Re: Open stacks in academic libraries

Gail Fedak (
Tue, 8 Oct 2002 15:25:24 -0700 (PDT)

Our media library's foremost mission is to support curriculum. With an eye
to having our materials accessible for classroom use most effectively, we
house all our materials in closed stacks. Browsing can be done through the
on-line catalog. We do not have 1) the space to accommodate open stacks, 2)
the personnel to monitor browsing activity, or 3) personnel to reshelve used
materials that are scattered all over the area, hiding in vcrs, etc. We
circulate video materials only to faculty and graduate teaching assistants.
All other patrons must use our video materials in-house. We do circulate our
audio materials to students and staff as well as faculty. I cannot imagine
trying to meet classroom needs with our materials on open stacks.
Good luck in arriving at a workable decision.
Gail B. Fedak
Manager, Instructional Media Resources
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
phone 615-898-2740
fax 615-898-2530

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bergman, Barbara J." <>
To: "Multiple recipients of list" <>
Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2002 11:20 AM
Subject: Open stacks in academic libraries

> Speaking of questions that have been asked and answered before...
> The Library dean is suggesting that the videos be put in open stacks.
> I am not personally opposed to the idea, but I'm not sure that there are
> enough benefits in a collection who's first purpose is to support the
> curriculum. And I know that there are those that would be against the
> idea--both library staff and faculty.
> Those of you who have switched to open stacks, I need some specifics
> regarding the pros & cons of open stacks. Such as--
> How much did circulation increase?
> Have you experienced an increased loss rate?
> The current situation:
> Video and DVDs are in closed stacks. We allow browsing during the day.
> On evenings and weekends, Circulation will retrieve videos, but patrons
> can't browse.
> Videos already circulate to all groups, so I'm looking only at changing
> accessibility.
> Videos are not currently tattletaped, so that would be an expense. (Kwik
> Cases for all videos would be beyond our budget.)
> (Having heard videolib tales of creative DVD thieves, I'm thinking that
> the DVD collection is much safer staying in closed stacks regardless of
> what we decide regarding the videos.)
> Barb Bergman
> Media Services Librarian
> Minnesota State University-Mankato
> (507) 389-5945