Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Charleston Library Conference


Date of Submission

February 2018



Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries (VCUL) has been faced with serious space problems for more than a decade. Initiatives to correct this include the digital shift. VCUL’s new policy stipulates that journal subscriptions should be electronic only, wherever available. Where publishers offer both print and online for the same price, the library donates the print instead of keeping them on the shelves. Replacing print series with the electronic version as they become available is another ongoing practice. Added to these is moving infrequently used or superseded materials to storage as a continuous activity. All these were short‐lived measures until now. In the spring 2014, VCUL began the construction of a new library and the renovation of the old one on its Monroe Park Campus. When completed, it will have 63,000 square feet of renovated space and 93,000 square feet of new space. Both old and new will be 263 square feet. The new facility will alleviate overcrowding and add much needed study and collaborative spaces. The new space will have 25 new group study rooms, a 65‐seat quiet reading room, a 110‐seat graduate and faculty research center, an innovative media center, an expanded café, and a 300‐seat public auditorium. Ninety percent of the new space will be for students. In order for the renovation to begin, it was necessary to release the space currently housing part of the collection. This involved moving, shifting, weeding, and deaccessioning a large number of materials in the collection. This paper describes the repurposing of space, reshelving, storing, and withdrawing approximately 1.5 million volumes, a process we call “The Big Shift.” This is a major endeavor, one that will have an impact on Cabell Library for a long time to come. In the words of John Duke our Senior Associate University Librarian, “Virtually every book and media piece in the library will have to be touched, along with hundreds of thousands of bibliographic records” (Duke, 2013).

Is Part Of

VCU Libraries Faculty and Staff Publications