Harvard To Revamp Its Library System

Monday, February 13, 2012

Harvard University announced yesterday a sweeping overhaul of its labyrinthine library system, including the consolidation of services, the shuffling of many of its 900-plus employees, and offers of buyouts to others.

Details will be finalized over the next few weeks, but the changes will affect staff at every level, provost Alan Garber said in a statement.

In a subsequent interview, Garber said the plans were necessary to bring the library up to speed in the digital age. “We’re trying to modernize the library to maintain its position as the leading academic library in the world,’’ he said. “We have unrivaled collections and a remarkable staff. We just haven’t been organized to take advantage of all that we have.’’

With 73 semiautonomous branches, the library is the world’s largest academic collection, a point of pride at the school. But its size and structure have held back efforts to adapt to digital technology and the increasingly high cost of academic journals, said Garber’s statement.

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