Blommer Science Library’s future will be reevaluated by a committee of Georgetown University faculty, undergraduates and graduate students after the library’s relocation was put on hold over the summer, a reversal from previous plans to permanently close the library last spring.
Last April, the university informed students and faculty that Blommer would permanently close and its materials would be relocated to Lauinger Library due to necessary renovations to the Reiss Science Building. The renovation was prompted by facilities issues including flooding and mold that have repeatedly damaged the books and journals stored in Blommer. Following the announcement about Blommer’s closure, students started a petition to the administration to keep the library open.
The university plans to establish a new committee to draft a set of recommendations concerning the future utilization of the library space, according to Kathryn Olesko, chair of the Main Campus Executive Committee and professor in the Science, Technology and International Affairs department in the School of Foreign Service.
“For the moment, the decision to close Blommer is rescinded until the needs of students and science and science-related faculty in the College, SFS (STIA) and SNHS can be taken into account in order to best meet their needs in Blommer and Lauinger,” Olesko wrote in an email to The Hoya.
In response to feedback relating to the potential closure, the provost and the Main Campus Executive Faculty Steering Committee will create the Blommer Library Faculty Review Committee. The review committee, comprised of faculty, undergraduates and graduate students, will examine the future of services, collections and study spaces in the library.
The process of drafting the recommendations is expected to last several months, according to Olesko.
“The MCEF-Provostial Blommer Library Review Committee will complete its work during the fall semester, or at the latest, early January,” Olesko wrote. “At that time it will send its report to both the Provost and the Main Campus Executive Faculty Steering Committee for review.”
As reflected by the petition, many students expressed concerns they would lose access to the valuable resources Blommer’s collection offers following the closure, such as access to many science course textbooks that can pose a financial burden for students, according to Yixuan Zhao (COL ’22).
“For my hard science classes, I always check Blommer before buying the textbooks. A lot of the time they’ll have them and it saves me hundreds of dollars,” Zhao said in an interview with The Hoya.
The majority of the library’s collections were planned to be relocated to Lau, while the few that were to be stored off campus at the Washington Research Library Consortium’s Shared Collections Facility would have been made available via HoyaSearch, the library’s search engine. Currently, there are science research materials in both Blommer and Lau and the move was also intended to consolidate the materials in one location.
Students also raised concerns about Blommer’s closure, as it is the only library in close proximity to Reiss, providing a convenient study space for students between classes and those residing in Darnall Hall, Henle Village and Arrupe Hall.
While there is no announced date for when the relocation will take place, students can expect Blommer to be relocated to Lau sometime next year, according to Rebecca Hollister (COL ’21).
“As far as I know Blommer materials are going to be relocated in June of 2020,” Hollister wrote in an email to The Hoya. “So there are still two semesters of Blommer access! Right now we’re operating as normal.”
Blommer, which houses more than 60,000 books and journals and provides extensive research opportunities for students looking for resources relating to STEM subjects, will remain open without interruption to its regular hours while the Blommer Review Committee drafts its recommendations concerning the future of the library.
“No changes will be made to the current operations and services in the Blommer Science Library,” the library said in a news release.