Bio sciences library in Kendall to be shut down

By Ken Johnson
On April 11, 2014

At the end of this semester, there will be one less annex library to visit on campus. 

The biological sciences library in Kendall Hall will be closing on May 30. It will be absorbed into Dimond Library, which will have a science resource center installed, when students return in the fall. 

The biological sciences library, which is one of the four science annex libraries on campus, was being considered for closure last spring, along with the physics library in DeMeritt Hall. The other science annex libraries are: the physics library; the engineering, mathematics and computer science library in Kingsbury Hall; and the chemistry library in Parsons Hall.

The biological science library being absorbed into Dimond Library isn't the only change that will be occurring over the summer. 

Dimond itself will be almost completely reorganized. The third floor, which holds the main entrance to the library, will remain untouched, according to Valerie Harper, IT librarian and project manager. The collection will be reversed from its current order. 

Right now the fifth floor holds sections M through Z and the fourth floor holds A through L. The bound periodicals are located on the second floor. The Parker Media Lab and Multimedia Center, located on the second floor, will remain untouched, at least through the summer, Harper said.

After the reorganization, the fifth floor of the library will start with section A and will go down to the fourth floor, which will end with section P. Sections Q through Z will be located on the second floor. Bound periodicals will be integrated into the standard collection, so all print materials on a subject will be in the same area. 

As part of the planning for the new design in Dimond, Rob Wolff, web developer for Dimond, utilized a concept for testing web pages. He mounted a GoCam on three volunteers and did usability testing on the library itself, Harper said. They recorded the test subjects' movement through the stacks, and had them say their thought processes out loud, while performing tasks given to them to determine how to make using the stacks easier.

"It was invaluable in giving us some good feedback on where some of our problems lie in terms of signage, and maps, and getting people to move around," Harper said.

The reorganization within Dimond Library will happen over the summer. In July, resources within Dimond will become a "paged collection," which means that if a resource is needed, the borrower will need to ask a staff member at the front desk to bring it to them in order to keep patrons of the library safe during the reorganization process, Annie Donahue, interim dean of the UNH Library, said. The exact date that Dimond will become a "paged collection" has not yet been established but announcements will be made.

The reorganization involves several different parties working together, including both the biological library and the Dimond Library, UNH Facilities and BiblioTech, a private company that is handling the actual move, Harper said.

The move involves weeding out some materials.

"Journals are one area we have weeded pretty heavily in because we can get electronic variants of that or digital copies of it," Harper said. A good number of journals have been replaced electronically, and back files of the journals have been purchased.

For books, the weeding process starts with materials that have not been used since acquisition. 

"If a library book has not been taken out since that date and we can find it in other libraries, we can find local libraries that have copies of that material, we don't feel as compelled to keep it," Harper said. "Some of the material may be out of date, it may be material we would like to have for historic reasons but know we can get through somebody else."

The amount of material that will be weeded out is unknown at the current time, Donahue said. "A lot of that weeding will probably fall in the journal collections where we have purchased electronic back files of those journals so that students, faculty and staff have access to that material 24/7," Donahue said.

Some of the furnishings, the computers, and material that will be kept will be moved to the second floor of Dimond. One goal of the project is to maintain the number of study areas available between the two libraries or, if possible, to add more room.

A librarian and staff member will be available in the new resource center for students and faculty, Harper said. 

The reorganization process is expected to be completed by August 1, with a backdate of August 15, after which the library will reopen in full to the public. 

"We start the fall semester fresh," Donahue said.

After the move, the project will move into phase two. This phase includes the identification of more services that can be offered through the science resource center, like classes or workshops. 

Kendall Hall was considered for a full renovation, but the estimated cost was too high, Larry Van Dessel, executive director of facilities services for UNH, said. 

"We are looking at Kendall to see if it can be marginally improved to serve as swing space for other renovations on campus," Van Dessel said. "The first swing space need will be when we are ready to start the Hamilton Smith Hall renovation. The Kendall library space is seen as a good location for replacement classrooms and we are working on some other ideas on moving entities out of Kendall, which might also aid us in that support/swing space role."

The physics library is staying in DeMeritt Hall at the moment.

Donahue said that the final recommendation for the physics library was that possible future integration will be considered.

"First we would focus on Kendall and we would establish an integrated science resource center on level two and then talk with faculty and students about the kinds of services that we could offer from that integrated center and at that point in time look at DeMeritt again as a potential for the integration," Donahue said.

This would not happen until around 2016.

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