By Claire Shaw '11Guest Writer
Budget deficits that resulted in the closing of satellite libraries are resurfacing, this time in the permanent removal of books and cancellation of online journal subscriptions from Honnold/Mudd Library.
It is not uncommon for libraries to remove books periodically due to limited space. Books which have not been checked out for over 10 years are often moved to off-site storage facilities or donated to other libraries. However, Honnold/Mudd is planning to cut access to books at a scale which Scripps’s History and American Studies Professor Julie Liss calls “unacceptable.”
The Claremont University Consortium (CUC) has recently notified 5C faculty of plans to get rid of 30,000 books per year for the next three years. Professors have received a list of the volumes slated for removal with the assurance that any requests made to “veto” the removal of a particular book will be honored. As of this week professors have requested to keep approximately 15,000 titles.
In addition to this planned removal of books, insufficient funding has forced the library to shrink its number of costly journal subscriptions. Due to budget and space constraints, Honnold/Mudd ended all print journal subscriptions last year, promising that academic journals would still be available to faculty and students online. That guarantee is now in jeopardy. Academic departments with their related journals slated to be cut could suffer. Although faculty members have been given the chance to name journals they wish to preserve, there is no guarantee that this input will save journal subscriptions from discontinuation.
Why reduce such a high volume of books and journal subscriptions, and why now? Pitzer Art History Professor Bill Anthes, a member of the Advisory Board for Library Planning, said that he believes that “several years of budgets that failed to keep pace with the cost of library materials have come to a head.” A substantial increase in the cost of online journal subscriptions, the continued presence of a far-reaching economic crisis and simple lack of space have forced CUC to put some of the library’s essential offerings on the chopping block. Unlike other colleges and universities which directly control their individual libraries within the broader institution, the Honnold/Mudd library system is presided over by CUC—not the colleges’ chief academic officers. This power structure is a factor some believe to be responsible for the elimination of part of the library’s resources.
Whatever the reasons, the net loss of 90,000 volumes from a 2 million-volume library is a serious matter. The quantitative reduction of sources is a qualitative reduction in breadth of information available. Said library patron Adriane Holter (PZ ’12), this change in quality could “have the potential to harm the academic integrity of this community.”