Author: Jessica Faroy
A new study space on the third floor of the Academic Commons opened this fall after the books previously stored in the location were removed.
Reshaping and downsizing the library’s collection, referred to as deaccession, has been an ongoing project at the college since 2012. During this process, library leadership noticed a space availability on the third floor. According to Hoda Abdelghani, circulation and reserve manager of the Academic Commons, the free space is now a designated quiet study area for students.
“The idea was to allow students to study,” Abdelghani said. “You deserve to have the space to study and enjoy it. We are open to more services to come to the Academic Commons.”
Minor renovations to the floor included painting, new carpeting and additional furniture. Library leadership confirmed plans to add even more furniture in the future. Currently, the library staff is asking for feedback from students on how to best make use of the new study area.
During the deaccession process, library leadership retained books matching the curriculum or those frequently in circulation and placed them in previously unused shelves in the tiers. Many books available online were also taken off shelves but remain accessible electronically.
According to Occidental’s Information Resources division, the library staff donated remaining books that had low circulation, curriculum incompatibility or were available electronically to the University of California, Los Angeles’s off-campus storage space and the book resale organization, Better World Books.
“None of [the books] really went into the dumpster,” Richard Shive, senior evening/weekend supervisor for the Academic Commons, said.
The library’s deaccession is part of an overall plan to redevelop the library’s collection. The Task Force on the Academic Commons (ACTF), a subcommittee of the Planning Steering Committee, recommended certain upgrades to the library collection in its 2011 ACTF Final Report. One recommendation was to decrease decreasing the library’s general print collection by 40-50 percent and increase the e-book collection.
“This is not an uncommon activity,” Chief for Administrative Affairs Marsha Schnirring said. “People have been rethinking library spaces for a very, very long time. We are always reinventing library spaces.”
According to Director of Center for Digital Liberal Arts Daniel Chamberlain, the library uses state and local consortiums and institutional connections, like Link+ and Camino/WorldCat, to request from the collections of other libraries. If a book or document is not available in the library’s collection, the Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) program conducts a national search to find and ship the desired resources. Although resource exchange programs require the college to pay small membership and shipping fees, the programs allow the college to provide resources to students that reach beyond the library’s collection, Chamberlain said.
“For the global library system, it ends up being much more efficient for not every place to have a copy, for there to be copies that then move around and get shared,” Chamberlain said.
Although the ACTF is continuing its efforts to redesign and modify the library, Abdelghani said that the third-floor study space transition is completed.
“These renovations are enough to keep moving in that direction,” Schnirring said.
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