ANU plans to merge libraries… takes away from students.

By 5 April, 2011 22

This week ANU school of Art and Music students protest moves by head of ANU libraries Vic Elliot’s plans to merge both schools libraries.

This is ANU making moves to cut costs associated with the up keep of these libraries, which leads to the assumption that the cost of these libraries outweighs the resources they provide to students. As a student at ANU Art school, I can say that this is not true.

Many of the students see having access to the library collection in its present state as a precious resource and an important part of their artistic practice.  

This week the students and staff of the school of art and music have organised a meeting with Vic Elliot in hope to stop these plans from being put into action and later in the week to stage a peaceful protest in the school’s library.

Both schools stand to lose their collection, teaching rooms, computers and highly trained and specialised librarians. I encourage any one who has been part of these university communities to attend, any one who sees this as wrong, any one who sees it as harmful to future and present education at the ANU.

-WEDNESDAY : ANU school of Art lecture theatre with speaker Vic Elliot  starting at 2pm

-THURSDAY : ANU School of Art Library , all SOM and SOA students , past and present to fill up library starting from 3:30pm

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22 Responses to ANU plans to merge libraries… takes away from students.
#1
creative_canberran6:27 pm, 05 Apr 11

Now kiddies, you haven’t been using the resources provided so don’t complain when the University decides to save some cash. And it’s a merger, not a closure so stop dramatising what’s happening.

It is a sad reflection on those behind this that they propose to stage a sit-in on Thursday like a toddler who sits on the ground refusing to move until the parent buys them a treat.
Very immature, time to grow up!

#2
Davo1116:51 pm, 05 Apr 11

How often do the ANU libraries actually get used to borrow books? From what i’ve seen 99% of students are there to use internet/print/PCs. Perhaps just move all the books to one place and have a dedicated computer and study area for everyone else.

#3
creative_canberran8:03 pm, 05 Apr 11

You can follow the event on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=194817030557223&index=1
and keep up with the latest thought provoking statements from those involved including:
“they castrated hancock too =’/”
“Me and my boyfriend will be there. I’ll film and chuck it online with phone.”
“can we invite the newspaper or something??”
“I’m not sure if I can borrow books any more :(
“we ought to bring our instruments, and leave them in the library, much like we do currently. I think some of the Bass kids ought to consider this, I’ll bring a tuba…or 2.”

#4
creative_canberran8:12 pm, 05 Apr 11

Oh, and hears a link to the open letter students are drafting to the head of libraries. It’s a crowd sourcing letter so anyone can edit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E8Ba7OMCUGz65f7_JuGPcXaQSwktrd9td8V5OxUqNqY/edit?hl=en&authkey=CKDez1o&pli=1#

#5
el8:35 pm, 05 Apr 11

Oh dear. Here’s the letter in its current state (Apr 5, 2034):

Dear Professor Walter, Mr Bull and Mr Elliot,

We would like to apologise for the fact that thus far, we have under utilised the services and resources you have provided for us. We have used a repository of knowledge as a glorified storage locker for our instruments, a lunch room and in general a social club.

None the less, now that you want to take it away, we shall do what comes naturally and throw a tantrum, sitting on the floor and shouting till you give in. Yes, we’re adults in theory but it is our prerogative to act like toddlers if our cause is just.

Like those brave soles who sat on the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the cause of civil rights in defiance of a wall of state troopers, we shall not give in. We shall hold firm and make our stand. Our march might not be from Selma to Montgomery, but from Union Court to the Library march we will. And this we shall do not because it is easy, but because it is hard. We will go to the library to do the other things. We might not get there tomorrow, or the next day. I may not make it there with you (getting stuck at Uni Pub along the way). We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Let the library remain open, that is our hope. Let freedom ring, from every college, from every faculty, from every resi.

I guess that’s the problem with ‘everyone can edit’…

#6
Ko.9:06 am, 06 Apr 11

As of 9am, the letter got messy overnight. I’m a bit upset the students will have nowhere to go for occasional fisting.

Dear Professor Walter, Mr Bull and Mr Elliot,
We would like to apologise for the fact that thus far, we have under- utilised the services and resources you have provided for us. We have used a repository of knowledge as a glorified storage locker for our instruments, a lunch room, a quiet place for finger-banging and occasional fisting, and in general a social club. We apologise, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, for attempting to write a formal letter but failing miserably to do so in the first paragraph.
None the less, now that you want to take it away, we shall do what comes naturally and throw a tantrum, sitting on the floor and shouting till you give in. Yes, we’re adults – in theory – but it is our prerogative to act like toddlers if our cause is just.
Like those brave souls who sat on the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the cause of civil rights in defiance of a wall of state troopers, we shall not give in. We shall hold firm and make our stand. I (We) have a dream. Our march might not be from Selma to Montgomery, but from Union Court to the Library march we will. And this we shall do not because it is easy, but because it is hard. We will go to the library to do the other things. We might not get there tomorrow, or the next day. I may We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream of discordant harmonies and/or explosive diarrhea.
Let the library remain open, that is our hope. Let freedom ring, from every college, from every faculty, from every residence, and every orifice.

