Excess yearbooks fill shelves in library archives.  Photo: Dwayne McIntosh

Excess yearbooks fill shelves in library archives. Photo: Dwayne McIntosh

Costly yearbooks collecting dust

Distributing books has been a problem, according to King's student union

In the archives of the King's College library sit roughly 1,000 yearbooks, if not more. In the penthouse of the New Academic Building sit approximately 560 more. Shelves of yearbooks for the years 2001-02 and 2004-05, sit in archives.

The average cost for a yearbook, based on an order of 450, is $35.56. With roughly 1,560 yearbooks sitting unclaimed, it means that there is $55,473.60, sitting on shelves and in boxes.

The King's Student Union produces the yearbook. The KSU pays Friesens, the company that publishes the yearbook, about $16,000 for approximately 450 yearbooks. Students pay for the yearbook in their mandatory student union fee.

King's has about 1,100 students and has averaged about 237 grads over the last three years, according to figures provided by the university's registrar's office. So even if the complete graduating class takes a yearbook, a quarter of the lower-year students can still claim one. But that's not happening.

Enlarge Image Enlarge image
Boxes of yearbooks on shelving and odd box full on the floor, in the Penthouse of the New Academic Building. Photo: Dwayne McIntosh

Getting the books out

There has been a problem getting the books out in a timely fashion, or at all. There are no yearbooks for 1963, '68, '70 and '74. Other years have been combined to produce a yearbook.

Part of this problem lies in the way in which the yearbook is produced. An editor is hired by the student union and "runs away with it for the year and then either hands in a good yearbook or hands in nothing," says Laura Hochman, internal vice-president of the KSU.

The biggest problem is that graduating students leave and we have no way to get the yearbooks to them."

Hochman recently found out that Friesens would send out the books to grads for $5 extra. The yearbooks for 2007 and 2008 would ship at no extra cost, because the editions are not the standard length of 126 pages, but closer to 90 pages.

Friesens has offered this mailing service for years, but a lack of communication with the previous executive, meant that the current executive didn't know about it. If graduates who want a yearbook leave a forwarding address, they will receive their yearbook in the mail.

Right now, the yearbook for 2008's graduating class is awaiting approval of the cover design, before publication.

The graduating class of 2007 may not even have a yearbook. The editor for that year handed in a yearbook, but there were formatting issues and shortly after that her computer crashed. The computer was taken in and the publisher may have been able to pull something from it, says Hochman, although she hasn't seen anything yet.

This year Friesens has a new program that allows the monitoring of the yearbook online. As this year's editor is working on it, Hochman is able to go online and check on his progress.

Number game

There are no firm numbers on the amount of yearbooks that have gone unclaimed or how many are picked up each year. But, the KSU has reduced the number of yearbooks ordered for 2007 and 2008 from 430 to 350.

Most of the copies are never picked up, and the student union has already gotten "rid of significant amounts" of yearbooks, says Kaley Kennedy, president of the KSU.

There is a plan for next year to gauge interest - at least among the freshmen class. Hochman wants to set up a sign-up list next to the tables that provide the "frosh" packs. This will hopefully let the council know how much interest there is in this service.

If the students don't want a traditional yearbook, there maybe a digital one produced instead. As for the yearbooks that are waiting for owners, Hochman would like to put them in a student common room, so that students could pick up them easier.

And if you want a yearbook from the library, the archivist will gladly give you one.

Tradition

The Record is the yearbook for King's College. It stared in 1879, as a student magazine. Eventually the publication of the magazine declined and during the 1950-1951 academic year, it became the yearbook.

To Hochman, the yearbooks are of value to the students who enjoy their time at King's and want something to remember their time there.

Rob Sangster-Poole, financial vice-president of the KSU, sees the yearbooks as a waste of money. As such, $3,000 was cut from the budget for the yearbooks. The current budget allots $14,000.

Both the alumni office and the King's library have past editions and get a lot of requests from alumni to view the yearbooks. "People will regret that there is that gap, because it is a part of the history of the college," says Patricia Chalmers, assistant librarian at the King's Library.

Comments on this story are now closed