The University of Texas’ provost has committed more than $600,000 to fund improvements to the Fine Arts Library, the university announced this week.
The improvements, outlined in a memo from College of Fine Arts Dean Douglas Dempster, come in response to the public uproar that began last fall when students, faculty and alumni protested the removal of 60% of the Fine Arts Library’s materials to create classrooms for the college’s new School of Design and Creative Technologies.
The library’s entire fourth floor was converted from shelving to classrooms and more than half of the library’s circulating materials were sent to off-site storage. Library users complained of up to 18 day-long retrieval times for off-site items.
Earlier this year the provost allocated $260,000 to cover staffing needed to improve retrieval times, with $160,000 of that a permanent allocation. The goal is to reduce retrieval times to one business day, the dean’s memo says.
And $350,000 has been allocated for physical improvements to the fifth floor, the library’s remaining space dedicated to housing collection materials. More shelving will added to expand the quantity of materials housed on-site, and old tables and chairs will be replaced with more easily-configurable furniture and study carrels.
Also, library staff offices on the fifth floor will be repurposed with staff members relocated. More power-outlets will be added and Wi-Fi coverage on the fifth floor improved as well.
Dempster said in the memo that refurbishment work will happen over the summer.
Read previous coverage on UT’s Fine Arts Library: sightlinesmag.org/tag/ut-fine-arts-library