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Library Portrait: Overview of Merrill-Cazier Library Facilities, Services, and Collections

Library Facilities

Library services at Utah State University are provided in the Merrill-Cazier Library, a newly constructed facility that combines collections that were formerly housed in two buildings. Merrill-Cazier Library opened in September 2005 and houses materials in the arts, humanities, social sciences, agriculture, life and physical sciences, medicine, and engineering. The new library building (305,000 sq. ft.) was constructed from the existing Cazier Science and Technology Library, expanding the original building of 116,000 sq. ft. with an additional 189,000 sq. ft., thus replacing the 202,000 square feet of the Merrill Library building.

Despite having slightly less total space, several technological innovations make the new library a much more functional building. An automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) has capacity for over 1.5 million volumes, allowing for approximately 20 years of collection growth. In keeping with the University’s land-grant mission the Library has named the automated storage and retrieval system the BARN (Borrowers Automated Retrieval Network). Lesser-used books and all bound volumes of periodicals are stored and retrieved on demand from the BARN. Library users may use the Library Online Catalog from their offices, homes, or any computer with network access to request materials from the BARN. The materials are retrieved and made available at a service desk in the library within minutes of the request.

The new library makes extensive use of computer technology for staff and library users as well. The Information Commons offers over 150 workstations from which USU students can use a wide variety of productivity software, such as word processing, spreadsheets, digital image manipulation, and statistical packages. Librarians and computer support staff work in tandem to provide technological training and research assistance to customers in the Information Commons.

The Merrill-Cazier Library provides extensive service hours during the day, and is accessible to the USU community and the general public throughout the year (except during designated University closings). The new building has seating capacity of over 2,000.

Additional library services are provided on campus at the Anne Carroll Moore Library of the Edith Bowen Laboratory School (children’s books), the Young Education Technology Center (curriculum and teacher preparatory materials), the Intermountain Herbarium, and the Quinney Natural Resources Library in the College of Natural Resources.  The Merrill-Cazier Library is a member of several library consortia. The Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) is comprised of 24 academic libraries throughout Utah and Nevada. The consortium receives support from the State of Utah to help defray the cost of online journal and database purchases. Consortial prices make many of these products more affordable for member libraries. The Merrill-Cazier Library receives a similar benefit from membership in the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), a consortium of over 30 libraries spread across the western United States. Members of the Library staff serve on administrative boards and committees of these consortia.


The Merrill-Cazier Library offers a full range of typical library services. The Reference & Instruction Services Department offers information assistance and research consultation from the Information Desk, located in the Information Commons, as well as via telephone, email, text, and IM. Librarians in Reference and other departments serve as subject librarians and are assigned to academic departments throughout the university. Subject librarians serve as liaisons to faculty and students in the departments, selecting books to purchase for the library and offering personalized research consultation and library instruction.

The Interlibrary Services office borrows from other libraries materials not held at USU. During the 2010 fiscal year, the office filled over 13,000 requests from USU customers and loaned 16,000 items to other libraries. Course Reserves, a unit within the Patron Services department, provides reserve materials in print and electronic format for USU instructors to ensure timely availability of heavily used items. Computer workstations are available to USU students and faculty in the Library’s Information Commons facility and in a traditional computer lab. Photocopying services are available in the Library.


The Merrill-Cazier Library collections contain over 1,590,000 total print volumes, which include over 640,000 books, and over 300,000 government documents.  The collection also contains maps (over 100,000) maps, print and electronic serial subscriptions, and access to over 200 bibliographic, text, and informational databases. The Library is a regional depository of U.S. government publications, and, thus, has extensive holdings of U.S. agency documents, maps, and periodicals.

The Merrill-Cazier Library also includes other materials in special formats and genres. The Library Media Collection houses audio and visual material, including educational and feature films, music audio, and slides, all available to be checked out by anyone with USU identification. The Art Book Collection has particularly strong holdings in twentieth century American art and materials by and about the Beat generation of poets. The USU Special Collections and Archives contain rare book and manuscript collections, western and Mormon historical documents, the university archive of USU, and the Fife Folklore Archives, one of the largest repositories of American folklore in the United States.


The book collection at Merrill-Cazier Library contains over 640,000 printed volumes, most of which are available in open stacks and arranged by the Library of Congress classification system. Some older, infrequently used titles are housed in the BARN and these may be requested from the Library Online Catalog. Books are identified for purchase through an approval plan (currently we use Yankee Book Peddler), through subject librarians who identify books appropriate for the collection, and by recommendations from faculty and students. 

Additionally, the Library provides access to over two million electronic books, which are accessible around the clock to our students regardless of their geographic location.


The Merrill-Cazier Library subscribes to over 200 databases, ranging from general and multidisciplinary titles such as Academic Search Premier, Lexis/Nexis, and Web of Science, to more specialized tools such as, Alt-HealthWatch, Early English Books Online, ERIC, PsycINFO, SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts), and Social Sciences Abstracts. Many databases provide online access to the full text of articles or other publications (e.g., dissertations) in addition to citations and abstracts.


The Merrill-Cazier Library has access to over 44,000 electronic journals. These include newspapers, popular magazines, scholarly journals, government periodicals, and trade publications. Many journals go back to the first issue published.  Thanks to generous support from the University’s Central Administration, the Library has been able to maintain a journal collection that supports the active research agenda of our faculty and students.


Last Update: 25 Jan 2011