Let us be clear that we will not back down, at least not until we become disinterested, or find another ‘cause’ to throw our weight behind – I hear climate change is the hot new topic (pardon the pun).Dear Professor Walter, Mr Bull and Mr Elliot,
We would like to apologise for the fact that thus far, we have under- utilised the services and resources you have provided for us. We have used a repository of knowledge as a glorified storage locker for our instruments, a lunch room, a quiet place for finger-banging and occasional fisting, and in general a social club. We apologise, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, for attempting to write a formal letter but failing miserably to do so in the first paragraph.
None the less, now that you want to take it away, we shall do what comes naturally and throw a tantrum, sitting on the floor and shouting till you give in. Yes, we’re adults – in theory – but it is our prerogative to act like toddlers if our cause is just.
Like those brave souls who sat on the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the cause of civil rights in defiance of a wall of state troopers, we shall not give in. We shall hold firm and make our stand. I (We) have a dream. Our march might not be from Selma to Montgomery, but from Union Court to the Library march we will. And this we shall do not because it is easy, but because it is hard. We will go to the library to do the other things. We might not get there tomorow, or the next day. I may We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream of discordant harmonies and/or explosive diarrhea.
Let the library remain open, that is our hope. Let freedom ring, from every college, from every faculty, from every residence, and every orifice.

Let us be clear that we will not back down, at least not until we become disinterested, or find another ‘cause’ to throw our weight behind – climate change is so passe these days, so we are still looking for something new.

#7
creative_canberran1:20 pm, 06 Apr 11

Dozens of people got involved in editing it last night. Many made fantastic contributions that were constructive… to the point being made at least. One person even went through and cleaned up the formatting as per the Commonwealth Style Manual which was impressive.
General feeling seems to be this is just the protest of the week – protest for protest sake. Trying to create a sense of self importance and stuffing the resumes while saying to hell with calm and collected negotiation.

Unfortunately some trolls took over far later and created the letter as it stands now. Curiously, the protestors have not cleaned up the letter and have left it in its present state… I guess they got bored and wanted to move on.

Canberra Times featured a story about this today (page 7, print edition only):
Comment from ANU was that this merger would not impact on the social aspect of the library nor the less realised learning aspects of it. It would actually free up space for desperately needed new classrooms.
Comment from ANU student arts rep Fleur Hawes was: “we’re confused [about the plans].
Say no more.

#8
GKB1:23 pm, 06 Apr 11

in response to the comments of Davo11, el, Ko and creative_canberran , thank you for keeping the dissuasion thread alive .

I feel your comments to be mocking of the students at the art and music school and I ask you to leave your ignorance aside as I feel if this article was in reference to another ANU faculty , your attitudes would more reasonable. So maybe you should direct your concerns to the closing of some of the ANU’s specialised sciense libraries.

The way books are used AT THE ART SCHOOL is very different to the way they are used in other libraries . I personally do not borrow books very often . Why? I don’t need to. To me the library is an open catalogue of images (ones I have seen before and ones i have not ) which I often (daily , infact) expose my self to. Countless artists do the same , its part of their practice and ongoing artistic education, most artists are visual learners. It is the tactile nature of the library that makes it a hugely valuable tool for students . So by assuming books that go unborrowed go unused is wrong.

this is my final comment ,I had no intentions to turn this into a un-constructive argument , but to merrily inform the readers of the RiotACT of student activity at the ANU Art school .

#9
creative_canberran1:31 pm, 06 Apr 11

GKB said :

in response to the comments of Davo11, el, Ko and creative_canberran , thank you for keeping the dissuasion thread alive .

I feel your comments to be mocking of the students at the art and music school and I ask you to leave your ignorance aside as I feel if this article was in reference to another ANU faculty , your attitudes would more reasonable. So maybe you should direct your concerns to the closing of some of the ANU’s specialised sciense libraries.

The way books are used AT THE ART SCHOOL is very different to the way they are used in other libraries . I personally do not borrow books very often . Why? I don’t need to. To me the library is an open catalogue of images (ones I have seen before and ones i have not ) which I often (daily , infact) expose my self to. Countless artists do the same , its part of their practice and ongoing artistic education, most artists are visual learners. It is the tactile nature of the library that makes it a hugely valuable tool for students . So by assuming books that go unborrowed go unused is wrong.

this is my final comment ,I had no intentions to turn this into a un-constructive argument , but to merrily inform the readers of the RiotACT of student activity at the ANU Art school .

