Collection Review Guidelines


The University of Sydney has a strong tradition of developing library collections capable of fostering effective learning as well as supporting diverse and extensive research. These collections are valued highly by the University and have a continuing role in the support of scholarship.
The final stage of a major renovation of the Fisher Library will occur between May and December 2013. The project involves renewal of the basic infrastructure services (air-conditioning, lifts, lighting, fire services and plumbing) and extensive redesign and refurbishment of all levels of the building. The infrastructure work is necessary to ensure that the building is compliant with the current Building Code of Australia (BCA) and with applicable workers health and safety and disability access requirements. These are legislative requirements with which the University must comply.
The implications are extensive and will result in the loss of about half of the shelving capacity. Aisles between shelving rows will be widened from the existing 800mm to at least 1200mm and in some cases to 1500mm. This will require the removal of every second row of shelving in Fisher South. In addition, the height of the shelving has to be reduced by one shelf to comply with workers health and safety requirements.
It will be necessary to release entire floors of Fisher South to the builders at a time. Services will continue throughout the project although there will be a reduction in the number of study spaces, some disruption due to construction noise and access, and the collections will be relocated as each floor is completed.
A number of alternatives were considered:

  1. expanding the existing library store – this building has now been demolished for the new School of Business and the collections have been relocated to Sydney Storage
  2. using Fisher to store all of the volumes currently in the building and in the store - this would require virtually the entire building to be devoted to shelving and would displace the 7,000 + students and staff who use the library each day
  3. reconfiguring Fisher South for closed access – this solution would not address the worker’s health and safety issues and would not provide sufficient space for the collections
  4. installing a robotic storage facility similar to that built by Macquarie University – the major issue is that a suitable site is not available on the Camperdown or Darlington campuses and there is insufficient funding available
  5. erecting a storage facility on University land – the only available site is at Camden and there are development consent issues as well as a long lead time for building
  6. replacing the static shelving in the stack with compactus shelving – there are restrictions on the floor loadings and insufficient capacity is achievable – some compactus shelving has been provided on Level 1 Fisher North
  7. utilizing a commercial off-site storage facility capable of housing volumes in the existing store and low use volumes transferred from the Fisher and other libraries

Option 7 has been chosen and all the material from the collection which required relocation was moved in 2012 to the Sydney Store. Sydney Storage provides a retrieval and delivery service each week day. About 58% of the monographs in Fisher Library have not been borrowed in the past 5 years and large sections of the journal collection have been duplicated with digital online versions. These items have been relocated to Sydney Storage.

Storage Facility

The University has a contract with an external company, Grace, for the long-term supply of purpose-built storage facilities and for the provision of retrieval and delivery services. The facility is located within 1 hour driving time of the Camperdown-Darlington campus and provides environmental and security conditions of a high standard. Members of the University can request volumes from storage to be delivered to the University of Sydney library of their choice. Articles and chapters can be scanned and delivered by email. All volumes transferred to Storage are listed on the online catalogue which has been enhanced to facilitate browsing by Dewey number.

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