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The Chemistry Library: Movin' On Down
Mary Ann Mahoney, Chemistry Librarian
In July 2000 Cal's Chemistry Library was temporarily relocated to Doe Library because its permanent home, Hildebrand Hall at the center of the College of Chemistry complex, is being seismically retrofitted. The library has actually moved into what is called the "Doe core." The core, which housed the eight floors of the original Doe stacks prior to construction of the underground David P. Gardner Stacks six years ago, is a unique and dramatic space, 100 feet square with a 70-foot ceiling. The ceiling is so high that normal lighting is not economically feasible; instead, the core is illuminated with streetlights. New flooring, paint, and shelving have created a surprisingly pleasant temporary facility.
Finding a space on campus that was convenient to the College of Chemistry, as well as one large enough to house the entire collection, was not an easy task. Due to the multitude of seismic projects currently underway, all of the obvious places were already spoken for. Access to the library's collection of books, journals, and reference material was of paramount concern to the College's faculty and students, so it was very important that the material be stored in a convenient on-campus location. Thankfully, the Doe core is large enough to house the Chemistry Library's collection of over 70,000 volumes and 600 journal titles. In addition, the space had to be outfitted to accommodate a busy, full-service library. Phone lines and Internet connections were installed and office and study space issues were addressed.
The actual move of the collection only took a few days. The books and journals were all placed on large book carts that were then wrapped in plastic and rolled into a moving van. The van drove down the hill to Doe, and the carts were wheeled into the new space where the movers put the books and journals on the new shelves, still in call-number order!
In support of the collection, the Chemistry Library recently received a very generous gift from Elsie R. Falconer. Mrs. Falconer established a library endowment in honor of her father, Ludvig Reimers, who graduated from the College of Chemistry in the Class of 1921. This endowment will enable the Chemistry Library to continue to build and sustain a collection that supports the College's mission of education and research. Both of the College's departments, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, rank among the most prominent in their fields, each with an outstanding faculty and a long tradition of excellence. The Chemistry Library's books, journals, and reference material are crucial to these quality educational and research programs, and continuing support from this endowment will greatly enhance this world-class collection.
The Chemistry Library is scheduled to remain in Doe through the rest of the year. After the Chemistry Library moves back to Hildebrand Hall, the Physics Library is slated to move into the core while Le Conte Hall undergoes its seismic retrofit. Next time you are on campus, stop by and visit one of the most unusual library spaces on Cal's campus.