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Meyer Library to Be Replaced

University Librarian Michael Keller has written a letter to all members of H&S Departments in the Humanities and Social Sciences discussing the early planning processes for replacing Meyer Library, and relocating the East Asia Library (EAL), Academic Computing, and library Technical Services, currently located in Meyer.

Of particular interest to many faculty and students is “the decision not to build a new structure to house the EAL. Rather, the EAL selectors and public service staff and a portion of the EAL collection will be relocated to Green Library, resulting in the displacement of some Green Library collections. Those displaced collections, as well as the majority of the EAL collection, will continue to be available, but will be stored offsite at the Stanford Auxiliary Library 3 in Livermore and available through a paging service.”

Keller notes that “throughout this year, C-Lib (the Academic Council Committee on Libraries) will be conducting a thorough and systematic process of consultation with departments and individuals who use the EAL, Green Library and the materials they both hold.”

All interested parties are invited to attend a Town Hall Meeting, at which Michael Keller, along with Provost Etchemendy, Prof Doug Brutlag (chair of C-Lib), Prof. Michael Marrinan, and others will present the preliminary plans for the reorganization of Green Library and listen to comment and criticism. This meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 28 November 2007, 5:00 pm-6:30 pm, in Room 290 of the Law School. Space will be limited, so plan to arrive early.

NOTE:The location for the Town Hall meeting has been changed from the Law School to Kresge Auditorium. Date and time remain unchanged: Wednesday, Nov. 28th, 5:00-6:30.

Please also feel free to add your comments below.

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Venue Change for Town Hall on EAL Relocation

Please be advised that the Town Hall meeting to discuss the relocation of the East Asia Library has been moved from the Law School to Kresge Auditorium. Date and time remain unchanged: Wednesday, Nov. 28th, 5:00-6:30. The new, larger venue means we won't need to limit attendance, so all who are interested are welcome to attend. There will still be a follow-up meeting on Dec. 4th for library staff who are unable to attend the Nov 28 meeting.

As a Stanford alumnus and

As a Stanford alumnus and current Stanford postdoc, I would like to add my voice to a rising tide of concern about the relocation of the East Asian collection to an off campus facility. By making these books unavailable to students and faculty, except by request, the administration is not only exhibiting a remarkable lack of understanding of the ways in which academic research is actually performed, but also effectively marginalizing critical resources on Asia, a vast region of ever increasing geo-political, economic, and cultural importance in the global arena.

It is ironic that this proposal comes at a moment when, across the Bay, UC Berkeley has just opened a brand new Asian library--on campus. I cannot imagine why a prospective undergraduate, grad student, or postdoctoral scholar with an interest in Asia would choose Stanford over UCB, or, for that matter, any number of other universities that have kept their resources on campus.

If, as two of the posts above suggest, Stanford's "strategic model" truly is one in which "libraries and books are simply a drain on capital and square footage," then this represents a remarkably short-sighted vision. For many researchers, by no means limited to the humanities, browsing through "old books" is not a "joy" but an absolute necessity. Despite the digital revolution, this will certainly remain valid for decades to come.

It seems that the administration recognizes the outrage this plan will cause. Why else would the "Town Hall Meeting" be scheduled, as the notice above suggests, for a room in which "space will be limited"? I hope anybody concerned with this issue--with the East Asian collection as well as the future of research on campus--will not just arrive early and fill the room on Nov 28, but also crowd the entranceway, and stay late, and be heard.

On loving the Humanities

All that follows is simply one person's opinion.

I'd like assure Professor Levy that I, once Anonymous, do love the humanities, almost to distraction. The problem with such a love is that it often leads to irony and irony can be misunderstood. I'm sorry for the mis-understanding. I wanted my words to be judged on their own merits, not as a secret truth leaking from anywhere. There is no leaking of information here. I have no official status, of any sort. I simply spend a large percentage of my life on campus and hear all the flow of words about plans, strategies, and long-term, overarching concepts.

Factually [no irony], it needs to be pointed out that the University has made it clear that shrinking stack space [that is, book space] on Campus is part of its strategic model. Also, factually, the header on the blog is technically inaccurate, as Meyer Library will not be "replaced." The stack space for the East Asia Library, and the stack space for Green [known as South Stacks] will be eliminated. The building to be built will be for the technical support of Academic Computing.

Factually [again no irony], the University has said that it must comply with the County plan about square footage on Campus. All the current thrust of building and planning is now on West Campus -- all those new buildings for the sciences and technologies, as well as the proposed expansion of the Hospital and Medical School.

The flow of new capital to Stanford is very much tied to the sciences and technologies, and to the professional schools, such as Law, Business and Medicine. That this fact should give the planning pronouncements from the President and Provost a certain corporate tone is certainly understandable. That all the current cultural buzz about the wonders of new information processing technologies should provide the rhetoric on why sending thousands of volumes off campus is a really good idea -- this too is understandable.

If the humanities still have any meaning, it's in the cultivation of both clarity and eccentricity, of generating a whole lot of minority reports contrary to whatever is the Zeitgeist of the moment. The seemingly dated joys of browsing old books is as good a model of such virtues as any. To this end, and towards fulfilling my function as a librarian, I recommend a very good article in the last New Yorker, called "Future Reading".


Comments on the IC site

I want to confirm that comments posted on the Information Center website represent the individual author's opinion only; and do not represent the opinion, viewpoint, or policy of Stanford University or the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR).

Chris Bourg
Head, Information Center

On the first anonymous post to this site

As I have received official confirmation that the posts on this site DO NOT reflect "any official policies or viewpoints of the University nor of the Stanford University Libraries," I would like to state my own personal opinion on the first anonymous post above. In lieu of an official signature from an officer of Stanford University, the claims that "the humanities concept of browsing cultural contexts in collections of books is dying" and that, according to Stanford's "current strategic model, libraries and books are simply a drain on capital and square footage" must be taken as the personal opinion of an unknown entity who apparently holds the humanities as a whole in contempt. In addition, I believe that it is the responsibility of the library to either reject any post that claims to represent official Stanford policy, or to post a response stating that this is NOT official policy, but the opinion of an individual. Anonymous postings that present themselves as representing official university policy on this subject have a detrimental effect on the perception of how this issue is being addressed both within and outside of Stanford.

On getting rid of Meyer Library and storing books

Getting rid of Meyer [and the Stacks under Meyer] and sending books to SAL-3 frees up square footage that can be transferred, under the general plan agreed to with the County of Santa Clara, to West Campus, for use by the sciences and/or the Medical School. Books are still being purchased, but the general plan is for the amount of on-campus shelving to shrink. So, yes, the humanities concept of browsing cultural contexts in collections of books is dying at Stanford -- at least until some sort of technical progress allows for the same sort of browsing to occur electronically. But we're not there yet.

With our current Stanford strategic model, libraries and books are simply a drain on capital and square footage. Stanford seeks to minimize that drain.

It's already hard enough to

It's already hard enough to access humanities collections--anything that isn't absolutely current is way off in SAL 3! Why the war against the humanities, except what you can find online? I need a library that isn't essentially a google site!

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