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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue:  April 22, 2002
Volume 37, Number 19

Cramped Fine Arts Library will move to Architecture

By Carolyn Gonzales

The Fine Arts Library (FAL), located in the Center for the Arts, has been bursting at the seams for years. “The library had become so crowded that in order to add a volume, we had to pull a volume,” says Fran Wilkinson, acting dean of the UNM General Library.
Now the library is getting a new home within the new School of Architecture and Planning.

Currently occupying approximately 13,000 sq. ft., the library will expand into 26,000 sq. ft. in the new facility; almost double its current size.

“The space needs were so acute that that all the deans involved – Architecture, Fine Arts and Library – decided that this was the best idea,” Roger Lujan, director of UNM Facilities Planning, says.
Although the design that architect Antoine Predock created for the new School of Architecture and Planning did not include plans for the library, it can be accommodated.

“The original footprint or design can support the additional 26,000 square feet that will be added as an additional floor, partially subterranean, but with access to natural light. Primarily the subterranean areas will accommodate compact shelving,” Lujan says.

He says that Predock’s office will make the design changes. Roger Schluntz, dean of Architecture and Planning says it is too early to tell how much change in the original design will take place, but, he says, “The principles and ideals of Predock will extend to the design revision, as well.”

Funding for the $5.5 million project will come from a future system revenue bond issue, says Lujan. “The debt will be serviced by the facilities fee component of student fees,” he says.

FAL has 30,000 volumes stored off site. Some are in Zimmerman Library in the Center for Southwest Research (CSWR), some in Centennial Science and Engineering Library (CSEL), while still others are in storage at the Elks Building. These materials will be returned to the Fine Arts Library in the new facility, making it possible for library users to browse the collections again.

Additionally, the move will allow the library to provide comfortable space for students to look at the large art books, listen to CDs and view videos and DVDs, Wilkinson says.

Study space, carrels computer space, small group study rooms and wireless computer capabilities will be added too, she says.

The additional benefit is that moving arts materials out of the other libraries will ease space problems in those facilities. “We will work closely with the Fine Arts faculty to determine what should be housed there. Theater, dance and film collections, currently housed in Zimmerman, could be moved to the new library, if that is what everyone agrees upon,” Wilkinson says.

Interim Dean of the College of Fine Arts Christopher Mead says that Schluntz approached him about moving the library into the new facility since the library also houses architecture, landscape architecture, design and graphic design collections. “We went to Provost [Brian] Foster who liked the idea, and we spoke to Fran Wilkinson. We had great cooperation with three deans to solve a common problem,” Mead says.

“The new library will be right next door, solving a severe problem and serving the needs of the students. For me, it is less important that the library be located in the Fine Arts building than it is that it serves the needs of the students in a real way,” he says.

Mead says that everyone in the Fine Arts building has ideas about how to use the 13,000 sq. ft. vacated by the library’s move, but it won’t be decided overnight. “We have two years before the library will move. The new Fine Arts dean will have that on his plate,” Mead says.

Schluntz says that the architecture faculty is “elated” at the prospect of the library existing in their new building. “Integrating classrooms with the knowledge base that exists in the library provides a better educational environment,” he says.

“This move responds directly and forcefully to the architecture accreditation report that noted our lack of space for collections and users,” Schluntz says. He also says that the presence of the library in the architecture building will encourage collaboration between fine arts and architecture.

Will it still be called “Fine Arts Library”? Schluntz would like the name to be “Fine Arts and Design Library,” but that decision hasn’t been made yet and with the building completion set for Oct. 2004, there’s time to ponder.