Save the University of Maryland Architecture Library!

  • by: Adam Chamy
  • recipient: Patricia A. Steele, Dean of Libraries

The Architecture library is threatened with imminent closure before the start of the Fall semester without having consulted concerned students, alumni, and faculty. The architecture library serves as a valuable resource for the unique needs of the students at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation as well as the student body at large.

The space serves as an important refuge of quiet study and an unparalleled resource with its knowledgeable and accessible staff. More importantly, the library’s intimate size encourages personal interactions with the staff and enables its users to easily browse through the stacks. Moreover, architecture, the fine arts, and related professions rely upon print media to help understand the designed environment- easily accessible books provided by the architecture library are a critical component for learning in these disciplines.

Students from a variety of disciplines beyond the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation regularly utilize the architecture library as an alternative to McKeldin Library, and for its convenient location to classes.Top architecture schools and universities nationwide have retained architecture libraries despite mounting cost pressures and perceived changes in education from print to digital resources.

Centralizing services would greatly diminish the educational quality and prestige of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation as well as the educational excellence of the University of Maryland as a whole.

See original letter addressed to Dean Conrath on June 18th.

We are deeply concerned by the plans to close the University of Maryland's architecture library, and shocked that it has been proposed without any input from the student body, alumni, or faculty.  The library serves as a powerful asset for learning, a critical study space, and contributes to the quality and prestige of our academics.  With the architecture library removed from the building, our quality of education would suffer greatly.  

We realize that the library system may be acting with valid concern for the financial situation of a much-distressed system; however, it is also clear that this is a top-down decision that does not benefit from any feedback or creative problem solving from concerned students and faculty. 

In light of this, we, the undersigned, propose that the removal of the architecture library be delayed for at least six months until proper consideration by faculty, concerned alumni, and staff can be made regarding this issue. We have a right, as users of the library, to have our questions answered in a public forum, and therefore call for the convening of a public meeting where our concerns can be aired and our questions answered.

Update #35 years ago
The School of Architecture has formed a student/faculty committee to explore possible creative solutions to prevent the library's closure in January. Stay informed and offer your solutions by visiting new facebook page

The architecture library isn't the only library threatened with closure. Sign the petition to prevent the closure of the UMD Art Library at
Update #25 years ago
Thanks to everyone involved, we have successfully delayed the closure of the library till January! At yesterdays meeting, students and alumni came together to meet with Dean Steele to discuss the future of the library. There will now be a student/faculty committee that over the next semester will try to come up with alternative solutions and ways to balance cost and need.
Update #15 years ago
In less than a week, over 500 of us have come together to voice our concerns regarding future of the Architecture Library. The petition was sent to Dean of Libraries Patricia Steele, the Provost, and the President to let them know that closure is not an option. There will be an open meeting with Deans Steele and Cronrath this Friday, Aug 8, at 6pm in the Great Space. If no action is taken, the library will close at the end of the summer. I urge all of you to please attend the meeting.
Adam Chamy
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