On Tuesday, April 9 the Northeast Ohio Regional Book Depository celebrated its 20th anniversary with guests from both Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), as well as from the Depository’s partner institutions- The University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Kent State University and Youngstown State University.
Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D., associate dean of academic affairs for the College of Pharmacy, spoke of the strong partnership and what it symbolizes in his opening remarks.
“This isn’t just a collection of dusty old books,” said Dr. Kasmer. “The many achievements of the Depository demonstrates all of the incredible things we can accomplish when the public universities of Northeast Ohio work together for the greater good of the community. At times, we may differ in our goals or values, but at the end of the day we all care deeply about our role as academic leaders to help create a better educated public. Individually we are each strong, but when we come together, we begin to see the true impact we can make.”
Phyllis O'Connor, interim dean of university libraries and professor of bibliography at The University of Akron, and Tom Klingler, assistant dean of university libraries and professor of bibliography at Kent State University, also offered remarks. O’Connor shared many stories from the past 20 years, including a somewhat rocky start for the Depository partnership.
“At first we didn’t quite trust one another, so the Depository had to be split up into four equal sections,” said O’Connor. “That changed very quickly as we developed a wonderful working relationship that has spanned the past two decades and greatly benefitted each university.”
Klinger gave an in-depth, and often humorous, timeline of the Depository’s history, going back to the initial planning stages several years before it even became a reality.
Judy Scalf, M.L.I.S., Depository manager, offered a long list of thanks to the many people who have contributed to the success of the Depository during the past 20 years. Scalf, who has been with the Depository since it opened its doors in 1994, gave a special tribute to her co-workers on the Depository staff.
“We’ve had almost no turnover for 20 years because this is such a great place to work,” said Scalf. “We eat lunch together every day. We’re committed to this place. It’s the people behind the scenes who have made the Depository so successful for all these years.”
Guests also toured the facility, and eyes light up at the sight of 1.4 million books stored in one room, stacked from the floor all the way to the 30-foot tall ceiling.
Press Release November 28, 2011 Record Courier
University Libraries in Northeast Ohio Join Forces to Build First Combined Depository Catalog in State
ROOTSTOWN, OHIO —As Governor John Kasich calls for continued collaboration and efficiencies in the Ohio’s University system, libraries in Northeast Ohio have heeded the call. University librarians from The University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and Youngstown State University have worked together to build a singular catalog for their shared book depository, the Northeast Ohio Regional Library Depository. This catalog is called the Ohio Depository shared catalog (OHDEP).
“This project took 18 months to complete, and we are very excited about the results and the impact it can have on our partner libraries,” said Judy Scalf, manager of the Depository. “Combining the catalog has resulted in much greater efficiencies for the Depository staff and faster service to its patrons.”
The shared catalog has improved patron service as materials are requested from the Depository and sent directly to the patron rather than being routed through individual library Inter-Library Loan departments. This allows requests to be received two to three days faster. The catalog also allows for more efficient processing, since material stored at the facility can be viewed as a whole entity, rather than five separate university catalogs.
“We are pleased to be able to contribute to efficiencies within the University System of Ohio,” said John, Magill, executive director of OhioLINK, the state’s online catalog system that helps oversee the management of the state’s five depositories. “Phase Two of the shared catalog project involves the Northwest Depository holdings of The University of Toledo and Bowling Green University, and Phase Three will involve transferring the Southwest Depository holdings of Wright State University.”
Built on the campus of NEOMED in 1993, the Depository was the first of its kind in Ohio and was built to alleviate the space crisis in the five university libraries by allowing libraries to remove and store seldom-used materials. The Depository has a storage capacity of 1.5 million volumes. The construction of the facility, at $2.6 million, was approximately one-quarter of the cost of new library construction and other comparable storage alternatives and was praised for its effective use of space and cost efficiencies.
After 17 years of operation, the Depository is reaching full capacity, but funds are not available for building expansion. The limited capacity and financial constraints were the drivers for re-thinking depository management. Until recently, individual facilities were managed autonomously with the materials “located” in each library’s catalog, not a centralized catalog so the idea of a centralized catalog to allow viewing of serial holdings was developed.
The Northeast Ohio Regional Library Depository, with the leadership of a highly skilled Kent State University systems department, began the initial phase of the Ohio Depository shared catalog (OHDEP), by loading the holdings of its five contributing libraries. The project, in collaboration with OhioLink, itself a cooperative venture of university libraries and the Ohio Board of Regents, is the leading the way for others to join as a state-wide depository cataloging system.
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