McGill University Collections Centre

A significant portion of the Library’s low use collections will be relocated off-campus to a dedicated facility. This relocation will increase the available study and work space for the McGill community.

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The Library’s Space Challenge

McGill Libraries are severely overcrowded and facing a significant demand for user and programme space. Industry norms suggest public research university libraries of a similar size to McGill should strive to provide seating for approximately 20% of their student population. With its current infrastructure, McGill currently offers appropriate seating to 9-12% of the student population, far below its academic peers and is evidence of the current overcrowding in the Library. 51% of the Library’s system-wide space is dedicated to the physical collection.

The collection must be retained, properly housed, and carefully stewarded to meet the teaching and research needs of our faculty and students. We have a commitment to the global collective knowledge to protect and preserve the material we have collected for almost 200 years.

Because of the space challenges and the need to ensure our collections and programmes meet the needs of all our users, the Library is reallocating a portion of the Library’s low circulating collections off campus to a dedicated collections centre.

Approximately 1.3 million books will be kept on campus in our library branches. Since disciplines vary in their use of print material, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to deciding which books will physically remain in the Library. Library staff will continue to work with different users (i.e. faculty, researchers and students) to determine the makeup of the collection in their subject areas that will be retained on campus. Decisions will be informed by staff expertise, user feedback and empirical data. Feedback is welcome at all stages of this process.

Project Description

The 2015 Library Master Plan recommended that a portion of the Library collection be moved into a purpose-built, high-density and dedicated collection facility. In 2019 the decision was made to acquitre an automated, off-campus storage facility. The state-of-the-art collections centre will eventually hold 2.5 million volumes. Materials will be housed in environmentally controlled and secure conditions. 

Users will be able to request their materials online and collect them at a branch the next day. Delivery from the McGill University Collections Centre is projected to be once daily. This facility is expected to be operational in 2023.

Titles that are candidates to go to the collections centre

  1. Materials not loaned for the previous 5 years will go
  2. Materials not used in the library for the last 5 years
  3. The exception will be if it less than 10 years old
  4. Bound journals 

Titles that will stay on the shelves in branches

  1. Materials borrowed in the last 5 years
  2. Materials used in the library in the last 5 years
  3. Anything that is up to 10 years, even if it hasn't been borrowed or used 
  4. A few exceptional titles that need to stay for teaching/research reasons
  5. The newest issues of journals that are still actively received

Access the list for review.

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