Weekly RoundUp: Urbana Free Library

The Urbana Free Library - Urbana, IllinoisRobert Holly
The Urbana Free Library - Urbana, Illinois

The Urbana Free Library recently removed thousands of books from their shelves as part of a “weeding” process designed to make room for more library patrons and new books, as well as streamline the process of installing an electronic self-check-out system.

According to recent news reports, the Urbana Free Library staff began removing books older than 10 years old, and this single criterion is infuriating many in the community.

News coverage states that Urbana Free Library director Deb Lissak blames the situation on a communication error.

Here are some recent articles about the controversy.


“Do you ever read any of the books you [weed]?” – Smile Politely

“Last week, I was contacted about something extremely disturbing that had recently happened at Urbana Free Library (UFL). A weeding process had taken place that had discarded thousands of nonfiction books in a hasty, arbitrary way — a way that utilizes only one of the UFL’s stated selection criteria.*”


Urbana Free Library Scrutinized Over Book Weeding – WILL News

“The head of the Urbana Free Library says communication errors among staff led to too many books being removed from circulation, and shipped to an Internet bookseller.

According to a story in the online magazine, Smile Politely, Executive Director Debra Lissak instructed staff to get rid of books in the non-fiction print collection that were published before 2003 to make room for new material.”


Urbana Free Library patrons express concern over size and speed of book culling – The News-Gazette

“Library patrons told board members during an emergency meeting on Wednesday night that it was not the weeding that bothered them, but rather it was the size and the speed of the book culling that have them calling for the library director’s resignation.”

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