The Brown Library shipped 393 boxes of old books last week to be processed and recycled in California.
This collection of books being sent out for recycling consists of a large number of older books including literature, textbooks, criticisms, novels, and collections from 1999 and before. Many of these books have sustained damages, such as spines lacking integrity or taped up. In addition, because of their age, many of these books have become obsolete and an update is necessary. The phasing of these books out of the library is to revitalize the current collection my making room for new books and materials.
”We are making sure we not only weed out the books we don’t need but see afterward what are some titles that we could replace and update the collection a bit more,” acquisition and periodicals coordinator Holly Dameron said.
“What we are interested in doing is reviving the paper book collection,” said Shan Martinez, director of technical services and user services at the circulation desk..
To recycle these books, Brown Library has partnered with Cash 4 Your Books, based in California. This company has the role of determining whether the selection can be resold and they recycle any book they cannot find a new owner for. By sending these, the Library will also receive a small commission, which will be used to purchase new paper books.
This is a departure from the past way of shipping out old books which, at the time, was to Better World Books. Some of the selected books to be sent did not have ISBN identification. The company requires books to have an ISBN to be processed and only take certain specific books, which ultimately limited the works that could be sent out.
Technological development in the library has allowed staff to know which books are old, how long they have been in the library, and the last time that book was accessed. Staff has carefully used this process to ascertain which books are suitable to be removed from the collection with librarians reviewing the selection of old materials. Students and staff then worked for three and a half months and combined these books into boxes and pallets to be sent off.
“It’s better for the shelves and the user to have more space on the shelf than less space on the shelf. It’s when the shelf is really packed that honestly makes it harder to find what you are looking for,” Martinez said.
The process for selecting and processing books has not yet finished and is expected to run through the fall semester. This is also the time that librarians will be guided on what materials to order to stock on the shelves.
“It will look better and you will be more likely to want to pull a book off the shelf,” Martinez said.
Brown Library continues to provide services to students in online classes and will continue to provide needed material for this medium as well.