Stop the cuts at SOAS Library

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SOAS, University of London management are proposing to cut nearly 25% of staff at SOAS Library, as part of the One Professional Service (OPS) restructuring.

SOAS Library is the UK National Research Library for Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and one of the world’s leading academic libraries, heavily used by students, academics, and the general public. These cuts would have a devastating impact on Library services and threaten the future of this internationally important collection.

The proposed cuts include half of all Subject Librarians (including those supporting collections in Anthropology, Ancient Near East, Art History, Economics, Finance, Gender, History, Jewish studies, Linguistics, Literature, Management, Migration, Politics, Religion, and Sociology), as well as key posts in the Library’s Customer Services (including the entire evening/weekend team), Bibliographic Services (cataloguing staff), Electronic Services, and Archives & Special Collections. These staffing cuts would have huge consequences for all areas of Library operations, from day-to-day user support to long-term collection development.

The education of current and future SOAS students will inevitably suffer if these Library cuts go ahead. Students deserve a well resourced Library, staffed by experienced and responsive professionals, not a moribund collection run by a skeleton staff, with a top-heavy management structure.

SOAS Library staff are unanimously opposed to these damaging proposals. Many staff were informed they would effectively be losing their jobs just days before the winter break. These staff have all given years, if not decades, of committed service to the School and its community. Many staff have young families and ongoing financial commitments. All now face an uncertain future as we approach the holiday period.

We, the undersigned, strongly oppose the proposed cuts to SOAS Library. We call upon the SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos [@ValerieAmos] and SOAS Library Director Oliver Urquhart-Irvine [@Urquhart_Irvine] to halt these damaging proposals immediately, and instead invest properly in SOAS Library and its staff to ensure the long-term future of this important and unique National Research Library

Please help us to emphasise the strength of feeling which exists in the SOAS and wider research communities, by also emailing your opposition to the Library cuts to the One Professional Service restructuring consultation [ 11 January 2019.