Two photos of new furniture in the library

If you visited the library recently, you might have noticed that some shelves in the Stacks look bare, call number arrangements in the Reference area are out of order, and some volumes have colored slips stuck in them. The answer is simple: we are re-evaluating our monographic holdings, freeing shelf space for new acquisitions, and creating new study spaces for the students.

Withdrawing books is akin to solving a complicated logic puzzle. The project has several steps: librarians evaluate the titles on the shelves and identify those that need to go, these candidates for withdrawal are physically moved to the Technical Services area, re-evaluated, and deaccessioned (our records are removed from the discovery system and the national cataloging platform), and finally Buildings and Grounds personnel (Al, Jose, Anderson, Lawrence, Victor, and Paul) move these books off the library premises and readies them for recycling.

The biggest changes will be to the reference collections. The majority of the Law Reference series (law reports and digests) are available online, the rest of the Law Reference collection is being examined at a title-by-title level, and those we decide to keep will be incorporated into the General Reference or the circulating collection. The rows of stacks in the Law Reference will be shortened, and the space by the windows facing West 58th Street will be transformed into an open study area. There are plans to create more seating areas in the lower level of the Stacks, near the two new single-user bathrooms.

The library transformation takes place slowly but steadily. For example, we were able to clear a whole row of stacks at the beginning of the call number J area. Three new desks with chairs occupy the space now, and students are using them already. While discarding, we uncovered gaps in some subject areas and ordered new monographs. The next level of collection maintenance includes shelf reading, where we will identify works that might have been lost and should be replaced. As a matter of fact, the Office of the Library Services at CUNY Central has initiated pilot Collective Collection Development projects to see how duplicate holdings in serials and monographs could be eliminated across all CUNY libraries in order to create better spaces for student learning on campuses.

The Lloyd G. Sealy library is an expert in creating library spaces by rearranging collections. For example, five years ago, we shifted the bound periodicals (and got rid of the duplicates or some collections available in electronic format) and created a corner room with windows on both sides that is now the South Silent Study Area. The students love it, and nobody remembers when we did not have it. In the Fall, the College was able to secure some funds to buy new furniture for the library that has been delivered and is waiting to be distributed around the library.

Like gardeners who have to weed plants to maintain their healthy life cycles, the libraries have to discard volumes to bring vibrancy to the collections. We are a working research library that supports the College's curricula and reflects the latest trends in academic publishing.

We love books and would love to welcome new ones to our collections while letting go of those that have already served their purpose.

If you would like to make a purchase suggestion for new titles, please fill out the form at

--Maria Kiriakova

Two photos of new furniture in the library