May 16, 2022

Harvard Magazine on “The Libraries’ Rocky Transition”

From the May-June 2012 Issue of Harvard Magazine:

The aim is both to reduce duplication of effort across what had been 73 separate libraries, and to coordinate strategic initiatives going forward, particularly in digital collections and digitization of existing holdings, where the library needs to catch up with prevailing scholarly practices.

But the path toward implementation has not been entirely smooth. One immediate consequence, as Harvard Library executive director Helen Shenton explained at a town-hall meeting with library employees in January, is that “the Library workforce will be smaller than it is now.” Absent further details at those meetings—notably, how much smaller, and what specific jobs would entail once services begin to be delivered on a shared basis—the news caused understandable consternation among staff members, eventually leading to protests by both librarians and students sympathetic to their cause. The latter at one point staged a weeklong occupation of Lamont Library (which is open 24 hours a day).

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.