Support for libraries will not be enough
Some of you students, faculty and staff know that at the end of this semester the Fischer Agricultural Sciences, Brain Education and the Architecture Libraries will be closing their doors forever. Prestigious professors like Dr. Jack D. Rogers fought to keep these libraries open for many years. Rogers was even a crucial part in naming the agricultural sciences library after Dr. George W. Fischer, who is a vital part of WSU’s history, and was a firm believer that social life was an important aspect of university life — especially in the Plant Pathology Department.
I have done all that is possible to save the libraries from closing. Still, I cannot understand how the administration can be so out of touch with what students need. Three colleges at WSU will be drastically affected by these closures and the whole WSU community will suffer. We will all need to rely on the three remaining libraries: Holland and Terrell, Owen and the Animal Health Libraries. Those of you that use these libraries know that at certain times of the day there is already insufficient study space.
They say these closures are about lower door counts, fewer book check-outs and the budget crisis, but how can we have the biggest freshman class ever at WSU and have fewer libraries? How can our libraries be taken away without us having a say in the matter prior to telling us they will close? All we get in return for our soon to be dissolved libraries is more access to journals.
When I began my WSU Library Preservation Support crusade, I researched why the libraries were slated for closure and visited many professors and administrators to see why this could happen. I was told time and time again that it was about the budget. I just could not believe the three libraries were costing the university more than the gains made by having these libraries available to students and staff. I still do not know whether it is $100,000 or it is $250,000 per year to run these libraries — I was never able to get an exact figure.
I soon realized that gaining administrative support was a lost cause, since it was obvious they did not care about these libraries closing. This is why I started a student petition supporting a $20 student fee to keep these libraries open. Signatures and support were overwhelming for saving the libraries, and even the ASWSU and GPSA were supportive when I presented the issue to them. Although when it came down to it, there was no action when they could have made a difference.
To get this done without support from anyone with some power, we would have needed two-thirds of the student population in Pullman to sign the petition: 12,000 signatures. I did get a significant sampling of what student support looks like after seeing that more than two-thirds of the students signed the petition in every class I visited about the issue. But it was still not enough.
The hard numbers do not show how priceless the existing library system at WSU truly is. It will be a sad day in WSU history on May 4, 2012 when those libraries close.
Thanks for all your support.
WSU postgraduate student
Interfering elites should not be in politics