Dear Colleagues,

Libraries are undergoing a major and dramatic change. More and more information is digital, and books are not looked to as a vital information resource as they have been in the past. On top of this, the space that libraries once occupied is very valuable and often it is being repurposed for other needs. We are seeing that play out right in our own J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library at our medical school.

I was talking to Christina Pryor, director of the health sciences library, about how we at MU are accommodating to the new Information Age and space demands. Over the last several months in anticipation of the first and third floors in Lottes being converted to offices, I have learned that the several hundred thousand books and journals that were located there have gone to a new home: the UM Libraries Depository.

J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library
The depository provides high-density storage in an excellent climate-controlled environment.

The depository is located in Columbia and was originally built in 1997 to house books from all four campuses in the UM System. Over the last 18 months, the size of the warehouse has been nearly doubled. Currently, the UM Libraries Depository can house 2.5 million volumes.

I recently took a visit to the depository with Christina, and while there, I met Corrie Hutchinson, associate university librarian for acquisitions, collections, and technical services, and Kevin McFillen, supervisor of the UM Libraries Depository. They gave me an amazing tour of the warehouse on Lemone Industrial Boulevard on the east side of U.S. Highway 63. I have never been in a book facility of this size and scope. These pictures convey most of the story of how impressive this collection of resources truly is.

Dr. Barohn with Corrie Hutchinson, Christina Pryor and Kevin McFillen
 I am joined here with Corrie Hutchinson, Christina Pryor and Kevin McFillen.

You can request a book from the depository online and it will be delivered to you on your home campus in 24 hours.

I am so very glad that the University of Missouri has a preservation system for books, because not all universities have a resource like this. Kevin tells me that only 75 universities have similar depositories.

J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library
These controlled environments ensure that valuable, yet fragile, paper materials will be available for generations to come.

Information and knowledge is essential, and not every resource is digital. Printed books have been a resource for hundreds of years, and thanks to the UM Libraries Depository, these resources will live on in Missouri.


Rick Barohn, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean, School of Medicine