Journalism library squeezes into basement

Friday, April 1, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:26 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

With a heavy sigh, Cindy Dudenhoffer walked past rows of empty bookshelves in the MU Journalism Library.

Dudenhoffer and Sue Schuermann, information specialists for the library, have been preparing to move the Frank Lee Martin Memorial Library north to its temporary location in the nearby Neff Annex basement.

The library’s Web site says the annex will be used from May 2005 to August 2007, while the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute is constructed.

The basement is much smaller than the library’s current place in Walter Williams Hall. The staff must remove 13,000 books — about a third of the holdings — in order to fit the collection into the smaller space, Dudenhoffer said.

The librarians have until May 18 to finish downsizing the collection and move out before renovations on the building are started this summer.

“We are changing from a seating capacity of 80 to eight,” Schuermann said. “It’s a lot of work.”

The staff said they have a two-phase system for determining what books will be removed. The first books removed are ones that are duplicated somewhere else in the library system.

Next, the librarians went through the collection shelf-by-shelf, evaluating how old each book is and how often it is used.

Jim Cogswell, the director of libraries at MU, said access to information would not be sacrificed during the move. Only duplicate or outdated copies of books will be permanently removed.

“We are not losing access to any information in these books,” Cogswell said. “Many books will be held in storage at the depository.”

Books at the depository will still be accessible to students; they just won’t be on location for a few years, Dudenhoffer said.

The books permanently removed will either be sold at Ellis Library’s duplicate sales department or donated to a new journalism school at the Moscow State University in Russia, Schuermann said.

MU journalism associate professor Fritz Cropp is picking over the books to help the Moscow University establish its own journalism library, Schuermann said.

“We have a Moscow state grant to help redesign their journalism program,” said Anita Ryan, administrative assistant in the MU International Programs Department.

People will not be able to retrieve their own books from the Neff Annex location. Patrons must have the staff retrieve their books because of the condition and location of the bookshelves, Dudenhoffer said.

Both library specialists said the move would make things more difficult, but said the inconvenience would be worth it after they move to the Reynolds Institute in August 2007.

“It will be great when we finally get it done,” Schuermann said.

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