The University has turned a new page for several campus libraries: by 2012, all the print collections of the Hotel School and Johnson School libraries will be relocated to the ILR School’s library as part of the University’s larger strategic planning process.
According to a University Library report, despite the consolidation of the libraries’ print materials into the ILR facilities, access to e-resources will be expanded for students of both the Hotel and Johnson schools. In addition, some of the print documents, part of the libraries’ collections, will “be digitized for easier discovery and use,” the report stated.
For Angela Horne MBA ’07, director of the Johnson School’s Management Library, this relocation process represents an opportunity “to enhance the collections and services across the three libraries.”
“The Reimagining [Cornell] process has given the entire campus, including our libraries, the opportunity to reconsider how we do things,” Horne said. “An important thing will be to maintain or improve services with this relocation.”
Horne noted that many of the details regarding the relocation and consolidation process remain unknown to her.
The textbooks and other print documents available on reserve in the two libraries will be made available electronically, a process that Horne says the University will explain to faculty and students in the near future.
Horne maintained that, despite the absence of print collections, the Management Library will continue to be used for studying purposes and that access to specialized databases will still be available.
At the moment, Horne does not expect any major reductions in the support staff of the Management Library.
“From now, our entire staff will continue to support the business research community at the Johnson School and [the University],” she said. “We are working to reduce costs by sharing expertise across these units, just as many other costs have been reduced across campus.”
For Lee Ringland, circulation supervisor at the Management Library, the impact of the changes soon to materialize will be best assessed by the students’ reaction.
The MBA students might be the group most affected by the changes, since, according to Ringland, they are the “ones that use the library as a library the most, in terms of working with its printed materials.”
Alessandra Zielinski grad, said she uses the electronic resources very regularly. Nonetheless, Zielinski said she also uses the textbooks available on reserve for general studying and research purposes.
The Hotel School library will also remain as a space open for study during and after the relocation of its print collections.
Donald Schnedeker, director of the Hotel School library, said the library “space will continue to be dedicated to students” and that he expects some of its staff to “remain in Statler Hall to support student and faculty hospitality information needs.”
For some ‘hotelies,’ however, the lack of print collections in their school’s library represents a very unfortunate change.
“By moving the library, we are losing an asset of Statler; the resources will be less utilized if they are not found in the library anymore,” Abigail Needles ’12 said.
Similarly, Wanda Schell ’13, said that the lack of the course reserves readily accessible at the library will make students “truly forget the library and its other print collections.” Schell was saddened by the fact that “the largest hospitality book collection in the world will lose its home at the Hotel School.”
For Zachary Ruben ’11, however, the changes in the Hotel School library will have an effect upon the school’s autonomy relative to the other colleges.
“Historically, the Hotel School has been on its own; this is one of the strangest ways to attempt to organize the [school] into the rest of the University,” Ruben said.
As part of the changes, the Hotel, Management and ILR libraries will have a single director. Janet McCue, associate University librarian, will serve as interim director of the libraries until a permanent director is hired, according to the University Library factsheet.
Both Horne and Schenedeker, along with the ILR library director, will serve as assistant directors, who will hold new responsibilities, such as coordinating collaborative teams across the three schools.
Throughout this fall semester, the University Library system will hold open forums and information sessions for members of the University community to ask questions and provide their input as the libraries enter a new era.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the last name of Zachary Ruben ’11.
Original Author: Patricio Martinez