Monday, April 16, 2012

Research space needed; books to return

The DE has an article on the return of books to Morris. This is good news. But missing from the article is the reason the books are coming back. It is not because they are valued, but because they are valued less than the McLafferty Annex itself, which is now coveted as a research space. The $1 million required to get the books back materialized once this became clear--or this at any rate is what I gather from comments by the Chancellor some time ago,* noting how many groups had expressed an interest in McLafferty. Of course research space is also a good thing, but this sequence of events seems to show how low a priority the library, and particularly its print collections, has around here. This is yet another reminder, for any needing one, that when an administrator says "we don't have the money to do x" it often means "I've decided to spend the money on y instead". 

The priority on getting the books out of McLafferty rather than in to Morris may help to explain the rather sketchy details in the story as to how exactly the books are going to get to Morris. From reading the story, one gets the impression that despite having had the books in McLafferty for three years, we have made no plan about how to get them back. But the confusion in the story may be as much journalistic as administrative: I welcome comments from readers with more insight into this. McLafferty itself is now closed to browsing, and its books lost in limbo during the transfer. Some such loss of access is necessary, but it will be interesting to see how long the limited access lasts.

* She made these comments at a Faculty Senate meeting, but I haven't been able to find them in the minutes.  


25 comments:

  1. Let me get this straight. Faculty, at least those who post here on Deo Volente, whine because the books are over at McLafferty. Now they're whining because they're coming back to Morris.

    And...the whining doesn't stop there, (Gasp) McLafferty will be converted into research space.

    Low priority? Really?

    Why do you even bother getting out of bed in the morning?

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    1. Complaints are some people's hobbies. These people are negative toward to most of things in their life, and are hardly to be creative.

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    2. Actually, I like to spend my free time complaining about people complaining about my complaining.

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    3. Go ahead. Watch your health. Good luck!

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    4. Good to hear someone's confession. Sorry to see lives so tough to you and you do need to find someone to blame. Poor guy.

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    5. Duhhhhhhhhh, to go to work: teach and research, I doubt that you know much about either, considering this comment and your previous comments here.

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  2. The last few weeks of the semester is when they start moving the books? WTF?

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  3. The confusion is administrative, not journalistic.

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  4. I would not put it past Carlson to give instructions to the drivers of vehicles taking books out of McLafferty to head to the nearest dumpster and sispose of them as he did the rare books some years ago.

    Also Joan, browsing is a part of the research process and the closure of McLafftery happened ten days ago without any warning. Why could moving these books not wait until the intercession and during summer when most faculty are away rather than disrupting the research of faculty and students who need immediate access rather than being confined to sub-banking hours access? Research is not confined to the semester but is a 52 week, 24 hour a day process for those of us who take it seriously so being refused access to McLafferty even in the last few weeks of the semester is a major blow.

    With a comment like "WTF", Anon. 11.30 is really revealing his/her stupidity and incompatibility with what should be a real research university. It is evident that you are not faculty nor have you done any serious research in your life to make such stupid comments without thinking before you speak. This is another example of SIUC bad administrative thinking so just go to the football stadium where money has been wasted and do us all a favor.

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    1. I'm the rare book librarian, and I can assure you that the majority of the rare book collection was moved safely to Morris during the first phases of the post-renovation move. The rest remain in offsite storage due to limited space, but none of my books went anywhere near any dumpsters during the process. If you'd like to use any of the books in the collection, please stop by the Special Collections reading room.

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    2. Don't worry. Those people who are keeping to complain don't do research and they just look for something they can shoot.

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  5. Mike Sullivan, Math DeptApril 16, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Anyone know how this will effect the Math Computer Lab in Morris? I haven't heard anything.

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    1. Why would this affect the Math Computer Lab?

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    2. The library has not received much information about how the move will be handled, but it is unlikely to have a serious impact on the Math Lab. The shelves and books are all moving to the basement. In past moves, the workers have used the library's service elevator, which is close to the Math Lab, so there may be some noise at times.

      The upper admin. is strongly supportive of the Math Lab's presence in the library, so if you experience any problems, sending a complaint up the chain might get them fixed.

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    3. Thanks so much Melissa. Your informational, clarifying response is precisely the kind of shared discourse/resources a blog like this can facilitate when its working well. and thanks also for the ongoing infrastructural work you and your colleagues do to steward the scholarly resources we all rely upon.

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    4. Dave Johnson doesn't like to hear something like ``The upper admin. is strongly supportive of the Math Lab's presence in the library''. He wants to change to

      ''The upper admin. is unlikely supportive of the Math Lab's presence in the library''

      so he can start to complain.

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    5. Math Dept ===== FA, please stay away.

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  6. Anon, WTF are you talking about? I made the same basic comment you did, just with more brevity. It's unbelievable that they would make it harder to get books in the last few weeks of the semester. Of course, I could go on to say that you are obviously not a person who understands English, since you missed the point of my comment completely, but I've learned not to make assumptions about anonymous commentators.

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  7. No, I don't understand brief comments using "WTF"
    since that is the type of language used by ignorant rednecks and you have only yourself to blame for the misunderstanding. Elaborate on what you intend to say in future.

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    1. I think that just about everyone understood the "WTF" except for you. And then you double-down on your embarrassment by comparing the poster to an "ignorant redneck."

      Ahhh...life as an academic.

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    2. Nothing human is alien to me. That includes obscene acronyms.

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  8. I'm happy to see the books coming back and I don't care about the reason. These posts sure don't take long to sour nowadays! It seems to me that the divide that was so evident in fall strike is alive and well in the spring.

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  10. Sounds like a win, win to me. Obviously some nudge was needed to convince SOMEONE to come up with the money.

    Frankly, the Library situation has been WAY better than those years when it was barricaded with wooden planks and fences. So it takes a day (or a few hours) for the books to come from McClafferty right to the Circ counter for me to pick up. And I get an email that they are in for me. That beats the old days by a long shot, open or closed stacks.

    Anyway, I'm happy. Then again, Quinn's Pension Commission issues its report today (I'm told) so I may be very unhappy by the end of the day!

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  11. Joan: I get up in the morning to go to work: teach and research, I doubt that you know much about either, considering this comment and your previous comments here.

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I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.