Transitions & Consolidations FAQ

Library Restructuring

Q.  How exactly is the Library being restructured?

A.  The Library is transitioning from a decentralized organization set up to manage numerous discipline-based branch libraries to one that is more centralized, streamlined, and operationally cohesive in serving the needs the campus community. Our new structure, which has been shaped by the Library’s strategic planning process, is intended to organizationally consolidate library services and resources into a single campus library entity, while continuing to offer excellent and responsive user services that can adapt to and meet the various needs of the academic community. 

Q. Will the Library still have discipline-based branch libraries?

A.  As part of this restructuring, at the end of the 2012-13 academic year, we no longer will maintain our remaining discipline-based libraries as separate organizational units.  The discipline-based libraries that are housed in the Geisel building—Arts, Science & Engineering, and Social Sciences & Humanities libraries—as well as the Biomedical Library, will all become part of a unified library organization. Consequently, we are also transitioning from using “UC San Diego Libraries” as our name to using “UC San Diego Library.”  We believe this new name better represents our organization.

Q.  How are faculty, students, and other library users being impacted by this restructuring? Will the level of service I receive from the Library change in any way?

A.  We do not anticipate that the organizational restructuring of the Library will have a negative impact on faculty, students, and other users and we will do all we can to minimize the impacts of the changes. Our users will continue to have access to the many services and resources—both physical and digital—that they have come to expect from the Library.   Library staff will continue to provide core library services, such as Book Check-Out, Reserves, and Interlibrary Loan.  Library staff with discipline expertise will continue to provide expert subject-based support and advice.  Outstanding research collections will continue to be developed and made available. Library services and resources will continue to be provided from four buildings:  the Geisel Library, the Biomedical Library building, the Scripps Archives and Library Annex, and our Miramar Road Storage Annex.  Our aim is to continue to deliver excellent and responsive services and resources.  We will continue to solicit input from various campus constituencies to ensure that library services continue to meet campus needs. If users feel unduly impacted by this restructuring or notice that something isn’t working for them, we would greatly appreciate that feedback.

Q.   With the consolidation of the remaining discipline-based branch libraries, what will be happening to the staff and the services and resources that were offered by these individual units?

A.   Effective June 30, 2013, the discipline-based libraries will no longer function as separate units.  However, many of the same services and resources will continue to be offered in the same locations and, in many cases, they will be provided by the same staff members and librarians.  However, we do expect that some staff reassignments will occur and that some services and resources may be relocated to different spaces.  If we anticipate that any of these changes will have a significant impact on library users, the Library will seek input from the campus community. 

Q.  Why are you restructuring in this way and what do you hope to achieve by doing this?

A.  The Library’s new organizational structure  is intended to help us effectively and efficiently deliver the services and information resources needed by UC San Diego faculty, students, and other users, with the reduced staff, financial, and space resources now available to us. It will also give us a more focused, efficient, and nimble way to redefine library services so that they reflect the evolving needs of the UCSD community. These include an increased demand for digital services and resources, a continuing decline in the use of physical library resources, and a desire for a variety of spaces for study, scholarship, and community. This transition from print and physical access to digital and virtual access is a significant trend, spurring major changes at academic libraries across the nation. 

Q.  Will faculty members still work with the same subject specialists or will there be reassignments? Will the Library continue to have advisory groups?

A.   While there may be some changes, faculty members will continue to interact with and receive guidance and assistance largely from the same expert library staff.  We will also continue to actively solicit feedback from faculty in order to ensure that we are providing the best service we can with available resources.  Once the new organizational structure is in place, the Library will create new advisory committees to maintain open and continuing dialogue with faculty and other users.

Q.  Will the consolidation of the discipline-based libraries impact study space in Geisel?  What about the Biomedical Library space?

A.   The consolidation of the libraries in Geisel will have no negative impact on library study space.  Once the discipline-based libraries no longer exist as separate organizational units, their space will just become Geisel Library space.   The Geisel Overnight (24/5) Study Commons will continue to be available and additional Geisel study spaces will become available over time.  Users should also see no difference in the study space available in the Biomedical Library building. 

