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Digital Rules the Library

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, circulation of digital materials in many college libraries across the country has “far surpassed circulations of physical books and media.” Neumann is at the forefront of this trend, placing fifth nationally in the digital share of its circulation at 99.6%


The Chronicle’s list, published on March 31, compared four-year, private institutions whose libraries have a circulation of one million or more items. Data is from the 2014-15 academic year.


According to Tiffany McGregor, library director, the growth of digital circulation at Neumann is part of a plan that started several years ago with the library renovation.


“During phase one of the renovation, we culled about 45% of the physical collection,” explained McGregor, “and focused on implementing continual, cyclical weeding/replacing in order to maintain the most relevant print collection possible; our print collection therefore remains somewhat steady, usually numbering between 55-65 thousand volumes. Physical circulation numbers immediately spiked and have remained rather steady, but digital collecting took a large uptick. 


“Since phase one of the renovation, we have more than doubled our e-book collection, and currently number around 165,000 volumes. We also constantly curate digital journal and database collections and currently provide full-text access to over 100,000 journals.
Electronic journals and databases were immediately valued by our students, but warming to ebooks was a bit more gradual. I believe that our focus on building electronic Reference collections using tools like Credo, and introducing them through information literacy sessions help students gain comfort and confidence.”


Regarding the overwhelming migration toward digital circulation, McGregor reaffirmed the library’s commitment to flexibility and unique student needs. “Many students appreciate having access to the tactile experience of books, but also appreciate the convenience and reach of digital collections. We are happy to provide a diverse set of mediums to help them best develop their information and critical thinking skills.”