Free book carts come to Valencia

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Free book carts come to Valencia

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Almost every Valencia student has seen the rolling carts of free books that occasionally grace campus hallways. With encyclopedia volumes, old textbooks and paperback fiction novels, these stations pop up around libraries for a day or more at a time, until students scavenge the best material away and a few unwanted pieces of literature remain. But where do these gifts come from?

Stephanie Vazquez, part-time staff assistant at the West Campus library, said that the books are selected off of shelves by librarians. “What they do is look at books that haven’t been checked out for a while or are just dated,” she said.

The librarians then go through the process of sifting through the material and deciding which books get the cut and which don’t.

“We have certain professors look at the materials and see if they want to take them,” said Vazquez. “If not, then we withdraw it and leave it outside the library for students to take for free.”

Students can find a diverse variety of subject matter in the free book carts, from titles like “The Crime Victim’s Book, Second Edition” and Bob Sipchen’s “Baby Insane and the Buddha,” to classics like Graham Greene’s “The End of the Affair” and Western youth novellas like “War Whoop!”

“I got a good book,” said student Franchesca Alcida, describing a guide to social worker responsibilities she picked up on one of the carts. “It had a lot of information that helped me; I needed to do a project for one of my classes.”

Rebecca Shevlin, professor of English and Caribbean Literature at the West Campus, said that she doesn’t take anything from the free book carts for specific reasons.

“I definitely recommend in all of my classes to have my students check that out and get some free books,” she said.

Despite some professors having first pick before the finalist books are wheeled out for free and permanent check-out, Shevlin has a different opinion on the order of distribution.

“I personally do not take the books out of there; they’re more for the students than the professors,” she said. “I think they should have first choice.”