Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pomona's Savior of Books

According to Cal Poly Librarian Bruce Emerton, the campus library has been literally throwing away stacks and stacks of books. Bruce has made it his personal mission to Stop Book Dumping. Here's one of his 30 videos on youtube.

I wanted to give Bruce a shout out on the blog. Just another guy in Pomona standing up for what he believes in. And yes, he not only works here, but he lives here too.



calwatch said...

Let's be fair and balanced here. Cal Poly is NOT destroying books for a Starbucks, and although they are thinning out journals, many of those have not been used in some time and all of them are available online, or in paper form at research institutions. There are two sides to every story, and the side of some other librarians are here.

Anonymous said...

The part of this that really bothers me is that they are throwing them away & not giving them to people that would be interested in having them.
If anything give them to a thrift store. Make money off them. They would find a home. Not put into a landfill.
I know Bruce & yes he is very passionate about his books. We went to a Carol Channing performance at Cal Poly (yea, I know, don't get me started) and Bruce was there picketing handing out flyers.

me said...

I thought the same thing, Mark. Since they are owned by California, why not give them to the prison system? The Starbucks issue aside, the point of the post is that this guy is standing up for what he believes in, and making some good points along the way. Most folks have more invested in job security, so I wouldn't expect his co-workers to support his railings against the library. I'd have to hear more than two quotes on a blog by two co-workers to decide who was right or wrong.

G of P

Anonymous said...

As a librarian myself, all I can say, is that I'd like to know *what is actually going on*. Libraries generally have fairly clear policies on materials selection and removal. It sounds from here as though, regardless which side is in the right, there is a disconnect between Emerton's understanding of his library's mission, and his library's actual mission. The materials he describes in the 4-5 minute video linked to from here sound to me like Special Collections material. Is his administration truly behaving egregiously? Or did Emerton just go of on his own and request a bunch of material on animé for the library which ended up not really being used by the library's specific community? Seriously, anything is possible. But. If entire collections of carefully-chosen material are being removed, normal procedure would be to identify another library where the material might be a better fit, and offer it for sale -- or as a donation, if the receiving library will pay shipping costs. This is extremely easy to do. In fact, it may even be easier than dealing with the added load that the waste abatement people would have to pick up. If carefully-assembled collections are simply being gutted, rather than discarded wholesale, leaving only skeletal remains on the shelves, that is more problematic from the point of view of what's left; but there's an organization that sells donated library books online to benefit something non-profit; and there is always the possibility of having a perpetual book sale table at the library.

So. I have to read the stuff at the end of calwatch's link, and watch like 28 more Emerton videos; and then I want to see if I can find out more about admin's position. Because yes, now I'm curious about the big picture. Academic and research libraries are complicated places.

Emerton may be right, but so far he's not coming off very well. He seems whiny. Professionals don't whine. And I don't get why, if he is a selector for the library, he wasn't part of the committee making the decision - and if he was, why he couldn't get their ears. What does he expect to gain/achieve? And how does he expect *us* to be able to help his cause? He seems a little desperate for a person whose arguments seem on the surface to be fairly strong and reasonable.

anonymous coward

Ed said...

I can't speak for anyone else, but here's a thanks to coward, for offering her/his take on the issue. Hope you come back (and comment) after taking a closer look.

me said...

I agree, Ed. Thoughtful commentary is always welcome. This post was picked up by the L.A. Times, blog that is, but it's received a fair amount of exposure as a result. I do hope the good librarian will come back for follow up.

G of P