Music students, faculty and staff marched from the Music Building to Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKB) Tuesday in protest of UBC’s plans to move the music library.
Second-year music student Eileen Padgett organized the march in response to UBC’s plan to move the music library from the Music Building to IKB. UBC also plans to cut the music library staff by half, from six members to three.
“We’re all here for the same reason: we are formally opposed to this move for more reasons than we can articulate in three minutes. We know this is going to be very, very bad for our faculty, for us, for everything,” said Padgett.
Over 50 people took part in the march, playing instruments and singing, “Let’s save our library/ We want it to stay/ Seriously, take us seriously, or hear this every day,” to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
UBC head librarian Ingrid Parent and deputy librarian Melody Burton addressed the marchers on the steps of IKB.
“Thanks to all of you for doing this. I call this a harmonious march,” said Parent. “Sometimes people take us for granted, but we’re always here to serve you and it’s nice to know that we are appreciated.”
In an interview after the march, Burton said that in order for the music library to stay in the Music Building, the faculty would have to find another source of funding.
“We’d be happy to hear alternate revenue sources if they are available to [the School of] Music. They are a creative school and they do have some options there,” said Burton.
However, Burton said that the School of Music would have to find about half a million dollars per year to update the music library and keep it staffed.
“The music library is the most crowded library in our system. We need to do something about it. Even if it’s saved, that situation won’t change. So we have decisions to make about the music library anyhow,” said Burton.
Brent MacKenzie is a first-year music music student who took part in the march. He said that if the music library were to move, it would hinder his ability to study.
“In my short time here, I’ve used the library five, six, seven times already, and it seems like [if I'm] using it that much in such a short time, I’m going to be using it a lot more during the rest of my time here,” said MacKenzie.
UBC music professor David Metzer also took part in the march. He said moving the library would have a negative effect on the sense of community in the School of Music.
“We usually congregate in the library. It is really kind of the heart of the school,” said Metzer.
Parent said she will bring the School of Music’s concerns to university administrators later this week. She couldn’t make any guarantees about the future of the library.
“Anything is possible, really. I mean, how can we say yes or no at this stage? We have to look at all the options,” said Parent. “There are reasons for doing this and we have to make sure that those reasons are fulfilled in some way.”