By Ryan Todd
If you could step into the library of Florida State College at Jacksonville’s South Campus back in 2003, you might notice close to 18,000 more books on the shelves than there are today.
It’s no secret that we’ve entered the digital era, but where do all of those books go, and more importantly, can we expect the trend to continue in the future? According to Denise Norris, Associate Dean of the South Campus Library Learning Commons (LLC), the answer is yes. “Libraries are never a static entity,” said Norris. “We do this every day.”
What she’s referring to is the Collaborative Collection Review, or CCR for short. It’s the current system in place meant to weed out nearly 19,000 items of the libraries current 77,000 holdings. For students, this means a more spacious library and continuous up-to-date reference materials. For Norris and her colleagues, it means a lot of work and behind the scenes magic.
The process begins by figuring out which books are out of circulation. Believe it or not, some of the books on FSCJ’s shelves have been there for 20 years without once being checked out. Norris calls this phase one. In phase one, the CCR does an intense background check of an item’s history. If they find that the item in question is of use to students and their professors, it gets an “R” in the system for “retain.” If not, the item takes a “W” for “withdrawal.” All of the items unfortunate enough to be marked for withdrawal are then placed on a massive list and sent out to the four academic deans of FSCJ’s campuses for further review.
So don’t worry, your favorite book isn’t going away–yet, especially if it was purchased after 2011. Those books are exempt. The lonely book next to it, however, might be a different story. But what happens to the books that get weeded out of the system? Well, the college certainly doesn’t toss them in the trash can. FSCJ works with a number of organizations to ensure low circulation items go to a good home. A few of these include: Better World Books, the Duval Teacher Supply Depot and the Florida Academic Repository. Each one of these institutions accepts donations, otherwise the books are sold off to keep them circulated or maintained. Nothing is left to waste.
You might have also noticed the stack of books in the bin near the libraries’ entrances. Those are free to take home, so have at it.
But why even go to the library nowadays in the first place? After all, most of us have access to a wealth of information on the internet. If you don’t have internet access, the LLC does offer a stable connection at their facilities free of charge. But beware; some of those “sources” you may be accessing on your own for you mid-term or final exam paper might just be pure bologna. That’s where your friendly neighborhood librarian steps in to help find credible academic resources. “Information literacy is even more important [today],” Norris said. “A librarian is the real Google.”
So next time you step into the library, make sure you give these bookworm-warriors a friendly greeting, and be appreciative of all the work they do behind the scenes. After all, if it were not for them, you might still be studying a text on brain surgery from the 1800s, and nobody wants that.