Yale Students Aren’t Ready to Close the Book on the School’s Libraries Just Yet
From The Washington Post:
At a forum in January, Yale’s top librarian outlined a seemingly uncontroversial proposal: to relocate tens of thousands of books from the heart of the undergraduate library to make space for additional seating. The librarian, Susan Gibbons, said declining circulation and the recent increase in the size of the student body justified the plan, which would reduce the print holdings in Bass Library from 150,000 books to 40,000.
The proposal prompted an angry response from students, who framed the move as an assault on “book culture” that would make it harder to browse research materials. Others worried about having to find other study spaces with the library closed for renovations during the fall 2019 semester.
“It’s astonishing to me how many people care about using books in the shelves,” said Leland Stange, a senior humanities major from Oklahoma who spearheaded the student movement. “I’ve been personally approached by dozens of students who give these wonderful personal stories about how important it is to them to have physical space for browsing.”
In response to the uproar, Gibbons in February announced an updated renovation plan under which the library would keep 61,000 print volumes rather than 40,000. A new timeline for the project guaranteed the library would reopen before the start of the fall semester. Gibbons also circulated an Excel spreadsheet for students and professors to use to indicate which volumes they want to keep in the library.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.