Texas Tech University


[Minor revision—posted 10/10/14 (replaces 10/23/12 edition)]
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Operating Policy and Procedure

OP 66.02: Branch Libraries

DATE: October 10, 2014

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to ensure understanding and a standardized approach to matters relating to the organization, funding, and management of branch libraries.

REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in September of even-numbered years by the Senior Vice Provost and the Dean of Libraries with substantive revisions forwarded to the Provost and Senior Vice President.


1.  Definition

A branch library is defined as a collection associated with a specific discipline and with quarters separate from the University Library consisting of a basic collection of information in various formats, a regular staffing level, including a professional librarian, and an established service schedule. A branch library is administered by the University Library.

Although a library otherwise defined as a branch library is to be responsive to the general policies and guidelines set forth, any library at a graduate professional school shall be operated pursuant to all standards appropriate to that professional school.

2.  Establishment of a Branch Library

a.    Needs Analysis

A needs analysis shall be made under the direction of the dean of the requesting college to determine if it is in the best interest of the university to establish a branch library. This analysis includes the requirements of the primary clientele as well as those of the entire academic community. Supporting data concerning the following points should accompany the needs analysis.

(1)    Description of the Proposed Branch Library

A description of the proposed branch library and its services must include:

• The user services to be provided
• Hours of operation
• On-site staffing requirements
• The primary users and their information needs
• The location of the proposed branch in relation to the primary user
• Access to online catalogs
• Security, space, and equipment requirements
• Total development and operating costs, including appropriate financial arrangements

Collection development, administrative organization, and operation plans also must be examined.

(2)    Description of Existing Library Services

A description of existing library services must contain

• The information needs of the university, defining both general and special requirements
• The geographic location of the present library facilities in relation to the user locations
• User services, online catalogs, and specialized information systems
• Collection development procedures and physical organization of the collection
• Space and equipment requirements
• Growth projections to meet changing times

(3)    Comparative Analysis of Existing and Proposed Library Services

A comparative analysis of proposed branch services and existing library services must be provided using all of the factors identified in sections 2.a.(1) and 2.a.(2).

b.    Proposal Approval

A branch library proposal containing the needs analysis must have the written approval of the dean of the requesting college. The written proposal will be transmitted to the Dean of Libraries and the University Library Committee for review.

The Dean of Libraries will evaluate the administrative and financial feasibility of the proposed branch library as well as all other pertinent data. The dean and the University Library Committee will supply a statement of feasibility with a recommendation to the PSVP, who will make the final decision.

3.  General Policies and Guidelines

a.    The university strongly endorses the concept of a centralized library system unless a program needs special services and materials that the University Library cannot provide or provide as well as a branch library.

b.    Management responsibility of all branch library resources rests with the university libraries' administration. Funds for the establishment of branch libraries must come primarily from the requesting college. Financial arrangements will be negotiated in each case among the PSVP, the relevant dean, and the Dean of Libraries.

Library services may be utilized most efficiently when all library resources are considered part of one system, with consistent procedures for collection development and consistent policies for user access, accounting, and systems analysis. Centralized planning and direction usually facilitate the most effective use of financial resources allocated for library services. All funds that may be provided for development of library collections, for equipping, or for staffing libraries in the university shall be administered through the various accounts comprising the overall university libraries' budgets.

c.    All branch libraries shall be administered by and be a part of the Texas Tech University libraries. Branch library personnel shall report to the administration of the Texas Tech University libraries. This relationship should be defined in job descriptions and outlined on organization charts. When a branch library is created, the Dean of Libraries and the college dean should jointly form a small committee consisting of library personnel and relevant faculty to maintain ongoing advisory oversight of the branch library.

d.    All holdings, where appropriate, shall become part of the general library bibliographic database and will be reflected in the campus-wide online catalog.

e.    Branch libraries will be formally reviewed and evaluated every five years. For justified reasons, a review at other than the regular period may be initiated by the PSVP, by the Dean of Libraries, or by the dean of the appropriate college. The purpose of this review will be to evaluate the collection and services. The evaluation will also determine if this branch library continues to be in the best interest of the university.

Operating Policies & Procedures