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Not quite, but as students abandon the stacks in favor of online reference material, university libraries are unloading millions of unread volumes in a nationwide purge that has some print-loving scholars deeply unsettled. Libraries are putting books in storage, contracting with resellers or simply recycling them. An ever-increasing number of books exist in the cloud, and libraries are banding together to ensure print copies are retained by someone, somewhere. Still, that doesn't always sit well with academics who practically live in the library and argue that large, readily available print collections are vital to research.At Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the library shelves overflow with books that get little attention.Space is another; libraries are simply running out of room.Substantially thinning a library's print collection also ignores the role of serendipity in research – looking for one book in the stacks and stumbling upon another, leading to some new insight or approach, Cashdollar and other critics say.A large digital repository called HathiTrust has commitments from 50 member libraries to retain more than 16 million printed volumes.
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