Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Save Wasserman

This space is being created for the community of information professionals and allied community members interested in following the unfolding story about the Paul Wasserman Library (PWL) at the University of Maryland's College of Information Studies (

The Save Wasserman community needs non-University of Maryland virtual space to conduct its conversations because the current intellectual infrastructure at the university is unable to accomodate free and open conversation for the achievement of its own educational mission.

Please feel free, and I mean free, to express yourself here anonymously or not. Censorship is the only thing forbidden in this experimental virtual space. Advocacy in the information profession needs to undergo a revolution equal to the cultural changes in the society in which it operates and strives to serve. The Internet world brings structural changes that require new learning opportunities, and the Save Wasserman blog is one way to begin that work.


Blogger Concerned Alumni said...

Thank you for informing the larger alumni community of this disturbing decision. I am indeed concerned that this valuable resource is being closed for reasons that remain shrouded in secrecy. The CLIS library has been a crucial part of many MLS students' learning experiences and closing it shows a complete lack of concern for the students who pay most of the college's bills. Nowhere on campus will future students be able to duplicate the service provided by having their own dedicated library. This raises other questions as well; for instance, I know the college has been threatened in the past with a merger with other academic units--is this possibly the first major step toward that goal?

7:07 PM  
Blogger surly student said...

As a curent CLIS student I find it sad and ironic that the place where I have come to be trained as an information professional finds its own library of such little value that it is shutting it down.

Besides the fact that closing the library will remove one of the most valuable resources available to CLIS students,
this act is especially offensive because it is a blow to our profession from the very people who are supposed to be championing it.

Wasserman library is a hub of learning, sharing and community building in our is THE heart of CLIS. By closing it(without regards for the opinions of any of the other members of this learning community) the the administration is making a clear statement about how they feel about the students and faculty of CLIS.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Dan Shiffner said...

"I am here to address why the convenience of one area code in _your town_ has been replaced by the convenience of two area codes..."

As a CLIS alum, I must say that I do see certain advantages of moving the CLIS collection into McKeldin. It is a reasonable complaint that CLIS students will not be provided the same level of service as they were in Wasserman with the convenience of a small collection in a small space and librarians who knew the entirety of that collection. However, as future information professionals, many of us will be forced to navigate large, unwieldy collections and cull specific information out of them.

McKeldin has done a very good job in the past of cultivating librarians who have expertise in subject areas and with that expertise can provide a level of service similar to that which is found in a small special collection like Wasserman. I see no reason why Karen Patterson and Tim Hackman cannot adapt to the McKeldin environment and provide the same exceptional level of service in McKeldin that they provided at Wasserman. They are both very talented individuals.

Of course McKeldin is larger, more amorphous and farther away from CLIS classrooms. And CLIS will lose a certain sense of community without Wasserman as a confined space where we all bump into each other and can meet to study.

I have yet to see one person who recognizes the most obvious advantages of McKeldin: later hours, different kinds of study spaces, a cafe (did they ever really open that thing?), and access to a large, complex body of knowledge similar to the kind of large complex body of knowledge we might have to gain intellectual control over as information professionals.

5:49 PM  
Blogger surly student said...

Dan- just to let you know there will only be one librarian for CLIS at McKeldin- Karen, Tim's future after the close is still undecided by the administration.

6:20 PM  
Blogger JIJ said...

I agree that moving the library collection to McKeldin may have benefits, and you're right in saying that the benefits really haven't been addressed. However, I think greater issues at the moment are including more people in the discussion about the future of Wasserman, learning what the plans are for the Wasserman space, and figuring out if any decisions about Wasserman's future can be changed or if they're set in stone.

8:09 AM  
Blogger MarciaSimonetta said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

I graduated from CLIS in 1983 and have fond memories of the CLIS library. I remember it being noisy, unlike the other libraries on campus and a welcoming environment. I am saddened to see it folded into McKeldin, although MLS students are used to using both McKeldin and Hornbake, besides the Wasserman library.

If ALL of the college libraries on campus are being merged with McKeldin and/or Hornbake, then I have no problem with this move. However, if the CLIS library has been singled out, then I think this needs to be re-thought.

9:51 AM  

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