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Library staff reduces book inventory before renovation

Photo provided by UNK Staff

Library staff will shrink their book inventory to provide space for library renovations starting January 2023. The initiative was announced the first week of September.  

Evan Boyd, the dean of Calvin T. Ryan Library, explained why the library has decided to deplete the number of books. 

“The library hasn’t removed books in the past,” Boyd said. “So, there’s a lot of materials in our collection that don’t have value to our current teaching needs of the institution.”

Encyclopedias, textbooks and other materials will be removed if they are damaged. Books will be replaced by newer publications if they are more than 20 years old. Outdated government documents will be removed since there are digital versions online. 

Boyd said the library will take out most of these documents because, “The UNL library is the Congressionally designated depository for U.S. government documents, while UNK has never been a total collector of them.” 

Some educational materials used by faculty will be taken out of the collection. The library staff is working with faculty heads and individual departments to decide which books will stay or be donated. Faculty will fill out ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘I don’t care’ categories in book collection lists to decide if the library should keep them. 

The library’s curriculum and media collections will remain untouched. This includes the Juvenile Literature Collection and educational materials to teach preschool through 12th grade classes. 

The Calvin T. Ryan Library team will donate unnecessary books to the company, Better World Books. The company will resell the books and give a portion of the funds back to the library. 

According to the Better World Books website, it is a profit-based company that collects new and used books. For every book sold, the company donates one to a person in need.  

Students and staff have mixed reactions.

“Some of the staff were upset about the renovation getting rid of a lot of books and library services,” said Emily Mayes, a student worker at the library. “And since they work in the library, they don’t exactly like the idea of that.”

In addition to losing books, the library basement will be unavailable during construction because books will be stored there. The library staff plans to make a list of open study spaces for students, including locations and hours available. 

Joseph Anderjaska, the library’s access services associate, said these processes are meant to improve campus during these changes.

“I hope that during and after the renovation process, students don’t forget that library faculty and staff have to do quite a lot,” Anderjaska said. “Our goal through all of this has been to improve the library not just for the building space, but also for the sake of the students.”

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