New master plans for Kendall Hall library

By Ken Johnson
On May 3, 2013

Two of the annex libraries at the University of New Hampshire could be phased out in the near future.
The biological sciences library in Kendall Hall, one of the science annex libraries, is potentially going away as part of UNH's master plan to renovate buildings. The 2012 master plan for UNH shows Kendall Hall as a potential surplus building. Francis Hallahan, library associate at the Kendall Hall library, said that nothing specific has been set yet and that he was made aware of the potential closing last year.
The library is run by the College of Life Science and Agriculture (COLSA) and is paid for by the library system. It is one of four annex libraries on campus, the others being the physics library in DeMerritt Hall; the engineering, mathematics and computer science library in Kingsbury Hall; and the chemistry library in Parsons Hall.
If the library is closed, it will be moved to Dimond Library. The staff will remain on, with offices in Dimond, but the options are limited for the collection. It will have to be weeded through and some will have to go into storage and some will be moved to Dimond Library, said Hallahan.
The library is unique. A large Norfolk pine is growing in a reading and lounge area. Collections of carnivorous plants are set around the library as a living memorial to David Lane, Kendall Hall librarian and associate professor of botany, who owned the collection until he passed away last August. If the library is shut down, the Norfolk pine will go back to the owner and the carnivorous plant collection will be donated to the MacFarlane Greenhouses at UNH.
The Kendall library is centrally located within the COLSA buildings. It is next to James Hall and Nesmith Hall and not far from Spaulding Life Sciences Center and Rudman Hall. Senior Gary Ford is graduating this year but is upset over the potential closure of the Kendall Library.
"The library in Kendall is good and it's nice to have something dedicated to COLSA because all the other sciences do," Ford said.
Hallahan said many COLSA students don't find the library until their junior or senior years. That is when their general education classes are over and they are focusing on their major classes. Books for classes within the biological sciences are kept on reserve within the Kendall Library.
Ford found the Kendall Library his senior year.
"I wish I knew it was there sooner," he said.
Hallahan said the library is less about materials and more about giving students a place to be.
"The library is more of a place, or a sense of place, and not necessarily a place to get materials," Hallahan said.
The library offers a quiet place where students can usually find a seat and the library offers students a plug at every seat.
"Students want a place to be. The MUB is full, their dorms are not conducive to studying and there's not too many classrooms that are just open once the evening comes to an end; the buildings are locked up," Hallahan said.
Ford mostly used the library for homework and found it convenient to be able to look at the books on reserve. He is always able to find a seat to study in the Kendall Library, which he wasn't always able to do when he was using Dimond Library.
"It's helpful to have an annex dedicated to what you are doing," Ford said.
Ford is concerned where COLSA students will go to study since there aren't that many places to quietly study on campus and Dimond is always packed.
"Any decision about the future of the UNH Biological Sciences Library will be up to the Dimond Library, UNH Facilities and perhaps others," Dean of COLSA Jon Wraith said.
Annie Donahue, interim dean of the UNH Library, said that it is doubtful anything would happen over the summer and that they    aren't actively doing anything to close the biological sciences library.
If the library is closed, two options are under review: moving it into Dimond Library or moving part into the engineering, mathematics and computer science library and the rest into Dimond. Donahue said no staff would be let go in the process and that no resources would be lost with either option.
The physics library in DeMeritt Hall could also be closed, as it is being looked at as a possible location for a new 99-seat TEAL (Technology Enabled Active Learning) classroom. TEAL classrooms allow for lectures, simulations and experiments all to occur within one classroom. No decision is expected be made about the physics library over the summer either.

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