Books Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

THE University of NSW is throwing away thousands of books and scholarly journals as part of a policy that critics say is turning its library into a Starbucks.
Academics say complete journal collections, valuable books and newspapers dating to the 19th century are being thrown out to clear space for cafe-style lounges.
The Herald has obtained an internal document listing thousands of titles due to be pulled from shelves. The 138-page ''weeding'' list includes encyclopaedias, dictionaries, books in foreign languages and texts on psychology, politics and morality.
The policy, which until recently required librarians to remove 50,000 volumes each year, does not allow the last Australian copy of any book to be discarded. But it has opened an ideological row about the function of modern libraries as more research material becomes accessible online.
Already, thousands of books have been dumped in skips in the library basement and staff in various disciplines say they have not been given the opportunity to salvage them.
''This is a scandal. It's outrageous on a whole number of different levels,'' said Peter Slezak, an associate professor in the school of history and philosophy. ''Anyone that has anything to do with books is distressed at this. They are extremely good books.''