ULM logo

University Library

Library Deselection Project FAQ

Back to Deselection page

1. Why are we getting rid of the books?

There are two reasons the Library is getting rid of books. The first is that a library is like a garden - in order for the garden to stay healthy, the gardener must remove weeds and pests in order to help the other plants flourish and grow strong. The books the Library is deselecting are in general outdated, inaccurate, or damaged beyond repair. Some of them are no longer appropriate the University's curricular and research needs. Others are duplicate copies. In order to meet those curricular and research needs, the Library needs to focus on the materials that are appropriate for those needs.

The second reason the Library is getting rid of books is that the Library is embarking on a project to become more digital. The collection will be reduced to two floors (instead of four floors). As part of the digital library initiative, new classrooms, meeting rooms, and study rooms equipped with technology will be added to the 2nd and 3rd floors. To make way for these new rooms, space is needed. So, we're making space!

2. How will students get the information they need?

The Library will be retaining many books - two whole floors' worth! And the Library will continue to offer its many digital resources - that is, the databases and electronic books - so there are still plenty of sources of information students can use. The Library still offers its Interlibrary Loan service.

3. What can be done about books that faculty want to make sure students have access to?

Faculty should make sure that they communicate with the librarians.

4. How are books selected for deselection?

The liaison librarians - the librarians that serve the many academic departments on campus - use a 7-point list of criteria to assess titles being considered for deselection. That document is available on the Library's home at http://ulm.edu/library/deselection.html. These criteria include elements like the physical condition of the book as well as its circulation statistics (how many times it's been checked out or used in the Library).

5. What books are marked for deselection?

There is no pre-existing list of books marked for deselection. The librarians are physically going through the collection to assess the condition of the books and are using the "Criteria for Deselection" document to make decisions - this document can be found at http://ulm.edu/library/deselection.html. There is a process, which can also be found at http://ulm.edu/library/deselection.html, which outlines the process the librarians are using to deselect titles.

6. What about books that faculty or members of the community might need or want access to?

If the faculty wish for certain books to remain, they should be sure that they communicate with the librarians. If faculty need access to a book that must be deselected (due to physical condition or insufficient circulation statistics) the option to borrow the title through Interlibrary Loan remains.

With regard to members of the community, we encourage them to communicate with Megan Lowe, Interim Assistant Dean and Coordinator of Public Services at lowe@ulm.edu. It is important to remember that though ULM is a public university, the Library itself is intended to support research and curricular needs. Unfortunately, it cannot function in the same way or meet the same needs that the public library system does.

7. Will faculty/instructors/staff/students be allowed to review titles chosen for deselection?

No. Faculty/staff did review titles in the first two years of the process, but owing to deadlines and diminishing participation, the faculty review process was discontinued.

8. Can deselections be appealed?

No. Opportunities for input are built into the deselection process. Therefore, it is important for faculty/instructors/staff to participate in the review part of the process to identify critical titles. It is also worth remembering that many of the books that are being deselected are outdated, damaged, or otherwise no longer relevant to the University's research and curricular needs. In other words, many of these books really do need to be removed from the collection. Furthermore, unfortunately, time and technology do not allow for additional appeals.

9. What is being done with the old books?

Books that are still in good condition are being offered to anyone who wants them! Free to a good home! These books can be found on the "Free Kittens" table under the stairs on the first floor of the Library. Books that are in poor condition are being discarded.

Unfortunately we cannot sell these books because of the legislation which governs public universities and public university libraries. We cannot recycle them because of the cost involved in recycling books - we lack the resources and staff to process the books the way they must be processed prior to recycling.

10. Will the Library acquire digital copies of books that have been deselected? Why aren't those titles being scanned or digitized?

Not necessarily. Please bear in mind that many of the titles we are discarding are outdated and no longer appropriate for use (would you want a nurse using a textbook from 1968?). We are retaining titles which are considered appropriate for use and show signs of significant use.

As for why the Library isn't scanning or digitizing discarded titles, we legally can't. Though dated, many of these books are still under copyright, and scanning them to make them available is a violation of copyright law. Furthermore, we lack the resources and staff for such an undertaking. Scanning and digitizing materials is a time and resource intense process to begin with, and we simply could not feasibly undertake a project of such magnitude.

Back to Deselection page