Saturday, May 06, 2006

Indiana University To Shut Down Map Library?

Among 4 library branches Indiana University is proposing to close is their Geography and Map Library. Story: Four libraries facing closures
Budget issues seem to be one of the main reasons library administration has begun its investigation of campus libraries. Lou Malcomb, the head of IU Libraries Government Information, Microfilms and Statistical Services Department said administrators looked at the budget three or four weeks ago and realized there are "concerns."
How could such a major university be so strapped for funding that it will consider closing down their Geography and Map Library? It's inconceivable to me, but all I have to go on is this story in the student newspaper, so I am trying not to rush to a summary judgment here. The decision which libraries would close was based on activity levels. I am concerned about this because if we start to experience financial problems here (UTA), funding for geospatial datasets would surely be cut before the more commonly used electronic databases or monographs. Our library funds are very heavily dependent upon student fees, and a short drop in enrollment any semester could deliver us into a severe economic depression.
Heiko Muehr, the branch coordinator of the Map and Geography library, said that he was surprised by the proposal because the library is "a very efficient operation." He said it's also convenient because it's located in the Student Building and serves both geography and anthropology students and faculty, as well as several local residents.

"It is the IU library closest to downtown Bloomington and we get more use from Indiana residents than other IU libraries do," Muehr said. "(We get) farmers looking for plat books, genealogists, historic preservation professionals using our historic Sanborn maps, fishermen looking at Indiana lake maps, you name it."

Kelly Caylor, professor of ecohydrology in the Department of Geography, said that a resource like this library is "critical to the daily activity of (his) discipline." He said he uses the library to introduce his lower level classes to maps and methods of data collecting and uses the library as a way to share resources and readings with his upper level classes.
Via: MapHist

No comments: