May 4, 2010

Entomology Collection to Be Centralized in Mann

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The University Library announced on Monday that Cornell’s entomology collection –– currently divided between Comstock Memorial Library of Entomology and Mann Library –– would be consolidated into Mann Library over the next two years, in a move it claims will make entomology resources available to the wider community and free up space for the University in the process. Comstock Library went under review a year ago, as part of the University’s strategic planning process. At the conclusion of the review, the suggestion was made to close the library and consolidate the existing resources with those already at Mann. The review was tasked to Mary Ochs, head librarian of Mann, and department chair Prof. Jeff Scott, entomology, who outlined a document containing the pros and cons of a consolidation with Mann Library. According to Anne Kenney, university librarian, the biggest advantage was the uniting of all resources under one roof and more than doubling the hours  each week those resources would be available.Kenney said entomology material accounts for only 0.3 percent of all University library withdrawals, and of that small percentage, the majority of materials are taken out by those not affiliated with the entomology department. Kenney said that a move to Mann would help those who are not entomology majors have greater access to the materials without compromising the welfare of those who are entomology majors. The biggest concern generated from the report was the moving of physical textual and graphical information away from the entomology specimen collection itself, which some believed might be a hindrance to those conducting research. However, according to Max Pfeffer, senior associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, digitizing all the material so that it could be readily available via computer screen should solve that problem. “Digitization will not only help those studying entomology, but also further broaden materials out to those on and off campus that have an interest in the subject matter,” Pfeffer said.  After the initial review, input from stakeholders and an evaluation of factors such as necessary physical repairs and usage statistics were taken into consideration, and a revised recommendation was presented to and approved unanimously by the Library Faculty Board.  In the coming months, an Implementation Task Force — composed of entomology faculty, other faculty and researchers, and library staff — will be created to determine digitizing priorities, collection move timelines, and other implementation details. “Although this move will happen, nothing is set in stone and there will be plenty of opportunities for people to weigh in on specific concerns,” Kenney said. What will become of the freed up space has not been determined, however, Kenney and Pfeffer both said they favored the notion of providing more study space for students.

Original Author: Andrew Boryga