UCL has made a proposal to create a new university library for London by combining the collections of UCL, Senate House Library, and the libraries of the institutes of the School of Advanced Study (SAS). The combined library would have over 4 million volumes, and extensive electronic resources across the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. Other University of London colleges will be invited to contribute to this arrangement on the same basis as they currently contribute to the University of London Research Library Services. This proposal is, in our opinion, the only credible alternative to finding - one day soon - Senate House Library locked, and both its and the SAS institutes' immense intellectual wealth remaindered in second hand bookshops on Charing Cross Road; a risk run by continuing to argue for a collective ownership solution. We, the undersigned staff and students throughout the University of London, endorse UCL's proposed plan for taking these libraries and institutes into trust, and encourage other University of London institutions to support this plan, which offers the following minimum guarantees: 1) Parity of access to the loan and reference holdings of all affected collections - including equal borrowing rights - for all members of contributing institutions. 2) UCL's ongoing commitment to solicit representations from all contributing institutions to acquisitions and collection development policy; its commitment to specialist librarians and to provision for both teaching and research. 3) Open access shelving to be maintained at current levels. 4) UCL's ongoing commitment to institutional and physical integrity for all affected SAS Institutes, including their libraries, recognizing their irreplaceable shared value as a collective space for seminars, discussion, and simply meeting people.
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Gary Williams, United Kingdom5 years ago Comments: At undergraduate and postgraduate level this library was an important source of texts and resources. It would greatly hinder the experience of University of London students if this resource is taken away.
Christopher W A Szpilman, Japan5 years ago Comments: As a former student (SOAS 1980), I am shocked by this news. I think it would be a disgrace for the Senate House library to close. Its rich collection should not be dispersed. Takeover by UCL would be a better option than selling books off, but whatever outcome this is a deplorable decision by a bunch of philistine bureaucrats who obviously believe that in this day and age books and libraries are no longer necessary.
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