Wendy Katz 0

Reconsider removing humanities books from library

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Petition to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, from members of the faculty.
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the administration reconsider the decision to remove books and print materials from Love Library North and from any other portions of that or other humanities libraries on campus to offsite access or storage. While a Learning Commons is a worthy addition to the campus, creating it by removing the tools necessary for serious research and teaching is, we believe, counterproductive.
The faculty note that while the most relevant research in many fields is published in journals available in electronic format, this is not true in all fields, especially in the humanities and some of the social sciences, the disciplines that will be affected most by the planned changes. Very few of the books published in these fields over the past half-century are available online.

It has been argued that because offsite books can be requested and will generally be delivered within 24 hours, the effect of this removal will be negligible. Yet this ignores the way that books and journals function within humanities research. Finding the book a catalog search suggests will be most relevant is usually only the beginning of a journey that can travel in a variety of directions: to the books that are physically near it on the shelves, to the sources cited in their notes and bibliography, to the unexpected connections suggested in the text, which may take one down another road entirely. The dense and interdisciplinary research that UNL values in both faculty and student scholarship cannot be done as efficiently or as effectively when collections are divided, separated from cognate collections and references, and each step of the process potentially separated by a 24-hour interval. 

We would like to attract the most talented humanities faculty and graduate students. We would like undergraduate students to be more involved in the library, and we support revisions and remodeling of libraries aimed at introducing them to the most effective methods of research in humanities and related disciplines. Accordingly, the faculty request that any future actions pertaining to university materials vital to conducting research such as those in the libraries be made with Faculty Senate involvement in the decision.


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