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The Horrors of Honnold/Mudd

October 25, 2010

Sara Birkenthal
The Horrors of Honnold/Mudd

Your unbearable Sunday workload, the inevitable result of an entire week’s worth of procrastination, is not the only problem you will encounter on a trip to the Honnold/ Mudd Library. According to the Library’s mission statement, the consortium's central library offers “user-centered services, building collections, developing innovative technologies, and an inviting environment for study, collaboration, and reflection.” Yet due to its limited hours and the fact that it is quickly running out of space for student seating and its extensive collections, Honnold/Mudd has failed to live up to its promises.

Although Honnold/Mudd’s hours seem limited, according to John McDonald, the Director of Information & Bibliographic Management and Faculty Relations at the Library, “ [it] is open 109 hours per week which is average for [a] liberal arts college library. Among the leading 80 colleges, only 3 are open 24 hours every day with 60 averaging between 98 and 118 hours open per week.”

Honnold/Mudd Library, however, which serves students from all five Claremont Colleges, plus Claremont Graduate University and the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences, should have hours more like that of a small research university. One of the greatest appeals of the Claremont Consortium, after all, is its access to resources.

Despite the Consortium’s wealth of resources, keeping Honnold/Mudd open 24 hours may not be economically feasible. McDonald stated that “to move to a 24/7 schedule for the Library [will require] additional funding to provide adequate staffing and ensure safety and security.” Nonetheless, the Advisory Board for Library Planning (ABLP), a 5C board comprised of faculty, one undergraduate student and one graduate student, will meet to address the issue again this year.

According to a Honnold/Mudd librarian, the Library currently seats just 800-1,000 people at its maximum capacity, which includes 56 individually reserved carrels and 10 graduate student study rooms. Considering that Honnold/Mudd serves approximately 7,390 students, this is inadequate, especially during library prime time: finals week.

The ABLP has met this concern with recent renovations that have added 250 additional seats to the facility. These renovations, according to McDonald, “have been wildly successful, as [there has been] an increase in use of the building as well as an increase in the number of books checked out.” Plans for future renovations to increase study space are in the works.

The Library is home to the largest print collection of any liberal arts college library in the country. Honnold/Mudd amasses 18,000 to 26,000 new books per year, increasing its collection by two percent annually.*

Unfortunately, this growth greatly outpaces the space available to hold the library’s collection, which includes nearly 2 millions volumes. According to McDonald, “the Library has been concerned about adequate space for a number of years, dating back to at least 1988 when it was noted that there was limited room for growth.” Recent measurements of the collection have determined that Honnold/Mudd has been overcapacity for the past 11 years.

The Advisory Board’s response to this issue was to open another library facility on 11th Street and Upland Avenue at which 40% of Honnold/Mudd’s collection would be stored, but this plan was made impossible by budget cuts.* To make matters worse, the individual colleges decided to close their science libraries last year, putting Honnold/Mudd’s shelving space in even greater demand.*

Are Honnold/Mudd’s limited hours and lack of space for books and student seating a hindrance to the overall academic success of the Consortium, or do such issues merely pose an inconvenience? Either way, Honnold/Mudd library fails to meet the needs of the students and faculty of the Claremont University Consortium.

**Laguna, Sean, “Honnold/Mudd Library Struggles to Meet Both Student and Faculty Needs,” The Student Life (April 16, 2010).

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