Senate House library in peril

May 28, 2009

Your article "Treasure troves" (7 May) was a justified celebration of the valuable and interesting library holdings of many British universities. For many in London it will have raised only hollow laughter.

The University of London council has now voted for a package of deep and serious cuts for the Senate House Library. It is hard to imagine that anything is now possible other than severely reduced access, more redundancies, presumably, and who knows what else. Just as serious is the consequent uncertainty for a raft of nationally significant institutes caught up in the mess, including the Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of Classical Studies.

There are all sorts of politics flying about and all sorts of proposals have now come and gone. Irrespective of any of their merits, the University of London now seems to have reached the stage when one of its major libraries stands finally right on the brink. And, this time at least, it seems set to happen with almost no public discussion.

John Sabapathy, PhD student, University College London.

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