Disservice to Students

In May I will have spent eight years associated in some way with Emporia State University. I first came here as a terrified freshman, came back as a graduate student, and now I am here as an instructor. Through all of this the department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism has been my home away from home. A large part of the life of an English major centers around books.

It is distressing then to hear of the weeding of books in William Allen White library that seems to be happening rather covertly, without any say from faculty, staff, or students. It makes me wonder exactly what the library believes its purpose is.

The library has served many purposes for me over my time at ESU. It is a point of pride with me that I can tell you from memory which deck holds what books, and you will find me frequently haunting Deck 6. During graduate school I spent many hours in the library finding books, taking notes, and doing research for my MA thesis. Without the library resources especially the books, it would have been infinitely harder to have completed my thesis in the timely fashion I did.

I feel that Dean Sheridan is missing the bigger picture in his weeding of all these books, the titles of which we may never know. It is apparent that he does not understand the impact this has on the students. Our library and I mean no offense when I say this, does not have all the resources that other universities such as KU have. Therefore students already have to inter-library loan a large portion of the books they made need while researching for projects and theses. Is it wise then to weed out books that supposed have not been checked out since 1999 or that are “old?” I think not.

A student attempting to complete their thesis on a subject within history may discover that the book they are looking for as been weeded just because it was considered “old.” Therefore that student would have to inter-library loan the book from another university. While being able to inter-library loan items is wonderful, it can also take time. As a graduate student time is of the essence. If our library already has the book this student needs, it saves him or her that much time, and they can get on with researching and writing.

The library is not only a place for students to study; it is also a place for learning and fostering a love of knowledge through the books found there. If another learning commons area is going to take precedence over a significant portion of the books located at William Allen White library then I believe the library is doing a disservice to the student body it is supposed to be serving.

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