Policy 25 – Library Facilities

Established: June 16, 1971

Last Updated: December 1, 1983

Class: G

The chief responsibility of the University Library system is to provide its users with the materials to which they need access and space in which to use them. All library operations should tend as directly as possible to further this objective.

As the campus grows and becomes dispersed over a wider area the objective may best be served by decentralization of the library service. However, the spontaneous development of a fragmented and uncoordinated group of library facilities would work against the best interests of the University.

In an effective and economically sound library operation each component is clearly defined and administered, and each development is planned as part of a coordinated system. To assist in this systematic development of the best possible library facilities for the University of Waterloo, the following policies have been established.

1. General Policies

  1. All library materials purchased from University funds, or presented to the University, for libraries or reading rooms are and remain the property of the University under the custodianship of the University Librarian.
  2. All library materials owned by the University are available to all members of the University - faculty, students and staff. The availability may be limited, by reason of form, value, or other considerations, to use within a specially designated area, such as the Library premises, or during specified hours only.

2. Branch Libraries

  1. A Branch Library is a major collection housed outside the Main Library and offering reading space and a reference service. In general its policies and operating procedures are those of the Main Library.
  2. A Branch Library is under the direction of a Head, who is responsible to the University Librarian. It is staffed in such a way as to offer an effective library service, depending on the number of users to be served, the size of the collection, and other factors.
  3. A Branch Library collection is developed primarily to serve particular Faculties, departments, schools, or groups, and so may consist of a special subject or related subjects. In general it will not duplicate material in the Main Library unless the need for duplication is demonstrated.
  4. A Branch Library is provided with a full catalog of its holdings and with serials lists and other keys to the collection.
  5. A Branch Library is established with the approval of the Vice-Presidents, the Deans, the Library committees, and the University Librarian. Factors in the decision are: an assessment of the needs for a separate library, the implications for members of the University who will not be served by the new library, and practical considerations of economics, space, collections and staff.

3. Reading Rooms

  1. A Reading Room is a small collection of library materials with space in which to use them, arranged for the convenience of a department or group of departments with related interests. Fairly immediate proximity to the users to be served is a common feature of reading rooms.
  2. A Reading Room Collection consists of material to which its main users need quick and frequent access - reference books, basic texts, and current periodicals. It may also include a file for pamphlets, research reports, and ephemera. The books and periodicals are duplicates of materials in the Main Library or a Branch.
  3. Responsibility for development of the collection out of departmental funds lies with the departments concerned. The University Librarian may also assist in this development out of the library book funds.
  4. A Reading Room is normally supervised by a department secretary, part-time staff, student assistants, or a combination of these. (The alternative to adequate staffing is disorder and, ultimately, chaos.) The supervising staff report to and are paid by the department concerned. The Library staff assists in defining practice and in providing guidance for the Reading Room staff.
  5. As a general rule material in a Reading Room Collection does not circulate. Where circulation is permitted it is usually limited to overnight borrowing.
  6. The Reading Room Collection is accessible to all members of the University but, because the consultation and study space is often minimal, the use of the Room itself may be restricted to a particular group. In this case, provision is made either to allow the material out on (overnight) loan or, as occasion demands, and after consultation with the department, to deposit it in the Main Library or a Branch for short-term use.
  7. A Reading Room is provided with a limited catalog, with entries under author, not a full catalog.
  8. The space for a Reading Room is provided by the department or departments concerned.
  9. The cost of furnishings, supplies, equipment, and staffing, are the responsibility of the departments.
  10. Any change in the status or condition of a Reading Room, once established, is made on consultation between the department and the University Librarian.
  11. A Reading Room may be established with the approval of the Vice-Presidents, the Dean or Deans concerned, and the University Librarian.