[Newsletter Alte Geschichte] Fwd: Petition

Vortragseinladungen und Ankündigungen im Bereich der Altertumswissenschaften news-altegeschichte at lists.univie.ac.at
Fr Mär 16 12:48:05 CET 2018

Von meinem Samsung Galaxy Smartphone gesendet.

-------- Ursprüngliche Nachricht --------
Von: Thomas Corsten <thomas.corsten at univie.ac.at>
Datum: 16.03.18 12:46 (GMT+01:00)
An: Niedermaier Werner <werner.niedermaier at univie.ac.at>
Betreff: Petition

Lieber Herr Niedermaier,

Vielen Dank für die schnelle Erledigung! Leider ist bei meiner
Weiterleitung der ursprünglichen Nachricht offenbar ein Fehler passiert,
indem der wichtigste Teil, nämlich der Bericht aus Texas mit dem link
zur Petition, abgeschnitten worden ist ... Könnten Sie diesen (hier in
der mail) über den Verteiler schnell hinterherschicken?

Vielen Dank und herzliche Grüße,
Thomas Corsten

* * * * * * *

Forwarding on behalf of Prof. Rabun Taylor (Department of Classics,
University of Texas at Austin, rmtaylor at austin.utexas.edu):

Dear colleagues,

Please forgive this blanket email, but I feel it is justified in light
of the extraordinary circumstances.

To my knowledge, the decision to remove an entire physical library from
the campus of a Research 1 institution without any consultation of
faculty or students is utterly unprecedented in recent American history.
  Yet this is exactly what has happened at the University of Texas at
Austin.  The stacks from the third and fourth floors of the Fine Arts
Library are gone.  The additional decision by the Dean of Fine Arts to
remove the remaining fifth floor of stacks (an additional 85,000
volumes, and close to 200,000 items total) is being vigorously
challenged, but already the 75,000 print volumes and roughly 100,000
disks from the other floors have been permanently removed into storage
facilities.  Tens of thousands (including all but five journals, the
majority of them undigitized) appear to have been conveyed to the Joint
Library Facility (JLF) in College Station, about 100 miles east of
Austin.  The ownership status of these items is unclear; the facility
website indicates that the JLF’s holdings become jointly owned by Texas
A&M University, and that spare copies are “deduplicated.”  Vice Provost
and Director of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe disputes any claims that
the books and journals have gone into joint ownership, and she asserts
that no items from UT-Austin are being destroyed.  However, further
investigation has shown that they go to UT Surplus, which distributes
them to charity or to Better World Books, where they are put up for

The Fine Arts Library affair is exploding like a bomb among the faculty
and students of College of Fine Arts, who have nevertheless been working
diligently for almost a year to mitigate the damage.  The affair was
roundly condemned at the College Art Association meeting earlier this
month in Los Angeles and several articles about it have been published
in the local, national, and international press.  In two days, a public
petition has garnered over 1,500 signatures.

There is good reason to believe that the Fine Arts Library crisis,
though it was precipitated by a particular set of circumstances in the
College of Fine Arts—the rapid inauguration of a new school of “design
and creative technologies” into the college without an adequate capital
campaign to support new space—actually reflects a much deeper and
broader culture of colonization and disruption within UT Libraries and
central administration.  It seems likely that both entities
countenanced, or even encouraged, this action.  But this is part of a
bigger story.  Yesterday, word arrived that the University of Wisconsin
at Madison is also planning to eliminate its renowned fine arts library.
  The message conveyed by these actions is already well understood by
anyone whose academic discipline resides in the arts and humanities.  We
all have targets on our backs, and we find ourselves fighting rearguard
battles to preserve the physical tools of our trade, first and foremost
books.  But with foresight and solidarity, we can resist this global
trend of bibliophobia and even reverse it.  Only a couple of hundred
miles to our north, the University of Texas at Dallas is inaugurating a
new Athenaeum with expanded library space and a physical collection
augmented by an important private library.

I would encourage you to get informed about our situation at UT-Austin
and spread the word widely among your colleagues and students.  The
website includes much more information.


Also, there is a movement afoot called Save UT Libraries and a petition.
  Please sign the petition and, if you’re so inclined, leave a comment.
Our resistance movement has many tools at its disposal, but one of the
most powerful is the testimony of our colleagues around the world.


Please share this message widely.  Thanks for your time and

Rabun Taylor
Professor, Department of Classics
University of Texas at Austin
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