Architecture, Planning and Fine Arts Library Collections
Most of you will be aware that there are changes being made with The University of Auckland Libraries
, and that these changes obviously affect the beloved Architecture and Planning Library. In keeping with the changing study habits of students, the broader university is providing flexible study areas throughout faculty buildings, combined with the thinning and consolidating of Library collections. Specialist Collections, including Archives
, will be incorporated with the General Collection, held in the Main Library on Princes St.
This means that both the Architecture and Planning Collection and the Fine Arts Collection will be dissolved into the General Library, and it is the belief of many former and current students and staff that these specialist collections should remain intact. Both collections are recognised as being of national significance, and it is believed by many that to dissipate such cultural assets would be to weaken them.
While proximity to the Faculty Schools is also important, the first priority is to retain the cohesion of the Architecture, Planning and Fine Arts Collections - even if they are to be housed in the General Library Building.
There are two separate issues that arise in the discussion around the loss of 'the Architecture Library' - one is the retention of the collections themselves, and the other is the proposed demolition of the physical building, and redevelopment of that area of the campus. It is important to clarify that the concern here is with the first issue: saving our Architecture, Planning and Fine Arts Collections. We are quite sure that space can be found in the development proposals (which are well underway and in good hands) for these treasures.
If you would like to ask for further consideration to be given to the retention of the Architecture, Planning and Fine Arts Collections, please write to the Vice-Chancellor;
Professor Stuart McCutcheon
The University of Auckland
We believe these collections have an importance far broader than current staff and students - they have influenced many architects and academics for almost a century.
Emails are best, and brief is good. Adding your voice is what is important.
This article was emailed out as a newsletter on Thursday 19 April 2018
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For those staff and student s who use the Specialist Libraries often, they will have noticed that the collections have already been 'dissolved' in the online structure. In the past, when using the University of Auckland Library online, it was possible to navigate through the Architecture and Planning Library only. Now it is no longer possible to refine your search in this way, already a sign of things to come.
Stills taken from Saving The Library video made by Kavita Sharma and Jane Waterhouse
1.) Here is a great Spin Off article written by Peter Gilderdale (AUT Senior Lecturer, Designer, ex-Elam student) where he writes about the changing middle classes in New Zealand, and how this is affecting society's relationship to the arts. Get past the emotive anti-Grey-Lynn headline and read his clear analysis of how cultural and economic capital are intertwined, and how the cultural aspirations of the current middle-classes differ so strongly from previous generations. In his eyes, the specialist arts libraries are casualties of this change.
(But in ours, Libraries can change with social shifts. Saving the collections is not an argument for constancy, but nor should the specialist libraries be lost.)
2.) John Walsh provides a nice summary of the situation in the NZIA Bulletin Friday 20 April 2018.
Arts and Architecture Students held a protest on Monday 30 April 2018, 12:00 Midday to call for a revision to the Libraries Review process, one which includes the student voice.
(While a student consultation process was undertaken by the review panel, the results showed a difference in the way CAI (Creative Arts Industries) students use their libraries differently than the general university students. (eg. browsing, physical imagery required in tactile format, large format books). This difference has not been taken into consideration in the decision to dissolve the specialist libraries into the General Library.)
Anna Wright, MArch(Prof) Student, UoA