Indiana University to Close Map Library?

Indiana University is proposing to close four of its libraries, the Indiana Daily Student, its student newspaper, reports, and one of them is their map library:

Heiko Muehr, the branch coordinator of the Map and Geography library, said that he was surprised by the proposal because the library is “a very efficient operation.” He said it’s also convenient because it’s located in the Student Building and serves both geography and anthropology students and faculty, as well as several local residents.
“It is the IU library closest to downtown Bloomington and we get more use from Indiana residents than other IU libraries do,” Muehr said. “(We get) farmers looking for plat books, genealogists, historic preservation professionals using our historic Sanborn maps, fishermen looking at Indiana lake maps, you name it.”

Apparently, circulation figures determined which libraries ought to be closed — problematic in reference libraries where materials may not be signed out. (Imagine an overdue Sanborn map.)

Todd Lindley, a grad student in the Department of Geography, said that if records show that the facility is not used as much as others, it’s because the library works differently than others. Students frequently work in the library and do not check out resources. He said the facility is also valuable because of the reading lists it houses. He added that like all campus libraries, it serves as a delivery place for materials from other libraries, so students can request resources from other libraries without having to hike around campus to find the book they want.
“As a graduate student in the geography department, I make use of the geography library nearly every single day,” Lindley said. “Removing the map library — and hence, the maps — will eradicate a very valuable teaching resource from our department and campus. For geographers, removing the map library from the building is like removing a projector from an electronic classroom.”

Via MapHist. See also mapz: a gis librarian’s take.

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