Library officials have declared that recent reports in York Vision that arts and humanities departments were not consulted regarding refurbishment of the Burton Reading Room are “not accurate”. They have declared that purported wait times for books moved to storage were greatly exaggerated, and that departments were able to express their input from the beginning of the process.
Hannah Pinsett, postgraduate representative for the Arts and Humanities faculty, recently complained that library consultation with those departments was “non-existent”. An article in York Vision further highlighted that “several key-reference only books” had been moved into storage, and accessing them could “take up to a day”.
However, the Library’s response asserted that though “the consultation period was necessarily short”, so that work could be completed before the summer term, “departments were able to comment and took this opportunity”. They then ammended their plans “to accommodate the views of academic staff and postgraduate students – for example, moving microforms, rather than books”.
The Library also pointed out that 65 per cent of the Burton Library’s books have already been removed from storage, including “all items which were marked as essential by departments”. The remaining books have been moved to Compact Store 2, which can be accessed at any time. Journals and selected microform collections can be accessed either by request, or electronically via YorSearch.
Allegations that renovations broke the terms of the Raymond Burton Library gift have also been rebuked. The Library observed that “there were no terms to the gift, but we believe that we have maintained the spirit in which the gift was given, which was to support research and study in the humanities”.
The renovations have ultimately added 59 seats to the library, making the Reading Room 50 per cent larger. Extending its opening hours to 24/7 has also increased student and staff access to the resources held in the Reading Room.