Plan to relocate UBC’s music library opposed
A plan to relocate UBC’s music library to a different part of the university’s Vancouver campus has outraged students and faculty.
The university hopes to cut costs by moving the entire collection of materials stored in the UBC School of Music building to the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Music-library staff positions are also to be reduced to three from six.
However, members of the university’s music community are concerned about the removal of the library from the music-school building and have voiced opposition to the plan.
“The location of the library is important for us,” Richard Kurth, director of the UBC School of Music, told the Straight. “We use the collection intensively throughout the day and we’re constantly accessing it.”
The music-library collection includes scores, recordings, books, and other materials.
“We know that a move will decrease the vitality of access for us,” Kurth said. “It’s just a blow to the quality of our program, fundamentally.”
Melody Burton, UBC deputy university librarian, said merging the music library into the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is part of a broader cost-cutting strategy.
The relocation is projected to save $350,000 a year from the university’s $35-million library-services budget, according to UBC.
“It allows us to essentially close out that one space and operate it within a merged space, a merged library, an existing library,” Burton told the Straight. “So where there are two libraries right now, afterwards there’ll be one. So that’s where the savings are for us.”
Burton acknowledged the concerns about the removal of the library from the School of Music building, but she defended the proposed new site.
“It’s a good location, it’s a heavily used student location, and we think it’s a very viable option for music students and their collection and services,” she said.
Dozens of comments have been posted on the UBC School of Music website decrying the planned relocation, slated to take place in May 2013.
“I’m hoping this is not a done deal,” said Kurth. “I’m hoping we can discuss the terms of the plan and improve them.”