Listen to a conversation between a student and an employee in the university library.
Librarian: Ready to check out?
Student: Just about.
Before I do though, this book on early navigation...
I have been using this book quite a bit for a research project.
And I would like to own it actually.
And well...it's an old book, and there were two copies on the shelf just now, so I was wondering if I could buy one.
I was talking to this guy the other day, and he said the library sold books on occasion.
Is that right?
Librarian: He is probably talking about our annual book sale.
We have one every spring.
Student: OK. How do you decide which books to sell?
Are they duplicates?
Librarian: A lot are duplicates.
If we have more than one copy of a title and it hasn't been checked out in a few years, in that case it might end up at the sale.
Student: I've actually tried to find this book online but no luck so far.
I was really hoping to buy it.
Librarian: Well, that particular book…well, it probably won't be up for sale this year.
Most books in the sale come from off-site storage.
Student: Off-site storage?
Librarian: That's where we keep books that haven't been used for several years.
They are still in the catalog, which means they can be checked out if you fill out a form.
It takes maybe a day or two to retrieve one of them.
Student: I see.
Librarian: And then before we decide to include a book in the sale, we review its circulation history again, which can take a while.
We've got a lot of books in storage.
Student: So it's basically the unpopular books that get put up for sale then?
Librarian: Well, that...plus the main thing is to make sure students have access to the information in the books.
A lot of them are available in electronic format these days, even the really old ones.
You know, they have been preserved that way.
Student: So most of the books for sale are older books.
Librarian: Well, we get book donations too.
And lots of those are new.
Again, a librarian reviews them and decides whether to catalogue them or put them up for sale.
Student: Is this sale open to the public?
Librarian: On the second day.
It's a two-day sale.
The first day is for students, faculty and staff though, which is great.
We usually need about twenty volunteers for the sale.
And well, if you volunteer, you get first shot at everything in advance.
Student: Really? What do volunteers have to do?
Librarian: You help sort the books and set up the tables.
But keep in mind those positions fill up quickly.
Now, about this particular book, it wouldn't hurt to send a formal request to the collection department.
They might be able to let you know if it would be up for sale.
Student: I'll do that. Thanks.
What is the conversation mainly about?
What does the woman say about books in storage?
What are the criteria for deciding whether a book is put up for sale?
Why does the woman mention that volunteer positions fill up quickly?
What advice does the woman give to the man about the book he wants to buy?