Today is the day. As of 5pm, the Chemistry Library will cease operations as a circulation location on campus. While the Library is only closing its doors temporarily, circulation services will not be returning to the space. Chemistry Library patrons will need to choose other campus library locations to pick up and return materials and use course reserve items. The majority of our collection will make its way out of the space over the next six months.
The Chemistry Department has maintained a library in their building since 1905, and while our plans for the Chemistry Information Commons may not look like a traditional library, it will still serve as a space for meeting faculty, staff, and student informational needs. A small reference collection will return to the new space in 2019, and I will remain in the building during and after construction. Soon it will be time to get excited about the new building and all the opportunities for growth that come with it.
Today, however, still feels a little bittersweet. Walking into the Chemistry Library, one immediately notices the familiar scent of books – that wonderful library smell. Students enjoy sitting in the space, studying, and feeling surrounded by the knowledge contained in those many volumes. It is a simple but comfortable space, and it will disappear forever when construction begins in late 2017. Even though construction will not begin for almost a year, the library has to stop circulating materials now in order to fully inventory and move the collection in a timely manner. The space may still physically exist for a while yet, but it just won’t feel quite the same as books begin to move out.
The creation of an Information Commons will provide the means to grow our chemical information services in a way the current library never can, but there will be many things I am going to miss. I will miss working with our terrific student assistants. I will miss the simple act of checking out a book to an eager patron. I will miss opening up that big ugly orange book return outside to see what books made it back home.
Mostly though, I will miss the smell.