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Archive for Thursday, April 27, 2006

KU libraries get new dean and more space for books

April 27, 2006

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Gary Lawson, engineering project manager at Kansas University, glances up at the 38-foot tall shelves inside the new Library Annex on west campus.  Lawson was one of many on hand for Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new storage building.

Gary Lawson, engineering project manager at Kansas University, glances up at the 38-foot tall shelves inside the new Library Annex on west campus. Lawson was one of many on hand for Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new storage building.

Kansas University announced a new dean of libraries Wednesday as officials dedicated the new $5.8 million Library Annex on west campus.

Lorraine Haricombe, dean of libraries at Bowling Green State University, will begin Aug. 1. She succeeds Stella Bentley, who is retiring.

Haricombe (HAIR'-ee-comb) could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Her salary will be $160,000.

Denise Stephens, vice provost for information services, said Haricombe was an experienced administrator with a strong belief in staff development who understands the challenges and opportunities facing academic libraries.

Haricombe will report to Stephens for 90 percent of her duties, while reporting to the provost's office for faculty promotion and tenure matters, Stephens said.

Haricombe, a native of South Africa, began her college career in South Africa before earning master's and doctoral degrees in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

She has been dean of university libraries at Bowling Green since 2001.

Also on Wednesday, KU administrators dedicated the Library Annex, 1880 Westbrook Drive. The facility, which can house up to 1.6 million volumes, was built to relieve overcrowding and to open up study space in the libraries.

About 250,000 volumes now in an off-campus storage site will be moved to the annex, and other volumes will follow. Library staff have gathered input from faculty, but some still aren't pleased about the process.

Kansas University faculty and staff gather outside the new Library Annex on west campus. The structure at 1880 Westbrook Drive can house up to 1.6 million volumes and was built to relieve overcrowding in the libraries.

Kansas University faculty and staff gather outside the new Library Annex on west campus. The structure at 1880 Westbrook Drive can house up to 1.6 million volumes and was built to relieve overcrowding in the libraries.

Marjorie Swann, associate professor of English, said she worried that the libraries were beginning to look like a student union/coffee shop, and the university would hurt its research edge in the process.

Swann said some faculty were attempting to prevent as many books as they could from being moved to the annex.

"There really is a sense of this being a salvage operation, and it's a matter of who do you keep in the lifeboat?" she said.

Once the books are in the annex, they must be requested to be accessed and should be available within 24 hours.

History professor John Sweets said there was value in being able to browse the stacks in a library rather than browse for items on the computer. He said students needed to be encouraged to browse the shelves.

"You're apt to find things that just catch your eye," he said.

Library Annex

Comments

Melissa Kounelaki 8 years, 7 months ago

I work at Watson Library and I'm excited about the annex. While I also hate to see this wonderful library turn into a coffee shop/Borders, the stacks are in dire straits! The space being used for lounging and studying and computers is NOT where the books are. It's all open space or formerly staff space (so now we're all cramped on top of each other). The stacks will still be packed, even with the removal of lesser used items, but it gives us a little breathing room for new books and the thousands of books that are being reclassed from Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress. A VERY large percentage of books will still be browsable in the stacks. Nothing is being disregarded as old and useless, and in fact the books going to the annex will be in a better enviroment--proper temperature and humidity and no dust. I'm especially looking forward to the new dean's arrival and hope she can repair the morale damage to staff done by Bentley.

Janet Lowther 8 years, 7 months ago

You know, Years ago I wrote papers on some notable works of rhetoric in the 1896 presidential election. While researching those topics I found and used books in the old Dewey stacks on William McKinley which didn't even have punch cards, never mind bar codes in them. I'm pretty sure they weren't in the then new on-line catalog, and I don't think they had subject cards in the card catalog.

If these books had been on a "by request" status I'm sure I would have never found, much less used them.

christie 8 years, 7 months ago

And if they sat there long enough they would rot. That's why this facility is needed. Once correctly catalogued into a system, they are easily found and retrieved. A Library should be a stimulating environment with room to stretch, relax, etc. It should be complete with the simple things like nice tables, nice couches, a StarBucks, wireless Internet, banks of computers, etc.

A Library that is nothing more than row after row after row of books is old, boring, and out of date. Kinda like Kansas.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 7 months ago

Stella caused some morale problems? That's too bad. I wondered why she left so soon.

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