In this report, Will Bridegam offers a valuable case study in the advantages and disadvantages of depository libraries, their economics, and the practical and political issues associated with their creation. It considers the influence electronic publishing has had on the storage of paper publications. It also describes a plan developed by Five Colleges, Inc. (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst) that calls for deaccessioning duplicates within a jointly administered depository collection.
As director of the library at Amherst College, the author played a key role in establishing the initial offsite storage facility, as well as in broadening its service to the Five Colleges. As libraries change in response to budgetary constraints as well as developments in information technology, the Five College Library Depository model suggests new possibilities for collection management and ways for libraries to reframe their service missions. The questions facing all academic librariesto what extent can we provide access to materials that we do not own, and which materials must we preserve for future generationsare examined in this report.