Librarians make noise about Georgia’s only library program getting the axe

15 years ago Comments Off on Librarians make noise about Georgia’s only library program getting the axe

ATLANTA (AP) _ The state’s only school for librarians may close, and librarians are arguing the program at Clark Atlanta University shouldn’t go the way of paper card catalogs. The university wants to shut down its school of library and information studies _ the state’s only accredited librarian education program _ to save money. About 80 Clark Atlanta alumni and supporters gathered Monday outside downtown’s Auburn Avenue Research Library to protest the idea. “The library school has helped so many,” said Dorothy Williams, a Clark Atlanta alumna and Fulton County librarian. “I can’t imagine what would happen if it wasn’t there.” Clark Atlanta is one of about 50 colleges nationwide that offer accredited degree programs in library science, and one of just two historically black colleges with library schools. Clark Atlanta’s school has 99 students. Arthur Gunn, the dean of CAU’s library school, said the closing would hurt more than just students who want to be librarians. “The profession will be severely impacted if we are forced to close,” Gunn said. More than a dozen library graduate programs across the nation _ including one at Emory University _ have been shut down in the past 20 years. Bobby Player, the president of the black caucus of the American Library Association, said librarians across the country have started an e-mail and letter-writing campaign to try to save the school. “This is a historical landmark, and we can’t lose that,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re hoping we can sway the president to give it another lease on life.” University President Walter Broadnax defended the proposal. The school overspent its $100 million budget by $7.5 million last year and is looking for savings so the university won’t close altogether. “What’s on the table is saving this university,” he said. “That’s the most important issue.” Broadnax said the college’s Board of Trustees ultimately will determine the library school’s fate. He said he plans to recommend closing it after the 2004-05 school year when the board meets Oct. 16.