Where Did the Ekstrom Reference Collection Go?


Cover picture of the book Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology

You may have noticed that the 30,000 volume printed reference collection in the Ekstrom Library has been rapidly shrinking over the course of the last year. We recently completed a massive review and inventory of this collection because use of the collection has changed substantially in recent years. Due to the ubiquity of search engines and the ease of access to brief, factual data, the need for quick look-up is now rare. There is still a need for authoritative overviews on topics, however, and that was one of our considerations as we chose which titles to keep on the 1st floor.


The review involved physically removing the books from the shelf and matching them against the list of items pulled from the catalog that had the location of Ekstrom Reference. In the process, we were able to identify items that had been lost, items we thought were lost but were present, items that were miscataloged or not cataloged at all. Along with baby name books and search manuals for defunct databases, our most amusing find was a laminated picture of a pin-up girl that someone had carefully kept hidden in the International Bibliography of Research in Marriage and the Family.


Most of the books were moved either to the regular stacks on the 3rd or 4th floor or to the Robotic Retrieval System (RRS). These books can now be checked out. A small percentage of the books which have an online equivalent will be weeded from the Library’s collection all together.


Cover picture of the book Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language

We will be maintaining approximately 15% of the total collection as a print reference collection. Items staying in the reference collection were selected due to their general nature, high quality, and currency. Over time, we anticipate the collection becoming smaller yet, as many titles move to online-only equivalents.

Sometime this summer, we will be shifting the remaining books to be closer together to form the compact and hopefully easily browsable reference collection.

If you have a favorite reference book that you can’t find, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help you locate it in its new home.


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