Library Building Closed for Summer


News Editor & Features Editor


All this summer, starting May 9, the Macdonald-Kelce Library will be closed for electrical system updates. Students staying for summer sessions can instead use limited library services in the Riverside building.

During the library closure, students will not have access to the physical book collection, periodicals, government documents, and DVDs. Books can be reserved for summer courses through Interlibrary loans and will be available in Riverside. Students can still check out laptops at the Jaeb Computer Center.

“As long as there are classes being taught the library [services are] open,” said David Davisson, information literacy librarian. “Students [can] continue to use the library [in Riverside] as a place to meet in groups, to find a place to study, and to work with reference librarians to locate the high-quality information needed for their projects.”

The library, or “Club Lib” as students affectionately call it, was opened in 1969. While university funds have recently focused on buildings like the recently named Maureen Daly building and the gym that is currently under construction, the Faculty Library Committee wants UT to turn its attention and wallet to the library.

“It’s an old building. It needs new lighting. It needs changed air flow. It needs new ducts,” said Art Bagley, reference librarian. “It needs new conduit for wiring for the computer systems that we set up in various labs throughout the building. So, they’re just going to do it all in one fell swoop.”

This Friday, the Faculty Senate will vote on whether they will recommend that the Board of Trustees consider adding a new library building to the campus master plan. The Faculty Library Committee sent a detailed report to outline the need for UT to place greater value on the library.

In the report, the librarians showed correlations between library expenditures and things like retention, graduation and student success rates, as well as overall campus reputation and prestige.

The part that seems to catch most people’s attention is when you look at examples of other universities that spend [a] similar amount on a per student basis,” Davisson said.

UT currently spends $292 per student on the library: this is equivalent to schools like Florida Keys Community College ($292), ITT Technical Institute ($289), Oglala Lakota College ($294), and Palau Community College ($294). The difference between these schools and UT? UT is a private university while the others are either community colleges, institutes with a number of satellite campuses, or a tribal college. In comparison, top third liberal arts college libraries spend roughly $2,077 per student, middle third liberal arts college libraries spend about $1,412 per student, and even bottom third liberal arts college libraries spend $994 per student on average, that’s $702 more than UT allocates per student.

The report contends that if UT wants to compete with top 50 liberal arts universities the Macdonald-Kelce Library would need to more than triple the current number of professional librarians, the budget and number of staff members.

The report reads: “The best path to excellence for the Macdonald-Kelce Library is to plan and construct a new building that can accommodate the number of librarians, technical staff, and student workers necessary to support an institution of this size and quality.”

The proposed new building would have “space for increased student use, group study spaces, faculty space, a writing center, presentation rooms, an IT help desk, and offices for the Academic Success Center,” according to the report.

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