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News and Highlights

From the Chemistry Department

News from the Mallet Library

Libraries everywhere are evolving, and Mallet is no exception.

As part of the ongoing partnership between the University Libraries and the College of Natural Sciences, the former WEL Computer Lab was closed at the end of the spring semester in 2015, and 20 of its workstations were moved across the hall into the Chemistry Library during the summer.  The College generously funded the new furniture and necessary electrical and network upgrades to make this happen.  The library now boasts 32 workstations, one of the largest such installations outside of PCL, the main library.  They are used every day by students and also offer scientific software such as ChemDraw, Logger Pro, Mathematica, and MATLAB.  Between September 2015 and March 2016 students logged in nearly 20,000 times – ample proof that laptops have not yet taken over everyone’s computing lives.  (Although students are frequently seen using a laptop, a library workstation, and a handheld device, with headphones, simultaneously!) 


The shift from print to digital information is also moving ahead.  In 2015 the UT System Digital Library acquired the ScienceDirect (Elsevier) journal archive collection for chemical engineering, and the digital archive of the ACS Symposium Series and Advances in Chemistry Series from the American Chemical Society.  In 2016 we are adding the archive of Chemical & Engineering News.  We hope that funding for further electronic archive purchases will be available in coming years.  While these purchases duplicate what the library already holds in print, they will enable us to move more physical collections to offsite storage facilities and free up space for more people-focused purposes – a trend that is rapidly accelerating across all academic libraries. 

Another trend, albeit one that is not universally embraced, is the shift from buying print books to e-books.  In 2015 the UT science libraries switched to an “e-preferred” model for book acquisitions and saw a corresponding reduction in the number of print books purchased for the collection.

As planning proceeds for the long-awaited renovation of the 1978 wing of Welch Hall, we are also planning for the future of the Mallet Library, which is part of that wing.  That future likely includes the removal of the remaining print journal stacks and many less-used monographs.  We will work with the Department and College to define how the space can be redesigned to best support research and teaching in the 21st century. 

One thing that will never change is our need for the ongoing support of alumni who generously donate to the library’s endowments.  These funds are critical to maintaining our excellence in the realm of chemical information, regardless of format.  Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Skinner or Boggs funds via the Support Your Libraries site.

- David Flaxbart


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