More books create space issue

Burn those books!

OK, OK, so maybe theyre journals, and maybe well just recycle them. But either way, its time to clear some space in the library.

The recent controversy over whether or not to chuck thousands of print volumes of various academics journals all of which are fully accessible through JSTOR has some professors in a tizzy, while librarians plead their case from underneath piles of overflowing texts.

I stand with those librarians, particularly Mara Saule, who laid out the Bailey/Howe space crunch in “Library Out of Room.”

We receive nearly 15,000 new books a year and weve had up to 8,000 people in the library on any given day. We have students sitting on the floor or going to the top floor of the Davis center to do their work, Saule said.

This is a problem. As a university that prides itself on having professors who are active in their field, and curriculums that stay abreast of current research, we need to be receiving these current texts. Furthermore, as we recently left behind an era that saw large expenses ahem, Fogels parachute, ahem funded through even larger increases in admissions, there are a ton of students, all of whom deserve a chair in the library.

So what do we do? The University could build a new addition to the library, at what would most likely be an astronomical cost to students via tuition hikes. Or we can start to make intelligent decisions about what to keep and what to throw .

The library has already announced its plans to consult faculty when deciding what gets the heave-ho, so the project should be in good hands.

It is also important to remember that UVM is not the only place possessing the journals in question. Most are distributed nationally, or at least regionally, so we would not be destroying the last print copy of anything.

John Franklin, a UVM professor, argued that its rash to say that well have access to these journals in 30, 50 or 100 years. He thinks threats ranging from an energy crisis to a government takeover could render these texts inaccessible through JSTOR.

Well, an energy crisis is a possibility. But so is a fire in Bailey/Howe. The future is a fun canvas, because you can paint whatever catastrophe you want onto it.

The problem at hand is not one of ideology print versus digital but rather pragmatic in nature. We need more space, so lets make more space. I still prefer buying paperbacks, while my Kindle sits, unused, in a drawer. But when my bookshelf overflows, I get rid of some books.