Storage: Where Books Go to Die

Here at the OCAC library, shelf real estate is hard to come by. Being a small  library means that if you want something new, you have to get rid of something old. This in context of books is very sad. A book no matter how old or outdated still has literary value based on the time of its publication. A ceramics technique book from 1980 may not seem that valuable, but it can tell you a lot about the time period: the style, technique, and even some politics surrounding the craft and art therein.

As a book lover, it is always hard to weed “no longer relevant” materials from our collection. We do our best to make sure that books leaving our library get a good home. That they either go to a student who can use them, a faculty member who can teach with them, or another library that can use them. And as sad as it is to let go of books, book weeding is a natural part of a library life cycle.

In our attempt to save some books from being lost, libraries have adopted storage. Much like it sounds, storage is a building, garage, or storage unit that houses older/less-used library materials. To me storage has always been a sanctuary.  Its a quiet secluded place separate from the library, where the books are hidden treasures. You can get away from the noise, from work, from all the trouble of your day and search through the stacks, never knowing what cool thing you are going to find next. That being said,storage is also a place where books go to die.

To me there are two types of patrons: catalog searchers, and stacks browsers. The first group are those who are tech savy and know the inner workings of the online searchable catalog. They do all their browsing here and order books to be pulled for them. These people may get an equal share of books from the library itself and books from the library’s storage, because they have the full list of what is available. The second group however are those who enjoy browsing. They know roughly what they are looking for. They make their way to that section of the library and browse for similar materials in the area. For these people they are only getting half the picture. They don’t get to see the all the other books on their selected topic, because those books live in storage. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” has never been more appropriate than in the library world.

For many reasons, storage books are just not used as often as they should be. For us at OCAC this can be problematic as nearly a quarter of our library books live in storage. The importance of storage cannot be overlooked. having this additional space allows us to have a much larger collection of books, supporting all the academia here at OCAC.

This month we choose to celebrate that awesomeness that is storage. We have created a book display of storage materials that have not been looked in some time. How long you ask? All of the books in the display have been un-handled for 10 or more years. A DECADE without being used. If you have some time to come by and look these books. Pick them up, read them, and please check them out.

2014 Thesis Kickstarter Kick-off

This year’s thesis class is very excited to be launching their Kickstarter campaign, which goes live tomorrow. The funds raised from the crowd-funding campaign will be used to create their show JUNCTURE, a two week exhibition of thesis work. The show will expertly showcase more than a year of hard work by the thesis class.

You can help make the show a possibility by going to their launch event.
“We will be hanging out on the top floor of the Asa Flats (1200 NW Marshall) from 5pm to 8pm TONIGHT (2/21/14). Pop in after work or before you light up the town! Have a glass of wine (or soda if that’s your thing), grab a snack and mingle with some incredible artists.”

The event will feature several monitors so that guests can view the thesis Kickstarter video. Participants can also back the event then and there by making a donation. If you can’t make it to the event itself, you can still support this very strong group of young artists by checking out the Kickstarter from home. Visit their site for more details.

As a proud member of OCAC and the library, I can say that thesis work is crucial to the development of these artists. The process of writing a scholarly thesis prepares these individuals for life outside of art school. It challenges them to think critically of art and provides them with valuable skills they can take with them into life. Here at the library we work everyday with thesis students. We see their dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm. We support them everyday in their research endeavors and we ask that you support them as they build this show.

Well this week the library has been working busily. Our librarian Elsa has been purchasing this year’s new books and they have begun to trickle in. We are so excited to welcome roughly 150 new books to our collection. 

The addition of new books also means that some books will be weeded out and will be available for students, faculty and staff to utilize in their crafts around the campus (Waste Not!). This year we have decided to weed out some old periodicals, or magazines, from the library. While some magazines lose relevance to the cirriculum at OCAC, they can still be used to inspire new student work, explore older craft technique, or reexamine past political and cultural statements within art. While it is always sad to remove materials from the library, we are very pleased that they can go to students and be put to good use. We are hoping that this will also make room for new subscriptions that our library community can really get excited about. 

This Valentine’s day, come fall in love with one of our books. Be it old or new.