December 2009 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Too Many Books

What a problem to have, right? A few days ago, The News House reported a story about Syracuse University Library's growing problem: too many books. To resolve this, the E.S. Bird Library at SU (where, it must be noted, I spent many hours in my undergrad days) was considering moving 100,000 volumes each year to off-site storage in order to gain more study space. It's fairly typical for large research institutions to have such a facility, but this one would be more than four hours away. One junior English major felt that was too long, and she did something about it -- the way 21st century students can. She set up a Facebook group that attracted 350 students to oppose the Library's plan. The result? The Library's plans are on hold. Perhaps more budget-busting compact shelving will be the next option.

Off-site storage may seem painful to some, but new wings and new buildings are few and far between, especially these days. In order to keep adding to the collection (and thus remain a superior library), something has to go. Cushy chairs or seldom used books?