Let Them Make Room

As Dean of the School of Library and Information Management at ESU, I am one of the professional experts qualified to make a statement about the reallocation of resources within the library. Libraries exist to provide access to ideas and information for everyone and value-added services of professional librarians to assist in identifying the best information resources. An academic library should not be a repository for out-of-date information and books that do not circulate.

Books in the William Allen White Library are all state of Kansas property that, by law, cannot be sold or given away. This protects state taxpayers from corrupt personal gain practices of selling or donating items originally purchased with state funds. The idea of giving these unwanted worn, outdated, and historically uncirculated materials to other libraries and schools is regressive. Schools and libraries need and want the latest ideas and resources, not those items identified for good reasons by professionals for removal from our library. Dean John Sheridan is using good judgment and following professional best practices for re-cycling the materials.

The real travesty is to use valuable space to hoard books that are readily available on demand from inter-library loan. Instead, we should make more space for library users to access the wide world of ideas and information through a range of materials and electronic resources. The professional librarians who work in the library have graduate degrees and are skilled experts in both the identification of new materials and resources and of knowing what needs to move on to make room for the new. Here’s a pat on the back for Dean Sheridan, the librarians, and the critical thinkers on campus who understand discernment and strategic use of resources.

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