Bond bill passes
(Oct. 14, 1993)
Once again history is repeating itself on the campus of East Carolina University. Faced with an increased enrollment and the ever increasing body of published knowledge, the staff at the James Yadkin Joyner Library is putting some of its books into storage.
The last time this happened was prior to the renovations to the original structure and the completion of the West Tower in 1974. Even as the original library opened in 1954, it was inadequate for the 2,400 student enrollment.
"We have somewhere between 950 thousand and 1 million volumes in our present collection," said Dr. Kenneth E. Marks, director of Academic Library Services at ECU. "To that you have to add the manuscripts and archives, the electronic equipment, the microfilm collections and a variety of things that aren't counted as books."
Presently there are about 75,000 volumes from the collection stored in a warehouse a couple of miles from the main campus and it is also, according to Marks, "completely out of space."
Storage, however, is not a cheap alternative. This year warehouse rental will be $46,000. Nor is it a safe one for library employees or materials. "We have problems with things getting into the building," Marks said, "Snakes, birds and other critters find their way inside."
The most alarming incident happened last summer. When a courier opened the building he found it filled with termites. "Termites and books are just about as bad as termites and houses," Marks said.
The books and other items stored there are not put into "cold storage" though. They are still used by students, faculty and others for research projects, although there can be up to a 24-hour delay in getting the materials in hand.
"These are materials that the library can identify as the lesser used," said Marks. "While not in as high demand as things published in 1991, 92 or 1993, they still have value for research work. The demand is going to continue to increase which will require additional warehouse space and staff to retrieve material. The problem is going to get worse rather than better over the next three or four years," he said.
"What we are faced with is that we can't take any more chairs or study stations out of the library. We add, automatically, between 30 and 35 thousand volumes to the collection every year. That means that next summer we will have to add another 30 to 40 thousand volumes into storage. And again the next year. Within about two years, we could have about twenty percent of our collection in storage." Those numbers, he added, don't take into consideration the materials from manuscripts and archives.
Passage of the statewide bond referendum on Nov. 2 for university improvement projects would allow ECU, among other things, to build a new addition to Joyner Library to house all the materials in the library's vast collection. It will also provide the library with an electronics information center and some much-needed seating and study areas for students.
"That should allow us to bring back to Joyner Library everything we have in storage and have room for growth," said Marks. In the meantime, he added, "we still have to find room for three more years of storage."
The bond referendum on higher education will support improvement projects for all 16 state university campuses, the nine Area Health Education Centers, the UNC Center for Public