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Deselection FAQ

What's going on?

The library is evaluating our print book and periodical holdings and will be removing materials that no longer meet the needs of our students. This is commonly described in library circles as weeding or deselecting.

Why are we weeding?

We have so many outdated and obsolete books on the shelves that it makes it more difficult for students to find the current and useful materials they need for their assignments. By removing books that no longer serve the needs of our students, we will craft a collection that is well-tailored to the JBU curriculum so that students can easily access appropriate materials on a wide range of topics to support their academic pursuits.

When is this happening?

We have been preparing for this project for most of the 2021-2022 school year by conducting a comprehensive inventory of the collection. Most of the weeding will take place over the summer of 2022.

What are our criteria for deselection?

Books that we know are getting used, based on circulation data, and books with recent publication dates (cut off varies by discipline) generally exempt from consideration for deselection in this round of review. Classic works of enduring literary or historical value and foundational works in various disciplines will also be retained (or replaced with newer copies if we find that our copies are in poor condition). Older books with no recent usage will be evaluated for academic value, relevance to the JBU curriculum, and condition. 

What’s happening to the deselected books?

We are partnering with the used book market experts at Once Upon a Time Books to resell or recycle most of the books that are being removed from the collection. Any store credit realized from these sales will be used to build up the library's Juvenile and Leisure Reading collections.

Shouldn't a university library keep everything, just in case it's useful someday? 

Research-focused university libraries often aim to be as comprehensive as possible in their collections for this reason -- for example, when University of Arkansas removes rarely used books from its main library, it moves them to off-site storage rather than removing them from the collection entirely.

As a teaching-centered university, JBU does not have the same mandate for long-term preservation of materials that could theoretically be of historical interest to future generations: our resources must be focused on the instructional needs of our current student body. While we do, in cooperation with other libraries, work to provide access to rarely used materials when they are needed, it is not an appropriate use of our limited space to house them indefinitely just in case they are needed someday.

What if I later need something you got rid of?

We'll help you find access to the same (or equivalent) material through interlibrary loan, digital libraries like HathiTrust and the Open Library, or our own ebook collections. In the unlikely event that something we removed later becomes important for instruction and multiple students will need it on an ongoing basis, we'll buy a new copy.

How can faculty give input into the deselection process?

Please email us to offer your input into the deselection criteria that are relevant to your discipline or to make an appointment to discuss the project with a librarian. 

Will reducing the size of the library's print collection negatively affect our accreditation?

No. Accreditation agencies long ago stopped using the raw number of print volumes as a proxy for adequate instructional resources and instead consider the totality of available resources in both print and electronic forms when assessing universities and programs. JBU must continue to invest in electronic resources in order to provide the most up-to-date information available and to support both in-person and online instruction; as long as we do that, there is no risk to our accreditation by downsizing the print collection.  

Will you replace the books you're getting rid of with new ones?

The library will continue to add books to the collection, and we welcome your recommendations. We expect to maintain the total size of the collection at a relatively static number after this reduction by continuing to review and remove books as they become obsolete and we acquire new resources to take their place.