TOEFL Q3: Library Reducing Book Collection


In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question three from the TOEFL speaking test. Read the text below out loud with the tutor.

Library to Reduce the Number of Books

During the upcoming school year, the library is going to reduce the size of its book collection. Thousands of the library’s books sit on the shelves without ever being used. Therefore, we will make the book section smaller. This will allow us to make the student computer center larger. As a result, more students will be able to use computers in the library during exam periods.

Reading time: 45 seconds


Listen to a short conversation related to the reading.
Note to tutor: read the text to the student. The text is not presented to the student in the actual test.  

Man: I read in the paper that the university library is going to get rid of many of its books. Personally, I think this is a terrible idea.

Woman: Why is that?

M: I like having a huge selection of books available. That has helped me study for my classes.

W:  I have to completely disagree with you. Getting rid of books that nobody ever uses is a smart move. They are just wasting spaces in the library. The space could be used to create new study areas for students.

M: But if they get rid of the books, how can students do research?

W: These days, most students prefer to do their research on the internet. By making the computer center larger, more students will be able to do schoolwork during busy times.

M: That’s a good point. Maybe getting rid of the books is not such a bad idea after all.


The woman expresses her opinion about the university’s plan. Explain her opinion and the reasons she gives for holding it.

Preparation time: 30 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds


Use the chart below to explain the woman’s opinion about the announcement.

Main Idea The woman feels that the university’s plan is a __.
Reason 1 She believes that the books are __ in the library. The space could be used to make new __ for students.
Reason 2 She also mentions that most students __ doing their research online. By making the computer center __, more students will be able to do their __ during busy times.


Give a brief spoken response to the questions based on the announcement and the conversation.

  1. What is the man’s reaction to the announcement?
    •  The man feels that the plan __
  2. What is the woman’s reaction to the announcement?
    • The woman feels differently than the man by saying that the plan is a __.
  3. How can students benefit from the plan?
    • Students can benefit because the computer center __.

Sample Answer

Reading great sample answers is one way to improve. Go over the sample answer with your tutor. Ask questions if you have any.

Sample Answer
The man and the woman are talking about the university’s plan to get rid of many of its books. The woman supports the plan. She explains that the books not used by students are simply a waste of space in the library. She feels that the library could use this space to create a new study area for students. The woman also mentions that most students choose to do their research online. Furthermore, the woman believes that more students will be able to do their school work during busy times if the computer center is larger.

Further Study

Got more time? Here is a list of common vocab words related to the text you studied today. Go over each one with your tutor.

Additional Expressions
archive (n) a place in which public records or historical materials (such as documents) are kept
e.g. He read an archive of historical manuscripts.
cubicle (n) a work space in a large office with a desk that is usually surrounded by low walls
e.g. She works in an office cubicle.
circulation (n) the act of passing something (such as money, information, etc.) from person to person or place to place
e.g. This book is not meant for circulation.
fieldwork (n) the work of gathering information by going into the field
e.g. The anthropologist has done fieldwork in the South Pacific.
dissertation (n) a long piece of writing about a particular subject that is done to earn an advanced degree at a university
e.g. He wrote his dissertation on an obscure 16th-century poet.
workstation (n) a computer that is connected to a computer network
e.g. There are two workstations connected to a scanner.
carrel (n) a small recess or enclosed area in a library stack, designed for individual study or reading
e.g. I reserved a carrel for you in the study hall.
depository (n) a place where something is put so that it can be kept safe
e.g. He visited a book depository.
lecture hall (n) a large room where lectures are given
e.g. The lecture hall can hold 500 people.
auditorium (n) a large room or building where people gather to watch a performance, hear a speech, etc.
e.g. The lecture will be at the main auditorium.

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