Ryerson provost stands by decision to renew U of T library agreement

The provost and vice president of Ryerson is standing by the university’s decision to renew the library-borrowing agreement with U of T, which allows undergraduate and graduate students to take out books from their library.

But Jane Schmidt, the head of collections at the Ryerson Library, told The Ryersonian last week that she thinks the money spent on the U of T Direct Borrower’s Agreement would be better invested into building Ryerson’s own library collection.

“If everybody is going to U of T without talking to us,” she said, “we’re basically paying for them to not talk to us about what we need in our collection.”

Provost Mohammed Lachemi said he thinks spending money on Ryerson’s library is important, but as a newer university, it makes sense for that investment to be in digital resources.

“Ryerson is a 21st century university,” he said. “We’re looking forward to how we can support our students in the best possible way with new technology.”

Lachemi said the agreement is a supplement to Ryerson’s collection, which doesn’t necessarily have old documents from a century ago like U of T’s collection.

“We cannot go back and try to get some collections that were there 50 years ago or 100 years ago,” he said. “If you are a student in history or in arts and you need to go back to a document that was created a century ago, (the borrowing agreement) is a good thing.”

Ryerson president Sheldon Levy told The Ryersonian in a previous interview that the Ryerson library’s resource acquisition is going more and more in the direction of digital content.

“We’ve been very lucky because of digital resources available, we’re able to increase dramatically the holdings of the library without needing the physical plant necessary to hold it,” he said.

Lachemi said Ryerson’s digital collection has grown from about 180, 000 electronic titles to half a million in just five years.

“We are spending (money), in my opinion, in a smart way, looking forward to the future,” he said.

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RyersonianTV for September 18, 2013

This program is produced by the School of Journalism's Masthead class.