What do you do when your serials librarian retires and there’s no option to hire a replacement? You form a committee. When the University of Cincinnati Health Sciences serials librarian retired in early 2010, budget cuts required that the position be eliminated from the personnel lines. While other aspects of her position could be redistributed, rather than reassign another librarian to manage the collection development tasks, the library director decided to pool the responsibilities for serials selection, faculty contact, subscription termination, and all other tasks relative to serials collection maintenance. With varying knowledge of journal management, the committee of five (the director, two information services librarians, one informationist and a technical services librarian) has worked as a team through journal cancellations, continued format switches, and new acquisitions for three years.
Over those three years, we have systematically addressed new requests, budget impact, journal usage, the balance between clinical versus research faculty requests, and a significant change in our user mix that continues to inform us that no matter the number of journals in our collections, if the desired journal title is not among them, there are not have enough journals. This paper will describe the myriad challenges, changes, and lessons learned plus our successes and a few missteps along the way during the last three years of managing the UC Health Sciences Library journal collection by committee. Audience interaction will include polling throughout the presentation.