Save IUP Library Books and Reference Materials
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Approximately 43.08% of IUP’s library books are going to be purged from the shelves without being replaced by newer additions or contemporary material. If students wish to access copies of the books lost, they will have to seek them out online or through interlibrary loan. The books that are being targeted for removal will be all the books that have not been checked out or tagged in the past 20 years, regardless of relevancy or historic value. While these books have not have made it to the front desk, that does not mean they have not been accessed by students. While some students simply enjoy perusing the aisles of the library and return the books on their own, other students are concerned they may be losing a valuable resource for their studies or career. For instance, some may also find that “out of date” books provide insight on perspectives from different eras of history. Another concern is that books donated in memory of someone will be discarded. A Library is seen as a physical manifestation of knowledge, and a symbol of IUP’s academic integrity. Will people continue to donate to the library as they have when almost half of the library books are no longer available?
It is an unfortunate fact that most students are not aware of this issue. Although a survey was conducted by the Student Government Association (SGA), there were only 80 participants, which is a poor reflection of the thousands of students, professors, and community members who access the IUP campus library. Some of those who have viewed the survey questions complain that the questions consistently leaned towards a certain answer, and accuse the survey of being tailored to support the book purging. A motion was also conducted by SGA to support the book purge. Because of the lack of advertisement of this issue, and because the survey and motion were conducted so quickly, it would be erroneous to believe either the survey or the motion are reflective of what the IUP populations actually wants.
The Book Purge is motivated by the complaint that the first and bottom floor of the library becomes too crowded during finals week and other concentrated periods of widespread studying. To resolve this issue, IUP has decided to eliminate books from the second floor and turn it into another group study area. While the second and third floor of the library already have study cubicles, only the first and bottom floor are accessible to students after midnight. The problems IUP is looking to address could be resolved by simply extending the hours which the second and third floors can be accessed during known periods of high traffic, such as the week before finals. Another option would be to look into utilizing existing unused space, instead of wasting man hours on removing books, doing away with a cherished historic resource, and paying to renovate the second floor. IUP could open up select floors of the Humanities and Social Science building or other academic buildings for studying; academic departments could use this as an opportunity to host studying events to encourage camaraderie amongst students. Another option would be to make the abandoned Foster Dining Hall an impressive study center, if that much space is needed.
It is understood that libraries have been changing since the eruption of the digital age, but this action seems like an overzealous response to fit with the times. The library has a beautiful collection that should not be altered so drastically. Historically, getting rid of books has never gone well either. The IUP students, faculty, and Indiana community all rely on the library and are proud to have such extensive resources. Many people feel unheard and like their voice is being ignored. By signing this petition, you agree that this purging should come to a halt so that the community may converse more deeply, compromise, and come to a conclusion that reflects all those impacted by this decision.
(To take further action, go check some books out from the library and/or take some to the front desk to restock.)
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