Announcement about the Physical Sciences Library


Announcement about the Physical Sciences Library

The Physical Sciences Library in Clark Hall, one of Cornell University Library’s 20 unit libraries, will close at the end of 2009. Although the physical facility is shutting its doors, the library’s presence will remain as a portal for scholarly resources, a virtual collection and a service through research specialists.

“Although closing facilities is never a desired step, we are committed to maintaining a strong presence in the physical sciences and making sure that the community’s research, teaching and learning needs are fully met,” said Anne R. Kenney, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian.

The vast majority of the journal collection in the Physical Sciences Library is already available electronically. The Library will work to extend online access to critical resources through enhanced electronic subscriptions and book digitization. Library subject specialists will continue to offer research and instruction services, as well as support for electronic resources. Heavily used physical collections will be stored on campus in adjacent libraries, with lesser used materials sent to the annex but readily retrievable.

The current budget climate necessitated the decision, which was made with the concurrence of the deans of the affected colleges and supported by Provost Kent Fuchs. Deans of Arts and Sciences and Engineering have already discussed the decision with the chairs of their affected departments. Many factors – including circulation figures, number of visitors and reference questions, and the wide availability of online access to resources in the physical sciences – contributed to the decision.

Kenney notes that “keeping pace with the escalating costs of journals while maintaining services at 20 different physical locations is no longer a sustainable strategy. The Library is shifting its focus to essential online research tools for users in the hard sciences, and electronic resources such as demonstrate our dedication to their fields of study.”

The Library is committed to soliciting advice and recommendations from its core users. Library staff are forming a committee that will include faculty, students and staff to develop a transition strategy, and study spaces, access to print collections and other needs will be investigated by the committee.

Anyone with suggestions or concerns is invited to contact Associate University Librarian Janet McCue at

“We will flex, reach out in many directions, and think well beyond the traditional branch library model as we reshape this library, its collections and services to support the evolving research environment for the 21st century,” said Leah Solla, coordinator of the Physical Sciences Library.