QUESTION: Floating Collections

question / pregunta: 

Any info on success or failure of Floating Collection. Are there librarians or library staff willing to share info and experiences with Floating Collections--where books just stay forever at whatever branch they are returned to. I found 4 published articles in LL. have talked with Vancouver PL staff, but I am looking for "How We Did It Bad" which never gets published.


Answer posted by:
jim miller

WilsonWeb's Library & Information Science gets 24 records for the search: floating collections and circulation Text, and at least 2 of them seem to discuss the need for more workload planning, aligning procedures, cooperation, etc.:

Title: Does It Matter Where the Books Are Shelved (Floating Collections)
Personal Author: Bray, Honore; Langstaff, Gloria
Journal Name: PNLA Quarterly
Source: PNLA Quarterly v. 72 no. 1 (Fall 2007) p. 19, 26
Publication Year: 2007
Subject(s): Cooperation/Montana; Interlibrary loans/Montana
ISSN: 0030-8188

and an earlier report:

TITLE: Floating Collections Within a Consortium: Or, Does It Matter Where the Materials Are Shelved? SOURCE: PNLA Quarterly 71 no1 12-13 Fall 2006

Ebsco's Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts gets very similar results with the search: floating collections (5 hits). Note that this database has no full text; compare Academic Search Premier which lets you "Select a field" TX all text in its advanced search; and gets 15 hits for: "floating collection*" and (library or libraries).

Possibly you can find some case studies including problems by searching, where the search: "floating collections" problems gets 18 hits, and "floating collections" drawbacks gets 1. But compare Google, even without limiting to site:gov or site:edu, that gets 13 hits (25 including dups) for the search: "floating collections" drawbacks; 15 (of 26) for "floating collections" problems site:edu, and 20 (of 7) for: "floating collections" problems site:us. You can experiment with site:gov,, and to try to limit to "official" sites, or studies at actual libraries. To be sure, you will still get many hits that include librarians' resumes that list work with floating collections. But it still may pay to try many other searches, such as: "floating collections" "case studies" problems (28 of 155 hits), or more likely: "floating collections" "case studies" which gets 31.

Even if this is for scholarly research, the web searches can help get names of libraries and people or government/consortial agencies involved. You can then go back into the library science databases, or even scholarly ones such as JSTOR and ScienceDirect, using those names in your searches. If this is a major project or masters thesis, Dissertations and Theses Fulltext is a must, probably using its proximity operators such as W/nn or W/Para (instead of AND) to get names and words closer together in those 100+ page documents.

Jim Miller

close to home

Funny -- the huge urban public library system I work at has just gone to floating just about everything, and I also looked for more nuanced materials about the effects of a single collection that floats. I didn't find much, either, except a few PowerPoints from other library systems that they posted on the Web after having presented them at some conference somewhere, and the main thing I took away from those was the importance of getting staff involved with the decision and staggering the implementation (i.e. don't float everything at once).

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