May 16, 2022

California: Consolidation Awaits UC Berkeley Children’s Literature Collection

Note From Gary:  The story for me is not the protest itself but rather information seeking behavior by those in the class and others who signed the petition . A brief telephone call to the librarian, email, and/or a web search by any member of the class would have most likely allowed those protesting to learn more, update their reasons for the protest, etc. Apparently, no one made the effort to get more information. 

If nothing else, seeking additional info would have probably allow the group to discover, read, and comment on a proposal about the library that was published by the university on January 23, 2013.

From Inside Bay Area:

When word spread like cyber grass fire through social media that the Children’s and Young Adult Literature Library in Tolman Hall was at risk of closing, facilitators of a “Read, Write and Publish Children’s Literature” course offered through DeCal, the student-run democratic education program, sprang into action.

Within a few days, more than 150 people had signed the online protest petition, according to Elise Levin-Guracar, an interdisciplinary studies major and course facilitator. Vehement book-lovers contacted the media and a huge spike followed, easily topping the goal of 200 signees.


Unnoticed by Levin-Guracar and her literature-loving peers, the children’s collection’s demise had more to do with demolition than disposal. Tolman Hall, where the collection is housed, was designated seismically “poor” by a 1997 study and decommissioned by the UC administration.


“I have a 130,000-print collection to find homes for,” said Susan Edwards, head of the Education Psychology and Social Welfare Libraries. “The petitioners didn’t understand this change has been precipitated by the building coming down. They thought it was just the children’s collection.”

Unfortunately, the students “lost” themselves in what was both too much and a lack of information.

The Internet allowed them to “spread the word” rapidly, but information overload may have caused them to miss a “call for public comment” [published on January 28, 2014] sent out by university librarians that ended on Feb. 28.

More from Elise Levin-Guracar UC Berkeley Librarian Susan Edwards in the Full Text Story

Here’s the Call For Public Comment Mentioned in the Article

Proposal – Social Research Library, UC Berkeley

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.