Our new organizational structure will include a program devoted to ‘Library Spaces,’ which will be tasked with managing  the user spaces in all library buildings and identifying new and innovative ways to enhance those spaces to accommodate the changing needs of students and faculty.  

Collection Consolidation Efforts 

Q.  Why has the Library been consolidating its collections?

A.  Collection consolidations have been necessary to accommodate our smaller footprint—from seven to four physical locations.  When these consolidations are completed within the next  year, our collections will reside in:  the Geisel Library; the Biomedical Library building; the Miramar Road Library Storage Annex; and the Scripps Archives and Library Annex.

Previous budget cuts have required us to implement a wide range of cost-cutting measures, including the elimination of print journal subscriptions duplicated in electronic versions and at other UC campuses. We have also seen an overall decrease in the purchasing of new books and journals.  While these cuts may have meant that UCSD faculty and students have access to a reduced number of materials here on campus, the Library remains committed to providing just-in-time acquisition and delivery of materials. Increasingly, this has meant a high priority for digital resources or provision of digital access to materials as they are needed and requested.

Q.  What criteria have you been using to make these consolidation decisions?

A.  Our guiding principles for the location and arrangement of the physical collections have been:  ease of access and preferred use; proximity to the academic divisions and schools that use the materials; and the integration and clustering of collections that support complementary academic divisions.

Our focus has been on the withdrawal of only those materials—mostly older journals and monographs—that have not been used over the last decade, are available in digital format, and are available at other UC libraries or at one of the UC Regional Library facilities. Our library collection coordinators, who have significant subject and bibliographic expertise, have managed the review of materials for possible withdrawal.  Unique and rare materials, such as those from our Special Collections, have not been included in this review process.

Q.   How long will this process take? What has happened so far and what materials have been involved?

A.   We embarked on a three-year collections consolidation process in 2011, which we expect to have completed by the end of 2013. In the academic year 2012/13, we have completed the integration of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean materials formerly in the IR/PS Library with our East Asian materials on the 4th floor of Geisel Library.  Previously, materials from the Medical Center Library were consolidated into the Biomedical Library collections. The Library has now completed the installation of compact shelving on the first floor (East wing) of Geisel Library, which is enabling us to consolidate bound journals from science collections within Geisel and from the Scripps Library.   Selected materials—including duplicated and dated items—from both these collections are housed in the Library’s Miramar Road Library Storage Annex or in the Southern Regional Library Facility, and are available on request.  

Q.  How are the consolidated collections being arranged?

A.  The goal is to arrange the consolidated collections in consistent call number order within the library buildings. In general, the Library’s collections are being consolidated and integrated in the Geisel and Biomedical Library buildings. Lesser-used materials are being stored in our offsite Miramar Road Library Storage Annex or added to the UC Regional Storage Facilities. Our plan has called for locating reference materials, actively used books, and print journals published since 2000 in the Geisel and Biomedical library buildings.

Geisel collections include materials in the arts and music, humanities, social sciences, engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and the marine sciences, in addition to East Asia materials, and the holdings of the Mandeville Special Collections Library. Eventually, all these materials, including the general Scripps collections—but excluding reference, special collections, East Asia, and media or other special format materials—will be arranged in one call number sequence.

The collections housed in the Biomedical Library building will continue to include biological science, medicine, and pharmacology materials for the foreseeable future.

The Scripps Archives and Library Annex (on the third floor of the Eckart building of the SIO campus) includes the Scripps archives, scientific expedition reports, and other special collections, including the Hubbs collection, nautical charts, and selected maps and atlases. These materials will be accessible through the Library’s online catalog, Roger, and will be available for physical use by arrangement through Special Collections & Archives (858-534-2533).

We are continuing to seek feedback from faculty members from academic units across campus to ensure that our thinking about the proposed location and arrangement of our collections takes diverse faculty preferences into account.  Faculty feedback has been essential and instrumental in our plans to date.

