The University Library System is planning to fold Pitt’s Chemistry and Langley libraries into the George M. Bevier Engineering Library, citing a steady decrease in visits and print circulations at the libraries.
During the University Senate Library committee meeting on April 15, Kornelia Tancheva, director of the University Library System, said there are multiple reasons for the merger.
The circulation of print collections in the two libraries has dropped steadily for years, Tancheva said, as researchers have migrated to electronic formats. However, this isn’t the case for the Engineering Library, which has more space to house the print collections and sees more traffic.
In fact, in seven months of the pandemic, the Hillman Library received more visits from chemistry students than the Chemistry Library, located in the Chevron Science Center, ever had seen in the span of a year — even before the pandemic, Tancheva said. Langley Library has a collection focused on life sciences and is located in Langley Hall.
The two libraries’ five employees — two librarians and three staff members — would remain employed at the University. It’s unclear how the vacant spaces would be used afterward, but Tancheva has been speaking to campus leaders, faculty and students in the affected areas of study.
“We’ve been having conversations with our staff at the Langley, Chemistry (libraries), who, after the experience with the pandemic, cannot wait to be in one location, because it has been so difficult to keep those three locations open for basically zero visits and zero circulations,” Tancheva said.
She later added that she’s waiting to receive funding for the transition, which would ideally happen by the fall 2021 or spring 2022 semesters.
— Donovan Harrell
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