Free books available in Media Center

Library staff refine book assortment


Johanna Kaplan

Junior Ruby Penna looks through free book selection Nov. 11. The Media Center is currently refining their library.

Johanna Kaplan

In the process of weeding books, Media Center specialist Alison Tsuchiya Theiler emphasized the importance of keeping an updated selection. 

“The purpose of weeding is to allow patrons, which are you — students and staff — to find the books you actually want,” Tsuchiya Theiler said. “So this is just junk in the drawer that’s getting in your way.”

When books are weeded from the library’s collection, they are placed on the “Free Books” shelf. Media Center assistant Nancy Becerra-Balbuena said this presents an opportunity for students to take a book home without having to return it. 

“There are students who want to keep books and so it gives them that access to actually take (them) home,” Becerra-Balbuena said. 

As for the books that are not claimed by students or staff, they have reached the end of their line, according to Tsuchiya Theiler. 

“The covers get thrown away and then the insides and the paper gets recycled,” Tsuchiya Theiler said. “So that’s why we want students to come look at them because I’d rather not throw them away — I’d rather have them go into the hands of students.”

According to senior Jinx Clarke, a clean-out of the Media Center was long overdue.

“There are many books where the labels are yellowing,” Clarke said. “It’s obvious that they’ve been there for a while and nobody reads them, so they’re just taking up space.”

There is a methodology in deciding which books to weed, according to Tsuchiya Theiler. She said she follows the acronym, “MUSTIE” (Misleading, Ugly, Superseded, Trivial, Irrelevant, Elsewhere). 

“I look at them and I follow ‘MUSTIE,’ so if the book looks old, I push it down,” Tsuchiya Theiler said. “If I’m confused, I look it up and see what the year is, but most of the time you can tell.” 

Weeding is a fundamental part of library maintenance, according to Becerra-Balbuena.

“It’s also good for us down over here because it’s very crowded,” Becerra-Balbuena said. “Mainly at this school, there’s a lot of really old books. Some are interesting but then some are outdated, like the computer technology books.” 

Clarke said less-popular books are especially worth checking out from the “Free Books” shelf.

“If there’s a book like that, then people could come in and have that for their own personal collection, which is always great because then you can get home and not have to worry about going to the library,” Clarke said.

Tsuchiya Theiler said students and staff are encouraged to come down and look through the free books.

“Why not take a look?” Tsuchiya Theiler said. “It’s like going shopping, (but) it’s for free. You can take it home. See if you like something.”