Collections on the move: Improving access and enhancing discovery

Select Stanford Libraries collections are being moved to improve access and enhance discovery.
May 30, 2023Philip Schreur

Taking advantage of the decommissioning of the Stanford Auxiliary Libraries 1-2 (SAL 1-2) located near Serra Street and El Camino, the Stanford University Libraries (SUL) have planned a three-year project to enhance both physical access to and discovery of hidden and poorly served collections. As part of this project, the rare book collection, totaling over 200,000 volumes, will be moved to the West Stacks of Green Library, providing secure access for faculty and researchers, and ready availability to world-class digitization services. Unique and rare materials belonging to the East Asia Library (EAL) will now be housed within EAL itself, and thousands of EAL’s titles hidden in large, multi-volume sets will be made discoverable for the first time. 

1,300 archival and manuscript collections stored in 22,000 archival boxes will be made discoverable through ArcLight, an online environment developed at Stanford, especially for archives and special collections. Over 750,000 books and serials will be moved to SAL 3, the Libraries’ high-density facility. As part of this project, SUL will be increasing delivery from SAL 3 to campus to twice daily, providing convenient access for faculty and students. Nearly every part of the Libraries will be involved in this project, drawing on the expertise and energy of many SUL staff. This massive effort will be a Herculean logistical task with hundreds of interlocking parts and will redefine how SUL approaches access and discovery in the 21st century.

The project will impact library collection discovery and access in various ways: 

  • Once the project is complete, the rare book collection held at SAL 2 will be accessed via the West Stacks in Green Library by library staff and will be pageable by patrons and researchers to the Special Collections Reading Room. From the summer of 2023 to spring quarter of 2024, when the rare book collection will be transitioning to its new home, access to the rare book collection currently housed in SAL 2 will be severely limited. Faculty, students, and researchers who may need access to items in the rare book collection during the transition period should contact their subject area specialist or the Rare Books Curator by June 15, 2023.
  • The critical portions of the Education Library collection of most need to patrons have been incorporated into Green Library. The remainder of the collection will be made available via paging from the Libraries’ storage facility in Newark until the collection as a whole can be moved into its new home in the newly renovated Education building.
  • The East Asia Library special collections materials will be moved from SAL 1-2 to the East Asia Library over time as space is made available. Those who anticipate needing access to these materials should contact the East Asia Library directly at least two weeks in advance of their anticipated visit to the library to make sure of their availability.
  • Collections held by University Archives and the Manuscripts Division will be unavailable as they transition from SAL 1-2 to SAL 3. Those who anticipate needing access to these materials, especially researchers traveling from afar, should request materials long in advance to see if they can be made available. Records for newly processed manuscript material will be made available via the Online Archive of California and the Libraries’ discovery environments as they are processed.
  • Books and serials transferred from SAL 1-2 to SAL 3 may be slightly delayed as they are transferred but will be immediately available via paging to campus as soon as they are ingested into their new home.