News and Highlights

From the Chemistry Department

Chemistry Library Moves Out for Welch Hall Renovation

malletmove2 480Question:  How do you move a library collection of over 70,000 volumes?  Answer:  With lots of careful planning and lots of muscle power. 

The Mallet Chemistry Library, founded by UT’s first chemistry professor and faculty chairman John Mallet in 1883, has occupied its current space in Welch Hall since a 1978 building expansion.  The 1978 (south) wing is currently beginning a three-year renovation project that will be completed in 2020.  In the meantime, the Mallet Library had to vacate its quarters to make way for the construction process.

The library facility contained over 11,000 linear feet of shelf space, holding the aforementioned 70,000 volumes – split about evenly between heavy bound journals and books of every shape and size.  The first necessity was identifying a destination for these materials that would allow their continued use.  Monographs and reference materials were transferred to a section of stacks on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL).  Meanwhile, the journals moved into temporary storage in the Collections Deposit Library, a storage facility at the corner of Red River and MLK.  A large contract moving crew carried out the actual move via carts and trucks, over six days between May 25 and June 2.

Students and researchers needing to use books from the Chemistry Collection can visit PCL in person or place delivery requests via the Library Catalog.  As always, they can also request scans of articles from our print journals wherever they may be. 

In early 2020 we plan to return the Mallet Library to its space in the new Welch Hall, although the collection that comes back will be smaller than the one that left this summer.  The trend in modern academic libraries is to use more of our valuable real estate for people to visit, learn, collaborate, and be productive, rather than to store paper materials.  The maturity of the electronic journal format in STEM fields, and the growing presence of e-books, make this change possible.  However, it’s a myth that everything the library owns is available online somewhere – that may never be the case.  So the library will continue its mission to steward and preserve our irreplaceable collection for many years to come.

Anyone in the campus community can still contact the Chemistry Library virtually, via email or phone (512-495-4600).  

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