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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