Within the next year, the Buena Vista University Library is undergoing a project removing 30 to 50 percent of its physical holdings. With decreases in book circulation and an increase in the online database use, the library is making changes to meet student needs. BVU Library Director Jodie Morin is spearheading this project.
“Weeding collections are a part of the natural things that librarians do. We’ve been doing it for years, just not on this kind of a scale and not the complete collection,” Morin said. “The books that we discard are going to an organization called Better World Books. They either sell them and then give us a cut of proceeds, or they go to third world countries, so nothing’s going to a landfill. Things are being reused or recycled as much as possible.”
BVU President Dr. Joshua D. Merchant gave his opinion on the project.
“Something like 40 percent of the books have never been checked out. Following the trends of all libraries, [the library staff] are handling it in the proper way to allow faculty to come in and get books and save them. It’s a good thing.”
“It’s sad that the library is going through this change,” said Professor of Experimental Psychology Dr. Wind Goodfriend. “I remember when I was a prospective student at BVU, I walked into the library and was impressed by the feel of it. So, I think in a lot of ways a library speaks to the feel or the culture of the college or university. So, in some ways, it makes me sad that we’re downsizing. But I understand the pragmatics of the fact that with increasing technology, most people are going to go online.”
“I’m not sure how long it’s going to take,” Morin said regarding the timeframe of the project. “I think it’s going to take more time than we really have to get feedback from the community on the books, and we don’t want to overwhelm our tech services staff who have a lot of work to do to get the books out of the system. So, I’m just trying to take small chunks out at a time. I’m worried that we’re going to run out of time before we run out of books.”
The Book Withdrawal Project is in preparation for the second phase of the Siebens Forum renovation projected to begin Summer 2020.