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University Libraries Partner with Arts & Sciences on STEM Libraries Reprogramming Initiative

The University Libraries are partnering with Arts & Sciences to reimagine library services in the Chemistry, Physics, and Earth & Planetary Sciences locations.

Years of usage data and user feedback have shown the strong and steady decline of the use of traditional book-intensive services in the fields of chemistry, physics, and Earth and planetary sciences, both at Washington University and at research universities nationwide. Our assessments have shown that the most consistent demand for physical library locations is among undergraduate and graduate students who are seeking a place for study, collaboration, and productivity.

All physical collection materials currently housed in the three libraries will be retained and remain available for circulation in John M. Olin Library. The designated research librarians currently supporting the three library locations will continue to provide research and instructional support.

The STEM Libraries Reprogramming Initiative will help define the libraries’ programming and services that are most relevant to the work of students and faculty in these fields.

Vice Provost and University Librarian Denise Stephens assured patrons that “we remain committed to providing outstanding academic support to Chemistry, Physics, and Earth & Planetary Sciences, and look forward to working with students and colleagues in Arts & Sciences to better align these library spaces with the evolving needs of our students and faculty.”

Working groups representing each affected department’s leadership, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and the subject librarian, supported by the initiative’s steering committee, including the University Libraries planning office, the office of the dean, and other key campus stakeholders, have been established. The groups are slated to begin their work in the next few weeks.

We anticipate working group recommendations to be developed by late fall. We look forward to reporting the outcome of these efforts and making meaningful changes moving forward.