By Kristen Linsalata
Out of an interest in expanding LIU Post’s library collection, library faculty weeds books from their collection, which consists of about two million items. The process, according to Valeda Dent, Dean of University Libraries, is ongoing and happens year around.
However, some students feel as though that the library should keep the books instead of weeding them out. “I feel like we are becoming a paperless world, but I always value a physical book,” said Danielle Sposato, a junior English major. “[The library] might as well keep the books, isn’t that what a library is for?”
Even some faculty members have been unnerved by the recent rumors that the library was going to discard many books from its collection. “The library has not communicated the plan to faculty. I’m not sure my response is appropriate until I have more details,” said Willie Hiatt, Assistant Professor of History and Graduate Director of History. “I’m willing to listen, but the biggest concern right now is the lack of transparency in a process that obviously impacts faculty teaching and scholarship.”
“[LIU libraries], like all academic libraries, weed their collections consistently,” Dent said. “At any point in time, the library faculty at both LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn reviews the portions of the collection that they are responsible for, and they make decisions about which materials to keep and which materials to get rid of in order to support [the expansion] of the collection.” The process of weeding is crucial for making space for works that are more timely and up-to-date, according to Dent.
The University library system consists of two main locations – LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn. Currently, the books are segregated categorically: there are special collections, items that don’t circulate, those that have intrinsic value and that researchers and scholars tend to use when they are doing research, digital items, and traditional print
items. Each library faculty member has a background in a specific discipline that is responsible for collection development. Library faculty is required to have a minimum of two Masters degrees, and some have PhDs. “For instance, here, at Post, we have folks that have a background in business and accounting. They are responsible for managing portions of the collection that cover business and accounting,” Dent said. These faculty members make their decisions about which books to weed out based on the current curriculum, as well as changes in the market place and corporate America.
LIU Brooklyn works with Better World Books, a non-profit organization that sends books to other areas of the world that don’t have access to print materials. “Here, at Post, we usually hold on to them and sell them in an annual book sale, so if there are folks that want to buy books and add them to their collection, then they have the ability to do that at very inexpensive prices,” Dent said. However, the materials that are obsolete and lack relevance are discarded, according to Dent.
LIU Post holds book sales either every year or every other year. The Post Library Association (PLA), a non-profit that plans educational and cultural events for the B. Davis Schwartz Library, usually manages the book sale. The organization then collects the books from the library, organizes the books, and organizes the sale. The proceeds from the sale go to local programming for the campus. Due to a conflict with other campus events, the PLA Book Sale will be postponed from April to a later date, which has not yet been announced.
When books are neither discarded nor donated, they are placed on book trucks at the entrance of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, and students can take those books, free of charge.
“Most libraries will sell the books or donate them, so I understand why they do it,” said Melissa Nosel, a junior English major. “I like when libraries donate them and give others a chance to read them. Libraries shouldn’t just throw out books; they should donate them or sell them to charities if they can.”
In the fall of 2014, LIU added one of the industry’s largest e-book catalog, the catalog will let you know if we have it in print, and if we have it electronically,” Dent said. Titles can be found through the online catalog EBSCO that can be accessed through the LIU Post website.
Students now have access to databases that allow them to stream content. “These are videos that have academic quality and that are copyright cleared so that students have unfettered [right to use them] in their research and in their studies,” Dent said. “Faculty can also embed them in their Blackboard lessons and incorporate more videos in their teaching.”
Books are purchased by library faculty throughout the fiscal year starting Sept. 1, and ending at the end of August by using an acquisition budget. The acquisition budget allows library faculty to make purchases whenever they are needed so there is no deadline by which people need to buy items, according to Dent. The acquisition budget varies year to year, and is not available for public knowledge, Dent added.