Over the last few days, messages have circulated widely about the Life Sciences Library in the McIntyre Building, suggesting it is to close. I am writing to set this record straight.
Firstly, the Life Sciences Library is not slated for closure, nor is the Osler Library closing, as another rumour has suggested. I have not approved any such decision. Nevertheless, the current budgetary context, together with the ongoing evolution of the way in which Faculty members and students use library services, makes it necessary that we re-examine the way in which we provide library services.
In the 21st century, information is ever more readily available and accessible. Making sense of that information, particularly in the context of education and scholarship, requires specific expertise, that of librarians, whose role and importance to our organization will increase over the coming years. In contrast, we know that the traditional use of the library as a resource for paper-based references is in decline, as digital information sources increasingly dominate. Space currently devoted to the stacks might be better used for small group or individual study space. In consequence, many leading institutions in both Canada and the US have instituted major changes to the way in which they provide library services, focusing on making sure that students and Faculty members have the tools they need to succeed.
It is crucial, in the face of challenging financial constraints, that we make choices to protect the core activities of our libraries, while minimizing the impact on education and research. It is in this context that a reorganization of library services has been discussed informally with me. It has always been my expectation that once preliminary proposals had been prepared, there would be an opportunity to consult with Faculty members and students to ensure that we make the best choices possible. The Faculty will not proceed to any final decisions without consulting the Chairs, Directors and other key representatives.
This discussion, in fact, has created an opportunity for us to revisit our needs for this space and redefine how best we can use it to maximize the benefits for our students and for our research going forward, especially as we prepare to implement curricular and other changes. I look forward to the consultation, as well as to receiving input at any time via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will continue to provide updates as the discussion unfolds.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any specific questions or concerns.
David Eidelman, MDCM
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
April 12, 2013