Future of UCIrvine Libraries

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-The Library Task Force at UCIrvine has issued a lengthy report which we can hardly fail to blog. Irvine faces the budgetary challenges that are familiar to the rest of the UC system and the profession as a whole -The recommendation calls for eliminating 30,000 asf of space currently allocated to the library which amounts to the entire sixth floor of the science library in return for savings of between $720,000 and $1,000,000 annually. The money savings will be realized by eliminating the leasing fees from the library budget and transferring them to other campus units that will occupy this space.

-Eliminating library space raises its own problems which the report acknowledges. Chief among them is the survey result that study space in the library is one of its most highly prized qualities for users, especially students. The value of space lies in a place of quiet to study, an area for intellectual exchange and a symbolic retreat. -The report suggests reorganization of the available space and the conversion of other spaces outside the library such as the student center as alternative solutions.

-The report also cites the need for improved document delivery of print resources. This correlates a submerged theme in other literature that the difficulties that users face with libraries are less in finding useful resources as is often mentioned but in the seemingly more mundane process of retrieving them.

-Finally, in the midst of budgetary woes, the report issues the somewhat surprising recommendation to hire more staff. The practice that has been in place (familiar at other UCs) has been to reorganize by closing positions vacated by attrition and consolidating staff, but the report claims that the process will be inadequate shortly if it has not already and erodes the library's effectiveness.

-LAUC Irvine is hosting the semi-autonomous Southern California Regional Meeting of UC Librarians on Friday May 6, 2010, from 10:00a -3:00p.

-At the University level, two committees relating to the library, with membership of faculty, library staff and administrators were appointed. The library and the university have been working together to discuss planning for the future in general, but also to appointment an interim library director.