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The UW-Madison Libraries have embarked on a major effort to transform campus libraries to better meet the changing needs of the campus community. In May 2019, the Physics, Astronomy, and Math libraries will begin the first phase of a consolidation project, which will take May 2019 through 2020. This is a closely coordinated effort with the Physics, Astronomy, and Math departments, as well as the College of Letters & Science. When complete, there will be a combined Astronomy, Mathematics, and Physics Library.

“This is an outstanding opportunity to reimagine our library spaces and services in collaboration with faculty, staff, and students in three departments on campus,” said Deborah Helman, Director of Science and Engineering Libraries at UW-Madison. “This is one of several projects the Libraries are working on across campus to enhance and advance the important work and research of our faculty, staff, and students, both immediately, and into the future.”

Recently, some changes to the anticipated schedule have been made. The Department of Mathematics is seeking external funds to create a Mathematics Institute in the current Math Library space. Advancing the consolidation timeline provides additional construction time for this opportunity for the Department of Mathematics.

Math Library

The Libraries are dedicated to maintaining a staff presence and continuing to provide robust library services. We believe this is an opportunity to update one of our libraries that serves the heart of campus (the current Physics Library) and will provide more information on the timeline as additional detailed planning occurs. As we move forward, we want to ensure those using these libraries are informed of the changes and have information on how to continue to access library services, resources, materials, and staff throughout the transformation.

We encourage you to visit the Libraries’ website for information about this transition including an FAQ page, and as well as view updates on the Physics, Astronomy, and Math libraries’ websites.

Please closely review the updated timeline below.

Why the Transformation?

Astronomy Library

The UW-Madison Libraries have embarked on a major effort to transform campus libraries to better meet the changing needs of the campus community. This is a closely coordinated effort with the Physics, Astronomy, and Math departments, as well as the College of Letters & Science. As we move forward, we want to ensure those using these libraries are informed of the changes and have information on how to continue to access library services, resources, materials, and staff throughout the transformation.

Here’s an updated overview of the project timeline:

Summer 2019

Libraries open: Astronomy

  • Astronomy will be open for the summer and will remain open through May 2020.
  • Physics Library closes May 18, 2019 through the fall.
  • Math Library closes temporarily May 18, 2019. Reopens on August 26, 2019 for the fall semester.
  • Math Library closes permanently December 23, 2019.
  • Collections work will be done while spaces are closed. We expect collections to remain requestable.

Fall 2019

Libraries open: Astronomy, Math

  • Math Library reopens on August 26, 2019 for the fall semester.
  • Math Library closes permanently December 23, 2019.
  • Collections work will be done while spaces are closed. We expect collections to remain requestable.

Spring 2020

Libraries open: Astronomy Library, NEW: Astronomy, Mathematics and Physics Library

  • Astronomy, Mathematics and Physics Library, the combined library, re-opens in January 2020 in the current Physics Library space.
  • Astronomy Library closes permanently May 2020.

FAQ

WHERE WILL MATERIALS FROM PHYSICS, ASTRONOMY, AND MATH GO DURING THE TRANSITION? Many materials from the three libraries will be placed in the merged location, while some will be transferred to alternative shelving based on the frequency of use, and or electronically available. Close coordination with the departments continues to take place to determine whether materials remain in the new library space, or are sent to alternative shelving.

WHY THE NEED FOR CHANGE? This transition of the Physics, Astronomy, and Math library spaces are part of the Libraries’ overall consolidation efforts across campus. It is a closely coordinated effort with the Physics, Astronomy, and Math departments, as well as College of Letters & Science. This activity will provide departments with the opportunity to reimagine and update the spaces where the Astronomy and Math Libraries are currently located in order to create spaces that meet new student and faculty needs. The Math Department is in the process of applying for NSF funding to start a new math institute centered in the current Math Library space. Alternatively, the Math Library will be converted to offices and collaborative research spaces to meet the needs of the department’s ongoing expansion. The Libraries will still provide important library resources, services, and materials to patrons. More specific details on the visions for these spaces will be shared in collaboration with the departments.

WHERE WILL INFORMATION BE SHARED ABOUT THE TRANSITION, MATERIALS ACCESSIBILITY, ETC.? Updates will be made regularly on the Libraries’ website Rethinking Libraries page, the Physics, Astronomy, and Math websites until after collection work is complete, on the Libraries news page, through departmental emails, social media channels, and coordinated through campus news (when appropriate).