The University of Florida’s Smathers Libraries system might close its journalism and music libraries, the Gainesville Sun reported. Dean of University Libraries Judith Russell discussed the proposal Monday at a town hall, prior to Friday’s deadline for a final plan.
The potential closures are part of UF’s plan to cut 5 percent of the libraries’ budget, or nearly $1.4 million. (UF as a whole is cutting $38.2 million because of reduced state funding, according to the Sun, including the entire computer science department.)
The library closures are expected to save about $202,000, provided they happen by fall. The collections might move to Library West, the humanities and social sciences library, and some might go into storage.
Reasons Russell gave for choosing the journalism and music libraries include that they are the smallest of the branch libraries, so they have the highest relative costs, and have the most limited hours, so moving their collections would improve access.
The journalism library is currently closed for renovations. The College of Fine Arts had previously considered closing the music library to provide more studio space to meet accreditation requirements, but funds to convert the space to studio use won’t be immediately available.
The proposal also includes cutting spending on journals and monographs and leaving open positions unfilled. It would also eliminate six staff positions, including four at the closed libraries, but Russell said the library system would try to move those workers into other jobs before resorting to layoffs.