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Hoover/SUL Realignment

Frequently Asked Questions about the Realignment of the Hoover Library

16 January 2001

Context for concerns

"The Hoover Library has a unique world-class collection of materials on twentieth century political history. Given its particular focus, Hoover has acquired materials in a manner quite different from the more generalist approach of Green Library. The Hoover collection has been built by curators and bibliographers with a high level of expertise in regional area studies and a knowledge and commitment to the particular focus of the Hoover collection. The excellence of this collection and its importance to the Stanford community would be jeopardized by a generalist's approach to acquisitions based on standard blanket orders."


Response to preceding paragraph

First and most important is the passing of responsibility and collection development policies from the Hoover Library to the Stanford University Library intact. The University Libraries will absorb and continue the collection development policies devised by the Hoover Library in coordination over many years with curators in SUL. The intent of the realignment is to intensify the collecting efforts of the Hoover Archive in its areas of interest, to assemble in the University Libraries similar but formerly separated collection development programs and to gain synergies, to eliminate certain redundancies, and to improve access to research and teaching materials. Currently and historically, the SUL curators are and have been expected to provide the depth of coverage appropriate to great research programs in: American and British History; American and British Literature; History and cultures of continental European countries; Latin America; Slavic languages, literatures and cultures; the history of science and technology; Judaic studies; Western European social sciences including demography and population studies; and, recently, social and behavioral sciences. These curators have built great general collections and great special collections including rare books, manuscripts, and archives. The use of blanket orders and approval plans by SUL curators insures the receipt of many books published in small print runs, but they also free the curators from time consuming selection of individual titles which are commonly available in order to ferret out more difficult items for the collections. At institutions such as Yale, Harvard, UC/Berkeley, the Library of Congress and Cornell, subject and area curators routinely use blanket orders and approval plans in order both to assure coverage of common materials and to have time to identify and acquire more arcane titles.


"Concerns about the plan to move the collection responsibilities of the Hoover Library for trade and university press materials and newspapers and periodicals to Green Library."

Q: Will there be professional curators, cataloguers and support staff at Green who will be competent and committed to continuing the collection with the particular focus it has had at the Hoover Library? Will the Hoover Library's professional staff play a role in any decisions that are made on this matter? Has any consideration been made to ensure that the Hoover professional staff are able to express their professional opinions freely on this matter?

A: Yes, SUL will maintain the same level of expertise for area studies collecting that has existed in the Hoover Library. SUL has dedicated curatorial expertise in place for areas it has had the responsibility to cover (e.g: French, Italian, & Spanish history, culture & literature; German Studies (including history, culture and literature of Germanic and Nordic language countries); Slavic history, culture & literature; Latin American history, culture, & literature; British history, culture, & literature; Western European social sciences; etc.). SUL will appoint additional area curators for other parts of the world affected by the realignment, which SUL has not been covering in depth because of the coordination of efforts with the Hoover Library. As for the bibliographic support staff, each collecting area will have sufficient respective support staff assigned to it to insure ordering of desired titles and follow through on the order as well as effective cataloging teams to get the material on the shelves and into the hands of readers.

Q: How will the focus on the collecting of non-blanket order materials that the Hoover Library currently acquires be maintained?

A: Curators in Green currently spend most of their work time selecting materials that are not covered by approval plans. This is expected not only to continue but also to be intensified for areas of the world where approval plans work. There are areas of the world in which bibliographic control and the book trade are not well organized (e.g, Africa, The Middle East, South Asia). In these areas, the judicious use of book dealers to gather material before the establishment or in lieu of bibliographic control as well as early warning of interesting and potentially desirable publishing projects in addition to individual title selection, has proven efficacious at other distinguished institutions.


Q: Will the Green Library receive an adequate budget from the university to continue the scope of the collecting the Hoover Library has undertaken?

A: There will be NO reduction in the acquisition budget. Hoover’s portion of the acquisition budget for general materials will be transferred to SUL and will be added to the existing SUL Library materials budget.

Q: Will there be adequate faculty involvement in determining the acquisition policy of Green Library regarding the materials historically collected by the Hoover Library?

A: Absolutely. Faculty have always been consulted on matters of acquisition policy by SUL collection development staff. SUL has an exemplary record in consulting faculty for its collection development program. There is obviously no need to change this practice and the new areas of collecting responsibility will simply bring with them other and more faculty to consult, as areas require.


Q: What will happen to the hard copies of newspapers and periodicals currently at the Hoover Library?

A: The decision of whether these will be moved out of the Hoover Tower is one that remains to be made in consultation with Hoover curators. Once the Hoover curators decide that any individual journal or newspaper should come to SUL, we will take care of them as we do all of our other collections. We assume that SUL and Hoover will work together to make such genre decisions as whither the newspaper collection together.

Q: Who will stipulate the circulation policy for the ephemeral materials and other primary sources that will continue to be collected in the Hoover Library?

A: Appropriate officers of the Hoover Institution.

Q: What will be the net change of central campus library space lost or gained by the transfer of the Hoover Library's printed books to Green?

A: It is estimated that about 50% of the Hoover Tower 1,000,000 volume collection will be moved under SUL care and management (the final number of volumes will result from reviews of the Hoover curatorial staff). This translates into roughly 50,000 linear feet of shelving. These materials will be integrated with collections in Green, SAL and other repositories as decided according to subject, type of publication and level of use. Hoover transfers will receive the same consideration and review as Green Library materials.


Q: Will there be faculty input in decisions regarding what materials will be moved to remote storage as a consequence of this devolution of collecting responsibilities?

A: SUL has in the past consulted faculty and has sought the endorsement of the Senate Committee on the Libraries for decisions on the redeployment of categories of materials. This practice will continue.


Q: Will the full text of the proposal for the SUL/Hoover realignment be circulated soon to the full university faculty for comment?

A: A fully-articulated document on the redistribution of collecting responsibility will become available as a result of discussion among Hoover and SUL curators and their respective collection development directors. Other conditions of the realignment have been made accessible to the Provost’s Committee on the Hoover/SUL realignment recently.

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| Table of Contents | Transmittal Memo | Library Reorganization | Attachment 1 | Supplement to Attachment 1 | Timetable |
| Timetable East Asia | Hoover FAQ | Project Budget | Keller Letter to Editor | Raisian/Palm Letter to Editor |
| Etchemendy Letter to Editor | Message from the Provost |