April 16, 2018

Fine Arts Library at University of Auckland Threatened with Closure

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND—A plan to close the Fine Arts Library at the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Aucklandhas drawn criticism from students and inspired an online petition to maintain the library’s operations. If the plan proceeds, the Fine Arts Library and libraries specializing in architecture and music would be shuttered and some materials rehoused in the university’s main library.

The proposed closures are part of a larger restructuring schemeby the University of Auckland that has already closed the university’s engineering library and a campus in the Auckland suburbs. The closure would be result in layoffs of forty-five Creative Arts and Industries Libraries staff members.

A university reviewof the Fine Arts Library noted that a closure would provoke a “sense of loss” in the Elam community but that this “is not a major problem.” In response, the student campaign Save the Fine Arts Librarycountered that the closure of the library, the largest collection of fine arts research materials in the Southern Hemisphere, would have significant impact on studio and art history students’ continued study and deter potential students from enrolling at the Elam School of Fine Arts.

Save the Fine Arts Library contends that the review has many methodological flaws and plans for the library were not conducted in consultation with students and staff. “Elam is a school that emphasizes community, critical engagement, and reference to visual resources as essential components of developing studio practice. Elam must retain its library to allow for these,” the group wrote. A decision on the future of the library will be made at the end of April.

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