.2M annually if the total number of non-circulating items is at least 200,000.