McGill University is considering shutting down the libraries at two of its faculties, in the face of a $1.8 million budget cut.
The Faculty of Education's library could be closed, and the Life Sciences library could be merged with a library in another building.
"Both faculty and staff are very shocked that this is happening without any consultation," said Angella Lambrou, a Life Sciences librarian who has mounted a Facebook campaign to try to prevent the merger.
Lambrou said McGill's Life Sciences library is the oldest and largest medical library in Canada.
Collections all part of a single system, McGill says
The university administration said shutting down libraries is only one possibility it's considering, in the face of the cut — its share of a much larger budget reduction that's been imposed on universities by the provincial government.
"We have to consider everything," said Dean of Libraries Colleen Cook. "What we have to do is look at all the library services that we have, because all of the branch libraries at McGill are considered to be part of one system." However, Lambrou said forcing medical students to trek to the other side of the campus would be inconvenient and could lead to overcrowding in the libraries that remain open.
Librarians and patrons alike say merging collections is not the answer to the financial situation.
"For most library patrons…a library is a physical space," said David Roseman, a spokesman for the support staff union, MUNACA.