More on the Hoover Library

From the Provost of Stanford University

Concerned users of Hoover Library:

From the scores of email messages I received over the last few days, I gather there have been some extraordinarily misinformed messages about the future of the Hoover Library and Archives posted on various bulletin boards. Stanford has no plans to close Hoover Library or to reduce the funding for collections of either archival or non-archival materials.

The current situation:

The Hoover Library currently houses archives, special collections, rare books and documents, plus portions of the University's general collection in certain areas, such as Eastern Europe and Asia. The long and short of it is that Hoover Library is out of space. It cannot continue accumulating material in all of these collections without moving some of its holdings to another location, either to one of the auxiliary libraries (on another part of campus) or to an off-campus location. Thus the Hoover Library's current options are to stop collecting any new material or to store portions of its material at a relatively inconvenient distance.

The current proposal:

The Hoover Institution and the Stanford University Libraries have jointly submitted to me a proposal to ameliorate this situation. The proposal would involve moving the general library collection (i.e., the non-rare, non-archival material) to Green Library, Stanford's main library. (For those of you who are not familiar with the Stanford campus, Green Library is approximately 100 yards away from Hoover Library.) This move would allow all parts of the collections to continue to grow, and keep the material in rough proximity.

The proposal does not involve any budget savings. In fact, this fall I have received, and am considering, proposals to increase the budgets for both archival and general collections at the Hoover. If we move forward with this proposal, the budget for the general library collection, along with the relevant staff, will move to the main library, but the budget will not be decreased.


I imagine many of you, as outside users of Hoover Library, are concerned about whether this will affect access to the material. You will be pleased to know that the change will have benefits on that score. Users of Hoover Library will be allowed access to the general material stored in Green, though they will not be able to check out this material. (Since they are not allowed to check out material from Hoover at present, this is not an additional restriction.) They will in fact have increased access to the general material, since Green's hours of operation are considerably longer than Hoover's, and will also be allowed to browse and use any other material in the Green stacks.

The Hoover Library is a Stanford treasure, and the idea that we would close it or otherwise diminish it is absurd. The goal of the current proposal is to find the best way to continue building the collections, while still making them as accessible to all users as the harsh Euclidean realities of space constraints permit.

As I say, this is still just a proposed solution that we are currently considering. Before making a final decision, I will be consulting our local faculty who depend on all the Hoover collections, to make sure this is the best available option.

Trust me, the leadership at Stanford is not making a decision out of ignorance or financial necessity that would destroy a national research treasure like the Hoover Library!

John Etchemendy
Provost Stanford University

Posted: 6 December 2000