And you will still be able to view the books at their new home.

#10
Ko.1:49 pm, 06 Apr 11

GKB said :

ANU’s specialised sciense libraries.

I think this pretty much sums up how well you utilise the library.

#11
Davo1111:50 pm, 06 Apr 11

Haha you can’t be serious. It’s being moved because its under-utilised. They’re not burning the books, they will still be there waiting for you (in their new home) to look at the pictures.

If the librarians went to the stacks, and find heaps of people climbing over one another to look at books, it might be a different story.

#12
creative_canberran12:18 am, 07 Apr 11

]

GKB said :

ANU’s specialised sciense libraries.

Closing yes, but all materials are being moved into Hancock.
http://anulib.anu.edu.au/about/news/news.html?rec_no=581

#13
PM11:05 am, 07 Apr 11

Don’t you need to read before you use a university library (quickies and picture books aside)?

#14
georgesgenitals11:24 am, 07 Apr 11

And people wonder why ANU Arts students have a reputation…

#15
Kalfour10:39 am, 08 Apr 11

creative_canberran said :

…it’s a merger, not a closure so stop dramatising what’s happening.

Is it just a merger? It’s difficult to be sure when Vic Elliot keeps announcing different things. Yes, he has been consistent in the overall concept that the School of Music Library will be squeezed in with the School of Art library, but he’s yet to give us a consistent or realistic answer to the question of what will happen to the books that don’t fit.

How can the SOM and SOA students be expected to accept a proposition that is yet to be fully explained or justified?

At various times, Vic Elliot has told us that the excess collection will be moved off campus, moved to the Hancock library, or digitized.
Moving books off campus would make them extremely difficult to access. Moving them to Hancock might work, but I honestly don’t see how they are going to fit. Digitization is fantastic… if you have good close up vision (I’m long sighted and about 1/3 of the music and art students are long-sighted) and don’t mind losing picture quality (quite an issue with art). Music students are also legally required to use original scores for performance. Digitization doesn’t really fit with this criteria.

In the most recent announcement, Vic Elliot informed us that the entire collection would magically fit into the existing Art School library. This is, among other things, physically impossible. The School of Art library is tiny, and already crammed full with shelves of books. I understand the School of Music collection is even larger. How can they possibly make it all fit?
The plan is to use compactuses to store the less popular books, but even with this form of storage I don’t see how they will fit. And compactuses themselves are an issue. They are cumbersome storage boxes that are difficult to negotiate at the best of times, requiring pushing, lifting and bending. Now consider the high proportion of mature-aged students and students with mobility issues (including at least one in a wheelchair)at the SOA and SOM, and how difficult THEY will find this process.

Whatever solution is offered, there is no denying that there will be loss of accessibility of information.

This is a university. The entire experience is about information. I am well aware of the reputation of art students, and I realise that it isn’t wholly unjustified. But we aren’t all drug-addled simpletons. Very few of us in fact. Many of us make regular use of the library for research and inspiration. We sometimes even borrow books that (gasp) have no pictures!
People go to ANU to be in an environment that nurtures learning. That’s what the entire university experience is about. We need access to art history, theories, movements and techniques. How can we do that if they take away our books?

#16
Kalfour11:11 am, 08 Apr 11

I meant to say 1/3 of students are long-sighted OR mature-aged. 1/3 being long sighted would be a bit unrealistic. :P

#17
Jim Jones12:04 pm, 08 Apr 11

Kalfour said :

-How can we do that if they take away our books?

Oh FFS. Nobody is taking away the books – they’re being moved.

This kind of histrionic response does you a great disservice and has an incredibly negative impact on the way that people view Art Students.

ALL the libraries across the ANU Campus have had books digitised and moved off campus. This doesn’t mean that they’re hard to access, there is a regular dispatch service from the storage space (not entirely unlike the way that the NLA operates) into various access points. Digitisation means that high-quality scans are available anywhere at any time (I’m at a complete loss as to why you think this would be worse than physical books – the image quality is exactly the same, and everything can be resized at a whim).

As for the argument that books shouldn’t be stored in compatuses – if you can’t figure out a way to get a book from a compactus, you really shouldn’t be at a university.

This is nothing more than arguing against change for its own sake.

#18
Jim Jones12:10 pm, 08 Apr 11

And here’s a dictionary definition to put an end to all this ‘but I’m not afraid of poofs’ crap.

