Texas A&M and University of Texas Renew Collaboration with Opening of Joint Library

The University of Texas and Texas AandM University systems will celebrate the opening of the Joint Library Facility on Friday, May 24, at Texas AandM's Riverside Campus located west of Bryan, Texas. The dedication begins at 10:30 a.m. with remarks and ribbon cutting led by officials of both university systems, followed by an open house and tour.

The $6.3 million, 18,000-square-foot library facility will house about 1 million books culled from the general and reference collections of the state's pre-eminent universities and make them available for use by other academic or medical institutions.

Previously, the two institutions have partnered on a high-density library storage facility located at The University of Texas at Austin's J. J. Pickle Research Campus that required stricter environmental controls for the preservation of sensitive materials including special collections.

"We are delighted to participate in this innovative venture with Texas AandM," said Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin. "As the state's flagship research institutions, our library holdings help address today's needs while providing a foundation for Texans of tomorrow.  The joint library storage facility will provide for the preservation of this vital cultural record, while ensuring that the books and documents remain available for study and research for students and scholars."

The new facility will help alleviate pressures as campus research libraries continue to add volumes and related resources. The facility will keep the burden of storage costs off the individual campuses in both systems.

"At a time when academic libraries face twin challenges of limited space and diminishing financial resources, this collaborative solution is a model for how unified efforts can result in positive outcomes for all involved," said Fred Heath, director of University of Texas Libraries. "While we maintain a competitive rivalry that constantly challenges our respective institutions to reach ever higher, we also recognize that we share common goals that benefit from working together. The success of this project is another example of that collaborative spirit."

"As we rely increasingly on digital technologies for access to information, this facility allows us to protect the vital legacy of print materials and provide timely access to the originals," said David Carlson, dean of Texas AandM University Libraries.

To further streamline collections at involved institutions, the partners have developed a novel process through which the participants can "share" a single copy of duplicated holdings in storage. This eliminates redundancy in individual collections while preserving a collective copy that can be recalled for use in research and study among users at multiple institutions.

The efforts to jointly implement new approaches to preservation aren't limited to physical resources; the two systems have found virtual ways to collaborate in the field of storage, as well. A partnership between The University of Texas at Austin and Texas AandM resulted in the establishment of the Texas Digital Library­ an online repository for electronic theses and dissertations that today includes more than a dozen regional members, including many schools from the University of Texas and Texas AandM University systems.