The Blommer Science Library will close permanently and its materials will be relocated to Lauinger Library within the next six to 12 months, the dean of the Georgetown University Library announced in an email to faculty April 8.
The transfer of materials from Blommer to Lau is in preparation for the planned renovation of the Reiss Science Building, according to Katherine Thomas, the library’s communications and marketing coordinator.
“Planning and Facilities Management will address maintenance needs and renovate the Reiss Science Building, so Blommer Science Library materials and services will be permanently relocated to Lauinger Library by June 2020,” Thomas wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Blommer has suffered from flooding and damaged materials, largely attributable to the building’s poor condition, according to Blommer student worker Rebecca Hollister (COL ’21). Plans to renovate Reiss have existed since at least 2013, when university officials discussed the future of the building at an Old Georgetown Board meeting.
Blommer, named after alumnus Henry Blommer (C ’26), contains 66,000 books and bound periodicals, which make up the majority of Georgetown’s science reserves, according to the library. Located in Reiss, the library opened in 1962 as the second university library, following Riggs Library.
Details of the planned relocation are still being developed, Harriette Hemmasi, dean of the library, wrote in the email sent to faculty.
“We will share more information about this as it becomes available, but please know that the Library’s highest priority is providing excellent resources and services to the University community,” Hemmasi wrote. “The intent of this plan is not to reduce either of these, but to streamline our efforts to provide a high-quality research environment.”
The university is still determining which collections will remain on campus in Lau and which will be stored off campus at the Washington Research Library Consortium’s Shared Collections Facility. The library plans to field input from several faculty members and university representatives during the upcoming months to determine which materials to keep on campus, Thomas wrote. The library will also host an open forum early this fall to address concerns, according to Hemmasi.
Although the relocation should not cause any significant disruption to the student population as a whole, concerns remain regarding its effect on the students who frequently use Blommer, according to Hollister.
“Often there will be Blommer ‘regulars’ who I see in the library daily, so they will certainly be the most impacted,” Hollister wrote in an email to The Hoya. “However, I think that the impact on the community at large will be relatively small.”
While the number of students using Blommer may be limited, it provides important resources to students, according to Hollister. The library’s reference librarians are available for students with science related inquiries, and Blommer has hosted science creativity projects, such as a haiku competition.
While students may be unable to access library materials during the transition period, the library plans to ensure as few students are hindered by the transfer as possible, according to Thomas.
“During the transfer of items, certain materials may be unavailable for a brief period of time. The Library is working to schedule this transfer carefully to ensure minimal disruption,” Thomas wrote. “This project is still in the development stage, and additional communication will be forthcoming as more information about the impact of this transition is available.”
While some have expressed concerns over the availability of these STEM resources, they will still be accessible via request in HoyaSearch, the library’s search engine, according to Thomas.
Student workers were told that the relocation of materials from Blommer to Lau intends to increase efficiency, according to Hollister. As scientific materials are currently located at both libraries, the transfer aims to facilitate and centralize the process of acquiring research materials.
“We were told that this process would eventually help streamline research processes, not reduce any amount of materials available,” Hollister wrote.