Five Colleges announces plans to build shared library annex

September 10, 2014

The Five College Consortium will soon begin construction of a 2.5-million-volume library annex that will provide shelving to supplement the capacities of the on-campus libraries.

According to Five College Executive Director Neal Abraham, the creation of an annex is the latest of many joint efforts of the libraries of the consortium.

“There is a long history of the consortium pooling resources to improve library services for our students and faculty members,” he said. “In 1951—more than a decade before the creation of the Five College Consortium—the campus libraries created their first interlibrary loan system with a twice-daily messenger and single subscriptions to many research journals that were shared. This early collaboration not only set the stage for the subsequent 70-plus years of shared efforts by the campus libraries but also for formalizing various other inter-campus collaborations through the creation of the Consortium itself.  More recent library collaborations include a shared on-line catalog, shared cataloging, a common discovery tool, and shared electronic subscriptions to databases, journals and e-books.”

The Annex will be available to serve the needs of any of the libraries of the five campuses, but the decision to build it was motivated by space requirements identified in the libraries master plan for the University of Massachusetts Amherst and projected needs of Smith College libraries during an anticipated major renovation of its Neilson Library. Explorations of possibilities for an annex began at the request of the Five College librarians and chief academic officers in 2011 and planning has continued since then.

Primarily intended to house print materials—in most cases volumes that are rarely referenced or circulated—the Annex will have climate-controlled conditions that are better for long-term preservation of materials than the conditions in library stacks.

The Consortium is considering a site near an existing member campus with a goal of opening it in the fall of 2015. The proximity of the facility to the campuses means that the materials will be readily accessible, with the Five College messenger making morning and afternoon stops at the Annex to retrieve requested items for library patrons. 

For more information about the Annex visit the Five College Libary Annex webpage.