RLI 283 26 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2013 The Confluence of Collections at Johns Hopkins’s Sheridan Libraries Liz Mengel, Associate Director, Scholarly Resources and Special Collections, Johns Hopkins University Libraries S ince the creation of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library in 1964, Special Collections at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has been housed in the main library and has been a part of the daily flow of overall library operations. As with many other special collections departments, this department was securely sheltered behind doors where the staff performed similar activities to other library departments such as collection development, reference, and instruction. Over the past four years, the Sheridan Libraries have been making deliberate efforts to remove the metaphorical silos that separate Special Collections and other library departments. In particular, the libraries have done this by looking at how collection funds are used and by blending positions to work in both Special Collections and the Academic Liaison Department. Disciplined-based Collecting Teams JHU’s collections-funding model is fairly complex. In the simplest terms, 95 percent of the libraries’ annual collections budget comes directly from the four schools that fund the libraries. These funds are designated as “general collections funds” and are further subdivided by format (print, electronic, etc.) then along broad discipline lines (engineering, science, humanities, social science, etc.) and finally, for print only, by department (sociology, mathematics, English, etc.). It is within the general collections fund structure where the libraries allocate funds for special collections purchases. The remaining 5 percent of the collections budget comes from endowed funds, of which some are specifically designated for special collections. Overall responsibility for all collection budgeting, allocation, and strategy resides with the associate director, scholarly resources and special collections. Individual subject specialists or curators manage departmental-level funds (sociology, mathematics, English, etc.) and discipline teams manage the broader discipline funds and some of the endowed funds. The libraries have been using the discipline-group model since 2006. In allocating for special collections, the goal is to ensure that the funds available for special collections purchases are approximately 4 to 5 percent of the total collections budget (both general and endowed funds). This percentage is based on the libraries’ own internal commitment to special collections in a science- and engineering-heavy environment. The amount that is designated for special collections purchases in the general funds is split between four separate funds that support specific collecting areas: the George Peabody Library (a 19th-century collection), 19th- and 20th-century American literature, archives, and rare books (pre 1801) and manuscripts. Integrated Decision Making Three of the four general special collections funds are managed fairly informally by small discipline- oriented teams: the George Peabody fund, the 19th- and 20th-century American literature fund, and the archives fund. These teams are made up of the curators and liaison librarians whose expertise matches
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