More study space and new carpet!

In August 2018, the library lower level carpeting was replaced after 29 years! During this much needed renovation, we also remove unneeded shelving to create more quiet study space for students, which is in great demand.

And here it is, complete with improved lighting and more natural light!

When we removed the shelving, we cleaned, condensed, and “weeded” our non-fiction collection. Weeding means discarding outdated books that obscure the visibility of current, more reliable sources. It might seem odd that a library would discard books, but removing materials from a library is an essential part of keeping the library up-to-date, valuable, appealing, and relevant to the community it serves. Here is a brief introduction to why and how the library “deaccessions”–-or “weeds“–-books from our collection and how this supports our mission.

What is the mission of the library?
Embracing its slogan (Explore, Learn, Grow), the Luria Library seeks to inspire discovery by offering dynamic, innovative, and welcoming physical and virtual environments for students and faculty, and providing the resources, services, and instruction they need to achieve educational, professional, and personal growth and success.

The average age of books in our collection is well over 20 years old. Obviously, some books never grow old, but particularly in our non-fiction collection, outdated information can be misleading. We continue to keep collections of classic titles, like writings from Ancient Greece, books by historic authors, and even a cookbook of Mesopotamian cookery with 5000 year old recipes! For topics studied by most SBCC students, however, current materials are required. Students need to be able to find and reach these books easily.

After consulting with the SBCC faculty who teach in the various disciplines, librarians look carefully at the collection to evaluate which areas need to be updated. They look for certain criteria, such as how often a book is checked out, if the book lacks an index, if there are other copies of the same book, or duplicated content in books already on the shelves. The “MUSTIE” system of weeding is followed by many libraries as books are examined:

M: Misleading
U: Ugly (or dirty, smelly, broken)
S: Superseded
T: Trivial
I: Irrelevant
E: Elsewhere (as in, may be obtained Elsewhere)

Any time librarians weed a library collection, or even part of it, they seek out replacements and purchase them right away. This is the real benefit of weeding; new and more valuable materials are added to the collection for students. Seeing what students need today is the most important way we decide what to buy. Also, if SBCC patrons have ideas for new books, they can offer librarians ideas as well.

What happens next?
While we are “weeding” outdated books, we are also “seeding” the collection with new books on current and historic topics. Over time, the collection grows into the open space and students can easily see the best sources in each area.

Other questions that people have asked about this process:

What if you make a mistake?
Mistakes can be made. We have a multistep process where potential weeds are reviewed by librarians and faculty to collect multiple perspectives on what should stay and what needs to go. We encourage students and faculty to engage in this conversation and bring their ideas to us.

Why didn’t you do this before?

Librarians are constantly reviewing our materials so there is steady development of the collection. An opportunity to replace the carpet downstairs inspired us to do a deep cleaning of the downstairs shelves to make space for new books and new study areas.

Don’t these books have historical value? Or represent history over time?
Because the comparison of new and historic content can be useful, we do keep important primary and historic materials of relevance to college students. Generally, however, librarians at SBCC do not see assignments that require outdated information and, in fact, dated materials can be very misleading without appropriate historical context.

This is not the library that I remember from when I was young!
Guided by our mission, the SBCC library is here to help current students achieve success. We must respond to changing curricula, technology, and student needs to remain one of the top community college libraries in the nation. We will continue to be flexible, innovative, and responsive to the needs of patrons and the dramatic ways information itself has changed.

Are digital books going to replace the print books?
We will have print books in the Luria Library well into the future, and we pride ourselves on the selection, promotion, and care of the books we offer. We will also continue to build our digital collections so patrons can access the information they need from on or off campus. We still love print books! Please visit the library to see our new books on display or visit the library website to see the list of new books we post each month.

Explore our collection of print and online materials through our website and contact us at for more information.