Unfortunately, no we don't. There is some reading involved... Professional Journals, Library-related news, blogs and even Facebook groups to share ideas and stay in touch.
One thing we DO spend time doing is weeding. Not the kind of weeding that requires rubber shoes and a floppy hat, but the kind that requires us to look at materials that haven't been checked out in many years and ask ourselves, "Should we keep this?"
Part of maintaining a Library collection is ensuring that the materials are up-to-date and relevant to current research needs. There's so much that goes into determining whether or not to keep a resource that I wanted to share a little behind-the-scenes, "Librarian behind the curtain," if you will.
Some of the factors we consider are:
- If we do decide to keep the resource, should we keep in the library, or does it belong in the (currently under-construction!) off-site repository? The repository is the perfect place for older or more delicate materials due to its controlled air quality.
- What other Libraries have the same item? You might have used our Library Catalog to look for a book here at Alkek or Round Rock, but did you know that you can search over 10,000 Libraries worldwide using WorldCat's online search? We use WorldCat to check if the same resource is available nearby. In some cases we might be the only library who owns a certain resource! Libraries are very good at sharing. If you need a resource that's not available at Texas State University, you can request a copy using Interlibrary Loan.
- What if the resource isn't getting used, but it's a good resource? Is it available as an e-book or online? Sometimes a book can sit on the shelf untouched for years, but when it becomes available as an e-book it gets a new lease on life.
- Does the resource have historical value? A quick glance at a publication date of 1889 might lead someone to jump to the conclusion that the resource is entirely outdated and couldn't possibly be relevant to today's researchers. However, some older books are valuable resources for scholars who want to use primary sources and base their own research on that which came before.
- Finally, we have to accept that we can't hold on to everything! Even so, it can be hard for Librarians to let go of old books. It might not have been checked out in over ten years, but there's something about saying, "Let's get rid of it," that feels so final. What if someone needs it TOMORROW? Digital to the rescue! We have access to wonderful resources for primary sources online - take for instance, The Hathi Trust Digital Library. If a resource isn't being used in our library, and it's available through a digital database, it can make "weeding" the physical resource much easier.
- Play the Home Game! Search the Hathi Trust Digital Library for the book The Absolute Participle in Anglo-Saxon, by Morgan Callaway. There you can view the digital scan of a dissertation presented in 1889. For what it's worth, our physical copy will stay alive and well in our off-site repository.
- Yearbooks - Bobcats through the ages! If you like looking through older resources online, make sure you check out our online Pedagog Yearbook collection (1900-present) which was recently digitized. This is a prime example of giving old books new legs through digitization - you probably wouldn't have come to the library to view the yearbooks from yesteryear, but now you can see what the campus, faculty and students looked like in 1916 with the click of a link!
Have a suggestion for a library order? Let us know!