Meyer Library to be razed; meeting set for Nov. 28

Ed Souza Meyer library

Meyer Library will make way for a smaller building, and a town hall meeting has been called for faculty, staff and students in the humanities and social sciences to discuss the future of the library’s collections.

A university town hall meeting is scheduled for Nov. 28 to discuss the decision to replace Meyer Library with a smaller building and distribute its East Asia Library collection—more than 520,000 volumes in Chinese, Japanese and Korean—to other buildings on and off campus.

In an Oct. 23 letter announcing the meeting to faculty, staff and students in the humanities and social sciences departments, Michael Keller, university librarian, said a portion of the East Asia Library and some of its staff would relocate to Green Library and displace some of Green's collections.

"Those displaced collections, as well as the majority of the East Asia Library collection, will continue to be available, but will be stored offsite at the Stanford Auxiliary Library 3 in Livermore and available through a paging service," Keller wrote.

Keller said some preliminary analysis has been done to determine the exact portions of the East Asia Library and Green Library collections that will remain on campus.

"We anticipate 20 to 40 percent of the collections may be affected," he wrote. "No firm decisions have been made, pending faculty input."

He said the town hall meeting, scheduled for 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Room 290 of the Law School, will be the beginning of that consultative process.

Throughout the academic year, a subcommittee of the Committee on Libraries will meet with individuals and departments that use materials in the East Asia and Green libraries, Keller said.

Michael Marrinan, professor of art and art history, will chair the subcommittee.

"Throughout the process of consultation, Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources will be refining plans based on the input we and the subcommittee receive," Keller wrote. "Ultimately, the subcommittee will make recommendations to the Committee on Libraries for consideration by the Faculty Senate."

Provost John Etchemendy said the university decided to tear down Meyer and replace it with a smaller building rather than spend the $45 million it would take to bring the 41-year-old structure into compliance with current seismic safety standards.

Emphasizing that planning for the new building is still in the "earliest stages," Etchemendy added that it will be at least five years before Meyer can be demolished. Under preliminary plans, the new building will provide a home for the Academic Computing Center, which is currently located in Meyer, as well as study space for students, he said in an e-mail message.

Etchemendy said Stanford is not building more shelf space for books on campus because of limitations on square footage imposed by Santa Clara County in the university's General Use Permit.

"In effect, for every 75 square feet we build to house books on campus we have to move another person to an off-campus location," Etchemendy wrote. "I would rather move rarely used books and bring them to campus when they're requested than move more staff or faculty off campus."