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STEM Library Merge FAQ

Beginning in 2018, the White Memorial Chemistry Library and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library (EPSL) will merge to form the STEM Library. The consolidation of services, collections, and spaces is currently underway. This page provides answers to some questions library users may have about the merger.

The White Memorial Chemistry Library is merging with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library so that the space it occupies can be converted to offices and research space for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

With campus space at a premium, the Provost, the Dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, and the Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry elected to support the department’s pressing need to accommodate its growing faculty. The Chemistry Library space was elected to meet this need.
The University Libraries will comply with the campus request to vacate the space by January 2018. Work has already begun to consolidate collections and merge services.

Beginning in summer 2017, reserve materials housed at the Chemistry Library were relocated to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library. Course reserves and item holds at the Chemistry Library were also merged with EPSL over the summer. Overall, Chemistry Library collections, staff, and services will be merged with EPSL by the end of December 2017, after final exams.
The decision to merge the two branches aligns with University Libraries overall goal to transform traditional libraries to meet the changing needs of students and faculty. It provides an opportunity to assess and improve services, spaces, and collections.
Many scientists rely on electronic resources, which can be accessed anytime and anywhere. In some ways this makes STEM disciplines particularly suitable for consolidation and new service models. Approximately 90% of the UMD Libraries collections budget is directed to electronic resources.

Print materials, however, do remain important in certain STEM disciplines. Our goal is to consolidate the collection as much as possible in one location. We will take into account the needs of the particular disciplines and the challenges of interdisciplinary research, which sometimes blur traditional subject-specific delineations. Certain materials, valuable but less frequently used, will be moved to Severn Library, our off-campus facility. We have already begun consulting with faculty in the Chemistry Department to make decisions about the print collection.
All staff members will move to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library, for the first time housing all STEM librarians at the same location. Each will have his or her own subject responsibility, but will be trained to provide back-up support for all STEM disciplines.
All STEM librarians will be in the same location, creating a synergy and concentration of expertise that will be helpful in research and problem-solving. The specialist for GIS and geospatial data, headquartered in McKeldin Library, will also work with the science librarians there in a new satellite office.

Faculty can expect faster online delivery of articles as a result of efficiencies realized by adopting workflows already in place at EPSL and McKeldin Library. Printed materials will continue to be delivered to campus offices.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Library is an active part of the Research Commons, a unit of the University Libraries that compiles high-level research under one umbrella, expanding the boundaries of a traditional library. Services now a part of the Research Commons will continue in the merged space, where, for example, research projects are displayed on screens and a STEAM Salon series showcases current research of students and faculty. A 3D printer will relocate to a nicer, more visible space allowing more collaboration.
The Chemistry Library has 202 student seats. Library users will be accommodated at the nearby Engineering and Physical Sciences Library, where recent first-floor renovations offer prime opportunities for study and collaboration. In the past few years, EPSL has added 80 seats. During summer 2017, EPSL added space to significantly increase student seating in the branch. Overall, with the addition of a Reading Room in McKeldin Library and additional Research Commons seating, the total number of seats in libraries across campus has increased in the past several years.
The new, combined library will be renamed the STEM Library, which better represents the disciplines served after the two libraries merge.

Additional Resources

Resources Development Policy for Chemistry and Biochemistry

Guide for Serials Review