As staff at the Elam School of Fine Arts we regard our specialist library as central to the educational experience we offer. The Elam library underwrites our goal of creating the best learning environment for our students. Along with our technical workshops the library is at the heart of our school physically and creatively. Our Māori staff liken it to a wharenui within a marae, a meeting-house allowing the current generation of artists to gather, surrounded and supported by the knowledge and ideas of those who have gone before, a repository of knowledge close at hand.
The proposal to close our Fine Arts Library is part of a wider review of the Library and Learning Services at the University of Auckland, which also recommends the closure of other specialist libraries in the faculty. Elam teaching staff have taken this review seriously and contributed written submissions as part of the University’s formal review process. In addition to individual submissions there was a Māori and Pacific collective submission from concerned staff and students, and 81 staff across the Creative Arts and Industries faculty collectively authored and signed a 17-page submission. These documents argued the significance of specialist libraries within our disciplines and conveyed the widespread distress that the proposed library closures have caused for an overwhelming majority of staff and students.
We support our students in their request to be heard as part of the consultative process and we are deeply moved by the 1,200+ letters of support for our library that continue to arrive daily from here and abroad in the inbox of the Save The Fine Arts Library website. Our community, students and alumni, all understand that the Elam library is a national treasure and is fundamental to the life of our school.
We sincerely hope that the review panel and the senior management of the University will look to secure the long term future of Fine Arts in the University of Auckland through the retention of this unique academic resource.
Signed: Jon Bywater, Joyce Campbell, Lisa Crowley, Gavin Hipkins, Lucille Holmes, Olyvia Hong, Fiona Jack, Sean Kerr, Simon Ingram, James Cousins, Yona Lee, Alvie McKree, Alex Monteith, p. mule, Michael Parekowhai, Peter Robinson, Allan Smith, Ruth Watson, Tara Winters