Academic journal article Notes

You Can't Hurry Love: Patience, Perseverance, and a Positive Attitude Move a Music Library

Academic journal article Notes

You Can't Hurry Love: Patience, Perseverance, and a Positive Attitude Move a Music Library

Article excerpt

Robert A. Seal put it best when he wrote, "Few issues in academic librarianship inspire as much controversy as the branch or departmental library. At the center of this controversy is the question of whether or not collections should be centralized in the main university library or located in part in separate branch libraries." (1) Although Seal wrote these words almost two decades ago, his words still hold true. Many articles have been written about the controversy, and the issue has been discussed with much passion and concern on the electronic discussion list of the Music Library Association (MLA-L), at library conferences, backroom meetings, and even over drinks among colleagues. This remains a concern today not only for the librarians in charge of those branch libraries, but also for the faculty and students they serve. As Olivia M. A. Madison, Sally A. Fry, and David Gregory stated in 1994, "the mere mention of a branch library review will bring faculty members out in full force--some to 'defend' their branch facilities, others in an obvious posture of 'attack.'" (2) Faculty and students generally cite loss of proximity, convenience, and prestige in their arguments against centralization of music services and collections. Music librarians are threatened by the loss of specialization of services, fearing that library administration will forget about the needs of music users if the collections and services are located in a larger main library.

In December 2003, Loyola University, New Orleans, closed its music branch library and moved music collections and services into the five-year-old J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library. This move was the culmination of a major collaboration of library faculty with music faculty and students that resulted in a design for housing and offering music collections and services that satisfies all of the major stakeholders. The move had the support of all of the librarians, including those librarians who were most closely involved with music collections and services, and no pressure was placed on the librarians by the library administration to accomplish the move. We shall describe the planning and negotiation process for Loyola's music library move and the success achieved in the new space. Further, we shall analyze our case in the context of the Association of College and Research Libraries' guidelines for branch libraries in colleges and universities. We hope to show that, although it requires patience and perseverance, working in a collaborative model with music students and faculty can bring about a final outcome that will be beneficial to both the library and its users.

BACKGROUND

Loyola University is a medium-size comprehensive Jesuit Catholic university. The urban campus sits on twenty-four acres in two locations in uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. The undergraduate enrollment is approximately 3,800 and the total enrollment, including the School of Law, is about 5,900. The College of Music offers programs or degrees in jazz studies, music composition, music education, music industry studies, music in liberal arts, music theory, music therapy, music with elective studies, instrumental performance, vocal performance, piano pedagogy, and ballet. The College of Music enrollment in 2003-4 comprised 327 undergraduate and 26 graduate students.

The J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, which opened its doors in January 1999, is 150,000 square feet and includes more than 700 study spaces. Its teaching and learning spaces include two multimedia classrooms, four seminar rooms, fourteen group study rooms, an instruction lab, the Multimedia Macintosh Lab, the newly created Information Literacy Living Room and Lab, and an art gallery. The library works closely with the departments of Information Technology and Visual Arts, the College of Music, and the Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy. The library's collection offers 356,644 volumes, 27,037 e-books, 21,500 full-text e-journals, and 103 online information resources. …

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