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ANU plans to merge libraries… takes away from students.

By GKB 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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ANU plans to merge libraries… takes away from students.
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I-filed 3:11 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.

creative_canberran 12:55 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?

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