ASU professors: Journals disappearing from shelves of Hayden Library

Hayden Library is gradually moving journals online, but Professors are finding it hard to access the periodicals.

Hayden Library is gradually moving journals online, but professors are finding it hard to access the periodicals. The library is coming under scrutiny from professors and students for the lack of accessible material. (Photo by Murphy Bannerman)

Hayden Library is coming under scrutiny from professors and
students for the lack of accessible material, mainly journals, to open up space for study areas.

 

Journals and other materials are slowly being placed into storage and more material is being placed online or in other digital formats for ease of access to students who wish to search for journals online. This causes a problem for professors and students when the material they are looking for can’t be found online.

 

Spanish professor Emil Volek said he began noticing the disappearance of materials a few years ago.

 

“I noticed some years ago journals were being taken to storage,” he said. “Taking out these books is not very good, because many times when you go in the stacks, you find things you hadn’t thought about.”

 

Volek’s frustration with the removal of materials is also being felt by his students.

 

Graduate student and Spanish teacher Katie Brown said the lack of materials in the library will deter future generations of students from even attempting to access the materials they need at the library.

 

“As a teacher, subsequent generations of students will value less the use of the library,” she said. “I appreciate having study spaces but not at the loss of materials.”

 

The Center for Measuring University Performance has ASU listed as a top tier research institution, but Brown said she thinks this ranking may not continue without the best materials.

 

“Humanities research means having libraries,” she said. “How are we going to be a top-tier university without the best libraries?”

 

Brown said she has a simple solution to the space issues needed for study areas, and it doesn’t require the removal of materials.

 

“Quit taking stuff out of the library.” she said. “If they want more technology, use the computing areas and as for study areas: create them around campus, not just in the library.”

 

Bioengineering professor Antonio Garcia said he thinks money is the main issue when it comes to space and materials in the libraries.

 

“We are finding it more expensive to have physical copies of materials including the journals,” he said.

 

The issue of money may result in the digitization of materials, Garcia said.

 

“The University needs to decide which journals are necessary to have physically and sooner or later will be digitizing these materials for broader access,” he said. “We need money and vision for this to happen, but there needs to be a cooperation.”

 

Areas outside of humanities have also found the lack of materials difficult for research, Volek said.

 

“It’s becoming more difficult to do research not only in humanities but all historical studies,” he said. “Taking away things makes the library less useful.”

 

University officials and Hayden Library representatives declined to comment on the situation until an official meeting regarding the issue takes place on Jan. 6.

 

Reach the reporter at jshanco@asu.edu or on Twitter @Joey_Hancock