Developing our active collection

We're reviewing and reorganising our St Lucia print collections to create a highly focused collection that is current, relevant and useful. Low or lower use items will move to the UQ Library Warehouse. This will help us make the best use of limited space to meet two of the pressing demands on the Library:

  • The housing of our current and future print collections
  • The provision of more library spaces for students 

As collections move, UQ Library Search results will continue to provide information about the location of print/physical items.

Current, relevant and useful collections 

We will be reviewing our print/physical collections to make sure that what we have on the shelves is current, relevant and useful, and directly supports the University’s current teaching, learning, and research needs. This material is defined in the Library Collection Management Policy as our 'active collection'. Our print collections are complemented by our extensive electronic collections, which include eBooks and eJournals that are used heavily. 

We will be reviewing items in our print collections and making a decision to:

  • Leave them where they are,
  • Move them to another library location at St Lucia, or
  • Move them to the UQ Library Warehouse, which is purpose-built for storing and protecting books, journals, documents and archives.

A small amount of material will be identified for deselection and disposal based on criteria defined in the Library Collection Management Policy.

What we will keep on the shelves at St Lucia

We will keep items on the shelves at St Lucia if they have been:

  • Purchased recently
  • Borrowed recently
  • Browsed recently 

What we will move to the UQ Library Warehouse

We will move items to the UQ Library Warehouse if they:

  • Are not integral to supporting UQ’s strategic and current teaching, learning and research needs
  • Are of significance and related to past or future UQ needs
  • Have non-recent, low or non-existent online use or borrowing statistics, or
  • Have non-recent, low or non-existent evidence of browsing activity by UQ clients

This material will continue to be discoverable via UQ Library Search and available to you upon on request, either for loan or online delivery. Find out how to request items from the UQ Library Warehouse


We anticipate that this project will result in more relevant and current print/physical collections at St Lucia. By moving some material to the UQ Library Warehouse, we will also free up space for other uses, such as creating more library spaces that support student learning and research.

We're consulting on this issue

It is important for our Faculties, Schools, staff and students to be informed and to give us feedback on the way we operate. We are talking to the UQ Community about the changes we're making and will also post updates on our blog.

A message from the University Librarian

I am contacting you to let you know about the Library’s Active Collection Project, which involves a review of all materials in our on-site collections to ensure the optimization of library spaces for our collections and our clients.

The project will result in a reduced physical footprint for the print collections in the Social Sciences and Humanities Library, Dorothy Hill Engineering and Sciences Library, and Architecture and Music Library. Older, lesser-used items will be relocated to the Library warehouse, a purpose-built, environmentally-controlled facility at the UQ Gatton campus, that can store and protect books, journals, documents and archives. Material housed here will continue to be discoverable and available staff and students. Additionally, it is expected that a small amount of material will be identified for deselection and disposal, based on long-standing criteria defined in the Library Collection Management Policy.

There has been an extensive internal consultation process about the project, and the plan was recently presented to the UQ Library Advisory Committee, which is chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Joanne Wright.

For several years, we have seen a steady decline in the use of our print collections and a steady increase in the use of electronic resources, including ebooks and ejournals. The current ratio of use of the online collections (e-book loan or article download) to use of the print collections (book loan) is around 40:1, and increasing.

At the same time, student demand for study space in the Library is at an all-time high. We receive many complaints from students that they can’t find an empty seat or unused computer in the Library. Our gate-count statistics support what students are telling us: there are often more students in the Library than there are seats and computers available.

For some years, we have been relocating older, less-used print material to the Library warehouse and, where possible, making more learning space available to students by replacing shelves of print collections with a range of seating options. This approach has been largely incremental. The current project is intended to take a more holistic approach to our print collections at the UQ St Lucia Campus, to ensure that they contain current, relevant, useful material that directly supports the University’s current teaching, learning, and research needs. All warehoused material will remain discoverable via UQ Library Search and items from the warehouse can be made available to our clients on request, either for loan or online delivery.

While we believe this project will result in more relevant and current on-site collections and more study spaces for students, we recognise that some of our clients will question the further reduction of print collections on campus. We understand that there may be a perception that this equates to a diminution of the library collection. We will work to reassure our clients that this is not the case, and we will continue to build our collection to support a world top-50 university.

I hope you will be supportive of this initiative.

A second phase of the project, not yet fully scoped, will look to consolidate the majority of the remaining St Lucia physical collections in one location. Further details on that project will be forthcoming.


Robert Gerrity
University Librarian

Contact us

If you need assistance with locating items in our collections, please ask us

For more information, or if you have a question about the project, please contact Heather Todd, Director of Learning and Research Services (email or phone +61 7 334 64329).

Last updated:
30 June 2017