Q.   What other changes to the collections can we expect to see?

A.   While we work to consolidate and increase our capacity for library materials in Geisel Library, we have temporarily relocated some materials from Geisel to the Miramar Road Library Storage Annex. These materials include social sciences and humanities oversized materials and pre-1990 bound journals from the Science & Engineering collections.  While many of the journals are available online, the Library is providing a “scan and delivery” service for materials that are not.  We are scanning articles from those journals not available online and delivering them to the requester’s desktop.  If a physical volume is needed, users can request it for prompt delivery back to a campus library. Library users who wish to visit the Miramar Road Library Storage Annex can do so by appointment by contacting Ruby Loredo at or 858.653.6641.

We have been monitoring requests to determine demand and use patterns, and will continue to do so.  Frequently used materials will be returned to a campus library facility after completion of the consolidated shelving project.  We have also committed resources to increasing our digital access to retrospective journal holdings, so we expect to continue to see improved online access to journal backfiles.

Q.  Where will the Scripps Library materials be housed, now that the Scripps Library has closed?

A.  In July of 2012, the Library began a year-long effort to consolidate the Scripps Library print collections into the Geisel Library.  The Scripps general collection is now in the process of being moved to Geisel Library, a process that will be completed by fall 2013. Until that time, Scripps Library materials can continue to be paged from Geisel Library. The Scripps Archives and Library Annex, located on the 3rd floor of the Eckart building on the Scripps campus, continues to provide access to special collections and archives by appointment, Monday thru Friday from 9 to 5 p.m. In addition, to better meet the needs of Scripps’ faculty and students, study space and delivery of library materials from Geisel to Scripps is currently provided.

Q.  What about the Science & Engineering Library?  Where will those materials reside?

A.  In response to feedback from our faculty users, S&E materials—including engineering and mathematical sciences, and chemistry and physical sciences— will continue to be housed in the Geisel Library building, where they will remain in close proximity to the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Division of Physical Sciences. 

Q.   How can I provide feedback on collection consolidations?

A .  We continue to solicit and encourage feedback from the campus community in order to ensure that the decisions we make about the arrangement of the collections meet the needs of our users.  Please send us your feedback at:

You may also contact your library liaison at:

Library Budget Cuts

Q.  How has the Library been impacted by budget cuts?

A.   Since 2008, the Library has absorbed cuts of approximately $5 million (nearly 20 percent of our State funding).  The effect has been a decrease in state funding to support Library operations and collections. While we have been able to offset some of the cuts to collections with endowment funding, that has not been the case with operations and staffing.

Q.  How has the Library absorbed these cuts?

A.   The repeated budget cuts we received between 2008/09 and 2011/12 required us to close three library facilities:  the Medical Center Library (April 2011); the Center for Library & Instructional Computing Services (CLICS) (June 2011); and the International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS) Library (July 2011). These closures resulted in our smaller campus footprint, which has required us to consolidate our collections. In addition to these closures, we have:  reduced total library hours; consolidated service points; slowed down digitization efforts; reduced instruction and classroom support; decreased spending for information and scholarly resources; implemented cuts in supplies and equipment; reduced binding support; and dramatically cut budgets for facilities maintenance and renovation.  In addition, we were forced to eliminate the campus paging system, Roger Request, and have eliminated approximately 65 positions (22% of our workforce).

Q.  How have budget cuts impacted Library collections?

A.  The Library has been forced to reduce our State-funded collections budget by almost $2 million (or more than 20%) since 2008-09.  These cuts have required us to implement a wide range of cost-cutting measures, including the elimination of print journal subscriptions duplicated at other UC campuses and an overall decrease in the purchasing of new books and journals.  With the more recent flat budget, we have managed to offset cuts to the state budget with endowment funding.

Q.  How have Library users been impacted by cuts in service and closures?  Will I get the help I need to complete my research or find a resource?

A.  Cuts in library funding have unavoidably led to some reductions in staffing  and services.  While faculty, students, and other patrons will find the same quality of service, they also may experience longer waiting periods and lines as a result of library consolidations and staffing reductions.  A top priority for the Library has been to protect our electronic resources budget to ensure that our users have access to the same high level of online information resources.  Library staff remain committed to doing all they can to provide users with the assistance they need.