Over the past six months the Arnold Arboretum Library has been engaged in a project to send old runs of journals to Harvard’s book depository facility in Southboro, MA. For the most part, the journals which have been sent out have been those which are available online through various sources such as Google Books, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and elsewhere. Like any materials stored at the Harvard Depository (HD), patrons can request the items through Harvard’s online library catalog HOLLIS and they will be available the next day in the Library.
We came to the decision to store materials at HD after fire and insurance inspections identified areas where books were blocking fire sprinklers. We realized that to free those sprinkler heads we would need to remove some to the periodicals offsite storage due to crowding elsewhere in the Library. Conditions at HD are optimized for materials preservation. The facility is kept consistently cool and dark to minimize aging and we are confident that the titles we store there will be well cared for. During this project we estimate we have sent over 300 grey bins of books (weighing up to 40lbs each) out to Southboro.
In addition to our bound journals we have also begun to send the digitized portion of our forestry collection to HD as well. As this is a legacy collection we no longer actively collect current materials in this subject but rather leave that task to our colleagues at the Harvard Forest. We were fortunate to have had the bulk of the pre-1909 titles digitized as part of the Google Books project in 2007 so they are now freely available online and discoverable through HOLLIS.
Moving forward we will continue to selectively consider books and collections to be stored remotely so that we can make the most effective use of our limited space here on the third floor of the Hunnewell Building. If you would like to explore our holdings further you will find all our books and journals on HOLLIS under the location name “Botany Arboretum.”
—Lisa Pearson, Head of Library and Archives