Friday, November 4, 2011

Johns Hopkins Medical Library Closing

On January 1, 2012, the Welch Medical Library at Johns Hopkins University will close its physical building to users and shift all operations to an online environment. Citing a decline in on-site visitors and explosive growth of online journal usage, the decision was made to re-purpose the 81 year-old library's space and deliver all services electronically. Librarians will continue to provide support for the teaching and research missions at Johns Hopkins as "embedded informationists," found in the work-flow of clinicians, investigators and instructors.

An interesting point covered by the article from the Digital Shift is that the Welch Medical Library currently allocates 95% of its acquisitions budget to electronic journal and database subscriptions. According to the library director, Nancy Roderer, savings from closing the library will be redirected back to the collections budget, resulting in a collection that is 95% digital. Roughly translated, this means that 95% of the Welch acquisitions budget will be invested in licensed content rather than owned material. Eighty one-years of collection development and 400,000 volumes later, the Welch Medical Library is mortgaging its future as an information provider on a radically different acquisitions model.

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