This week consists of very sad days. I am overseeing the dismantling of our library. All of the [company's] research libraries worldwide are closing, mainly because upper management believes that "everything is available online" and the space could be put to better use. But the scientists who are actually doing the work disagree, especially the chemists.
This week, representatives from the departments can come in and take any books for departmental collections. Yesterday was day 1 and the big rush since people wanted to have first crack at the resources before some other group scooped them up. Since we are not keeping any kind of record of what is being taken, I have no hard numbers but I guessimate that over 2000 books were taken yesterday by these people. So instead of a central library where materials are being tracked, there will be collections in various departments and buildings but no way to know what is where.
Instead of a central library, scientists are expected to buy whatever books they need to consult if it is not available online. And, surprise, many of the scientific books still are not. The several people within walking distance may have purchased a copy of the book that they could consult but they will have no way to know that. When the money spent on personal books and subscriptions balloon within the department budgets, management will still point to the line item for libraries that will now be zero and say that they saved money.
Last week I worked with a group of scientists who are setting up a “Reading Room” containing 1500+ of the library’s reference books. There is a budget within one department being established to update this collection and they are looking for someone with “an interest in libraries” to help maintain the collection. I had to laugh when I was told this since this is the way that many corporate libraries got started.
Cross-posted to my personal journal username3153