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Four UCSD libraries to close in consolidation move…

Posted by Editor on March 30, 2011

Vaunted Scripps library will be among those targeted

By Pat Flynn

Originally published March 29, 2011 at 7:35 p.m., updated March 29, 2011 at 7:38 p.m., photo by The Scripps Institution of Oceanography library is in danger of being shuttered due to budget problems. A granite gray whale sculpture in the first floor area. John Gibbins

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography library is in danger of being shuttered due to budget problems. A granite gray whale sculpture in the first floor area.

Four University of California San Diego libraries, including that of the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, are slated to be closed and their collections consolidated into other campus libraries in a cost-cutting move.

The consolidations are being decried by students and faculty members.

Libraries: By the numbers

  • 2010 user figures for UCSD libraries to be closed:  354,000
  • Center for Library Instruction and Computer Services 93,023
  • Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies  40,657
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography  34,230 
  • Medical Center

“Scripps has a library that is 100-years old and recognized as the leading collection of oceanographic history and information in the world,” said Walter Munk, 93, former director of the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Scripps and one of UCSD’s founding fathers.

“The university is facing horrible financial problems and libraries have changed. I will accept all that,” said Munk, who is still active on campus. “Still, it would be extremely painful to me to see it close.”

The Medical Center Library in Hillcrest will close Friday. The libraries at Scripps, the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and the Center for Library Instruction and Computing Services will be closed as early as summer to deal with up to a $60 million cut in state funding UCSD is expecting to face as a result of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal.

“Since 2008-09, we have already taken about $5 million in cuts,” said Brian Schottlaender, the university’s library director. “We have managed to take a series of small cuts — reduced hours in several of our libraries, consolidated service points, slowed down our digitization efforts.

“But when we found out we would have to take at least an additional $3 million in cut in 2011-12, it became absolutely clear we could not do it with these nickel and dime cuts any more.”

The overall university cuts could be even more dramatic now that prospects have dimmed for the governor’s proposal to extend tax increases.

The library savings will come through reducing positions, primarily through attrition, and eliminating other costs associated with operating buildings.

Among the protests, Schottlaender and other UCSD officials have received is a petition signed by more than 700 people, including scientists from outside institutions such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We hold that the (Scripps library’s) continued existence is essential to preserving, organizing and providing access to the robust knowledge base of ocean, climate and the earth sciences and the capacity to SIO scientists to perform meaningful and world-class research,” the petition reads in part.

Schottlaender and others acknowledged that technology is changing the nature of libraries. Most of the material in the sciences is now digitized and easily accessible from anywhere with a computer….READ ENTIRE POST HERE.

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