“Adj. 1. homophobic – prejudiced against homosexual people”

#19
Ko.12:49 pm, 08 Apr 11

Kalfour said :

I meant to say 1/3 of students are long-sighted OR mature-aged. 1/3 being long sighted would be a bit unrealistic. :P

Explain how someone being over the age of 21 when they gain entry to university have anything to do with not being able to handle digitization.

I’m long sighted and a mature-age student and I can read a computer monitor just fine….

If you’re going to go back and highlight a mistake in your argument, try not to turn it from completely unrealistic, to blatantly retarded.

#20
Kalfour10:43 pm, 08 Apr 11

I don’t know where to begin.

Ko. said :

I’m long sighted and a mature-age student and I can read a computer monitor just fine….

If you’re going to go back and highlight a mistake in your argument, try not to turn it from completely unrealistic, to blatantly retarded.

Typo. Not mistake. And I mean VERY mature aged. As in; have trouble reading things on a computer screen. Not to mention the fact that plenty of older people find it harder to learn their way around computers. Are they going to give computing classes to the people who aren’t computer savvy?
I’m long-sighted, and find it more difficult to read from a computer screen than from a book. Maybe you don’t. Well lucky you.

Doesn’t really matter, since, as I said, that’s probably not what’s going to happen. As I stated quite clearly, the main problem is that we’re yet to get a CONSISTENT explanation of what will happen.
No student should have to accept a change in their paid course structure unless they have been given a decent explanation of the hows and whys therein.

Jim Jones said :

Kalfour said :

Oh FFS. Nobody is taking away the books – they’re being moved.

ALL the libraries across the ANU Campus have had books digitised and moved off campus.

As for the argument that books shouldn’t be stored in compatuses – if you can’t figure out a way to get a book from a compactus, you really shouldn’t be at a university.

*sigh* Again, you’ve missed the main point. Vic Elliot has given us several different stories about what will happen to the books.
I’m not happy about it happening to the other libraries either.
And compactuses are easy enough to work out, but as I said, they’re cumbersome. And in any other setup at ANU, they’re not wheelchair accessible. As you can see http://www.sydneyshelving.com.au/compactus/compactten.html , there is little space, lots of bending required, and the risk of being squashed (obviously with no serious danger, but still not fun) if somebody doesn’t notice you between the shelves. Not to mention that the room they’re (or were on Thursday) proposing to put these in is tiny. It’s just not feasible.

Jim Jones said :

And here’s a dictionary definition to put an end to all this ‘but I’m not afraid of poofs’ crap.

“Adj. 1. homophobic – prejudiced against homosexual people”

I think you’re in the wrong thread.

#21
creative_canberran12:55 pm, 15 Oct 11

UPDATE: The University has this week announced it will go ahead with the merger.

Not only will the merger go ahead, but no concessions or bargains were secured and the plan is actually now worse than it was before, with Vic Eliot’s (Library head who was behind the plan) earlier promise to keep all texts on campus now ignored. Many will be moved to Hume.

The blame for this cannot be attributed to any one party exclusively, ultimately it is the University making the decision and they who will be responsible for whatever transpires. Had the student representatives though approached this differently, the outcome could easily have been better.

The protest organisers, (including several people recently elected to senior ANUSA roles and the presidency itself) were repeatedly invited to negotiate; to offer their views in a cogent manner for the VC to consider. Yet they kept responding with blunt negativity and a refusal to engage. It was no way or their way – a narrow minded and frankly incompetent way to go.

They had no contingency, no depth of thinking on the issue. All they could say was “no merger” – a sentiment now plastered across the front of Llewelyn Hall in large print.

In a submission I put to the VC (which his office accepted for consideration independent of the one ANUSA and other reps were meant to submit), I accepted there were practical reasons for the merger and that it was in line with what other Uni’s were doing. I requested they complete a more detailed audit of campus library usage and make certain concessions were the merger to go ahead, including a guarantee of where the savings will be invested and the provision of more flexible learning spaces in the future. Unfortunately, the submission of one individual carries no weight and when the contents of my submission was suggested to the music and arts reps, they rejected it as conceding ground.

So in sum, the merger is final, the protestors expended months of energy saying “No” to reach an outcome worse than the initial proposal. Perhaps now those people would like to accept the more conciliatory tone would have been more beneficial as I suggested… you know, where you work with the university instead of shouting and stomping like a brat?

http://www.woroni.com.au/articles/news/music-arts-libraries-merge-after-all

#22
I-filed3:11 pm, 15 Oct 11

“Oh FFS. Nobody is taking away the books – they’re being moved.”

Don’t trust the ANU – they trashed a superb economic history library in the late 1990s – part of the Noel Butlin collection, including gems such as early census records, old maps, early Indigenous records, water management records … they were literally thrown into hoppers and various academics rescued what they could.

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