Students protest removal of Fine Arts Library stacks

Throughout the past year, the University has relocated more than 75,000 books and physical resources from the Fine Arts Library to off-campus storage sites at the JJ Pickle Research Campus and a joint library facility in College Station.

Driven by a lack of necessary funding to build a new building for the new School of Design and Creative Technology, the College of Fine Arts decided to convert the fourth floor of the stacks — which has seen a drop in student use over the past few years — into classrooms and offices for the program. Some of the library materials would remain available online, while others would be available with an interlibrary loan after a wait of three to five business daysThis move led to widespread backlash, as students and professors protested the removal of resources from campus. Many argued that students would lose the invaluable experience of stumbling upon resources in the stacks. Others pointed out the value of easily accessible learning materials and the art of discovering resources in a library.

In response to this backlash, Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts, appointed two task forces to assess the needs of Fine Arts students and produce a tangible solution to the college’s space problem. The task forces will announce their findings today.

In today’s Forum, our contributors discuss the future of the Fine Arts Library. Zoe Cagan, a music performance junior, reminds us of the role a library plays within a university and points out students’ need for physical, accessible resources. Cagan suggests that this removal of resources reflects a broader undervaluation of the arts in America, and especially Texas. She calls upon administration to hear student voices and stop taking away their learning materials.

Logan Larsen, a studio art and art history sophomore, talks about the significance of the Fine Arts Library in his personal experience at UT. He emphasizes the importance of accessible resources for student research and warns that students will suffer if the University does not prioritize these concerns.

As always, please reach out to us at [email protected] if you have thoughts on this issue or anything else.

Nemawarkar is a Plan II and government junior from Austin. Shirvaikar is a math and economics junior from Frisco. Anderson is a Plan II and history sophomore from Houston.