April 27, 2009
Dear Members of the Smith Community,
Since the release of the proposed budget reduction plan on April 13, I have heard many impassioned voices in support of the Josten Library for the Performing Arts. After intensive discussions with the chairs of the dance, music, and theatre departments, Director of the Libraries Chris Loring, and Provost Susan Bourque, I have decided to suspend the proposal to consolidate Josten Library into Neilson Library, and implement instead an alternative plan.
Beginning in the fall of 2009, Josten Library will be open Sunday through Friday on a reduced schedule, and closed Saturdays. Beginning in 2010, it will be closed during the summer.
While the details of this plan — including the composition of staff, hours of operation, closing dates for the summer, and the process for granting faculty access to materials when the building is closed — remain to be worked out, I am happy to present a proposal that will see Josten remain a branch of our library system.
This plan will be reviewed late next year in the context of how well it is addressing essential needs and an overall space review of the Smith library system. The performing arts chairs will be part of this ongoing process as it relates to Josten.
As Ellen Kaplan, professor of theatre, wrote on behalf of the performing arts chairs, the discussion of the future of Josten "has afforded faculty, students and alumni to express their passion for, not only the performing arts at Smith College, but the rich academic study intricately woven into these arts. This energy bodes well for our disciplines and a continued healthy balance in liberal arts studies." I would like to express my thanks to those who developed this plan for Josten, and to the many people in the Smith and local communities who have written in support of the library. Your words reconfirm the importance, and the value, of the performing arts in our curriculum, our educational mission, and our lives.
Carol T. Christ