Tag Archives: Academic Libraries

Harvard Layoffs Threaten the University’s Backbone: Libraries

Labor Notes – “Harvard has 73 libraries that comprise the largest private library collection in the world. The library system attracts researchers from around the world, a major draw for attracting the best faculty in all fields. From ancient maps to personal effects to photography collections, not to mention millions of books and journals in multiple languages, the materials of Harvard’s libraries are the keystone supporting billions of dollars in research grants awarded to the Harvard community each year. Such a large collection is unusable without librarians and library staff to catalog materials and help researchers sift through the mountains of information. Most research using the Harvard library would be impossible without the aid of library workers. Yet the Harvard administration feels its libraries are a drag on finances, as they do not directly create revenue. Library closings and staff reductions have been part of a continued corporatization of the university, begun under former President Larry Summers (who later was appointed to head President Obama’s National Economic Council). The focus on revenue and serving corporate ends has accelerated under current President Drew Faust’s recession-bound tenure.”

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With grant, libraries make tool to simplify citations

Columbia Spectator – “For most Columbia undergraduates, making bibliographic citations boils down to a few formatting styles, like MLA and Chicago, to learn in University Writing. But for professors, researchers, and graduate students, there are over 1900 different styles to contend with. Their lives might be about to get a little bit easier—the Columbia University Libraries received a $125,000 grant last month to build a new digital tool to help manage existing styles and make new ones. In collaboration with Mendeley, a private developer of reference management software, the Libraries hope to develop a simple, graphical interface with which authors can navigate the maze of styles available, and modify them to create their own.”

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Academic Libraries in Flux

Inside Higher Education – “Some campus libraries might be under pressure to cut costs, but as of 2010 academic libraries were spending more money than they were before the financial downturn that started in 2008, according to new data released Tuesday by the Education Department. In the latest in a series of occasional surveys, the National Center for Education Statistics collected data from nearly 3,700 academic libraries, accounting for 86 percent of all libraries at two- and four-year institutions.”

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Students ‘reclaim’ UCSD library

San Diego Tribune Union – “Students forced open the doors of a shuttered University of California San Diego library Monday and rushed inside, vowing to stay around the clock until the end of final exams Friday. University police, who were on hand when students arrived at the library before 7 a.m., were pulled out of the area by administrators keen to avoid the kind of campus confrontations that have occurred recently, including the one at UC Davis last month when campus police sprayed nonviolent demonstrators with pepper spray. And administrators said they will not seek to punish anyone for the break-in.”

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WSU libraries create smartphone app

The South End – “Wayne State libraries are implementing new smartphone programs to help students get information quickly. The newest program is the addition of Quick Response codes for smartphones. The library QR codes, developed for WSU two weeks ago, are barcodes that store any kind of data and can be scanned by smartphones. When the library’s QR code is scanned, it goes immediately to an “Ask-a-Librarian” screen to help students find academic resources.”

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Library Limbo

Inside Higher Ed – “The layoffs of eight library staff members — some with decades of experience and only a couple of years away from retirement — have faculty members at the University of San Diego up in arms. Critics call the administration’s actions an affront to the Roman Catholic teachings of the university. Administrators said a reorganization of the university’s Copley Library was necessary in an increasingly technological world, and eliminating some positions made way for the creation of new positions that ensure the library will stay on top of current, digital trends. Those who lost their jobs devoted many years to the university; four are over the age of 58 and two have worked at the library for more than 25 years. But their jobs include positions such as inventory control official, night supervisor and reserves manager — positions that the library doesn’t see as essential in a digital age. At the very least, faculty critics say, the library workers should have been retrained for new positions.”

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Biden donates Senate papers to Univ. of Delaware

AP – “Vice President Joe Biden visited his alma mater, the University of Delaware, on Friday to announce that he will donate the records of his 36-year Senate career to the school’s library. Biden, a 1965 graduate, signed a ceremonial agreement with university president Patrick Harker and library director Susan Brynteson offering the papers to the school. “This university has been part of my life, and so it’s only fitting that the work of my life be back here at the university,” said the 68-year-old Biden, who also delivered the inaugural speech in a lecture series honoring a political science professor who died last year.”

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Campus library to reopen after suspected arson

AP – “A University of Missouri library in Columbia is reopening after a weekend fire caused smoke and water damage. The small fire broke out at 3:30 a.m. Saturday in Ellis Library’s first floor and was contained by the building’s sprinkler system before firefighters arrived. The library was set to reopen Tuesday morning.”

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African Americans in Sports New Focus of Emory Libraries Collection

Emory University – “Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) has a new collecting focus: African Americans in sports. The collection brings to light the effect athletes and others in the sports world had on the civil rights movement and their struggle to be recognized for the impact of their achievements on society.”

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Students Get Up Close And Personal With Rare Books

NPR – “Three stories underground, in the University of Virginia’s main library, 60 librarians, collectors, scholars and other bibliophiles divide into small groups. They’re barely breathing as they lean over texts that have been around for centuries, like the 1497 Latin edition of Sebastian Brant’s The Ship of Fools. Staff members like Barbara Heritage shuttle from room to room, bearing precious cargo. “Our job is to be almost like stage hands,” she says.”

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