Central Iowa - Collaborative Collections Initiative

Share your print collection to expand your library

Photo of CI-CCI libraries
Photographs courtesy of the institutions


"Certainly, our shelves have more materials than we would like them to have, which makes it difficult to expand our collection. [This deselection project] gives us a better opportunity to have space where we can collaborate together to support student learning."

Pam Rees
Library Director, Grand View University

Grand View University and Drake University faced similar problems. "For various reasons," explained Pam Rees, Library Director at Grand View University, "both of our institutions were looking to pull back on the number of volumes we had sitting on the shelf." Pam and Teri Koch, Head of Collection Development at Drake University, realized that they could solve their problems by working together. "Our institutions are only a couple of miles away from each other, so we thought this was a good place to start. Locally," Pam said.

After getting buy-in from their own administrations, "we set out on foot," Pam explained, to invite three nearby institutions—Central College, Grinnell College and Simpson College—to join a new shared-print consortium. Within six months, these five institutions formed the Central Iowa – Collaborative Collections Initiative (CI-CCI).

CI-CCI worked with GreenGlass® to evaluate the overlap in the collections and to develop withdrawal criteria. "We decided to keep just one retention title, which I think is unique for us," Teri said, meaning that some items will only be held by one CI-CCI library. "But we also verified the titles to make sure they were actually on the shelves and in good condition."

"We wanted to be as conservative as possible on the one hand, but on the other, we wanted to generate meaningful number of withdrawals too."

Teri Koch
Head of Collection Development, Drake University

To help the libraries verify that each holding is available and in good enough condition to be loaned, a Web Developer at Drake created an app that allows library staff to track verification activities. If an item is lost or is not in good condition, another CI-CCI library can take responsibility for retaining it. "The app also allows us to share the information with faculty so they can weigh in on the decision," Teri said. Although SCS helped Drake identify 53,000 withdrawal candidates, the app allowed faculty to retain 11,000 of them.

In total, CI-CCI identified 168,112 retention commitments and 185,392 withdrawal candidates. Clearing out underused and duplicate titles will give the libraries more space to expand their collections in a collaborative manner and to support student activities. The 42,000 titles withdrawn from Drake made up about 9% of the total print collection. With some of the 9,000 square feet of space regained, the library will expand its archives to make papers donated by long-time Iowa Senator Tom Harkin more accessible. Drake also plans to increase student study space.

Recently, CI-CCI accepted a new member, the University of Northern Iowa, which is a public university in Cedar Falls. The CI-CCI libraries are working to incorporate this much bigger library's collection into their shared collection. "We're gratified that it has taken off," Teri said. "Our collaborative shows that there is value for small collaboratives too."

Map showing location of CI-CCI libraries

Consortium at a glance

  • Founded in 2013 with five private colleges near Des Moines, Iowa
  • In 2014, added the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls
  • Guiding principles include agreements to make data-driven decisions, to secure commitment from each institution's senior administration, to quickly deliver materials between institutions, to maximize local budgets and to coordinate acquisitions to minimize duplications
  • Future plans include the possibility of a regular courier service between libraries and shared electronic resources

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