Physics-Astronomy Library to temporarily close, citing staffing shortages

Photo of the physics-astronomy library
Justin Wang/Staff
As a result of staffing shortages, UC Berkeley's Physics-Astronomy Library will be closed, effective March 21.

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When UC Berkeley students return from spring break, there will be one fewer space for community members to work and study in. 

The Physics-Astronomy Library will be closed starting March 21 due to ongoing staffing shortages. The library will likely remain closed through the summer semester. 

“With budget reductions over the last two decades, and recent unexpected staff resignations, we have to continue to make difficult decisions about which of our services to scale back,” said university librarian Jeff MacKie-Mason in a press release.

Library users will still be able to request and pick up items from the Physics-Astronomy Library’s collections via UC Library Search, the press release reads. 

The Physics-Astronomy Library’s closure comes amid other campus library closures — both the proposed and realized.

The Anthropology Library was originally scheduled to indefinitely close Feb. 28, also due to staffing shortages. After students and professors planned a sit-in at the library Feb. 25 protesting the closure, which was called off after campus agreed to meet with organizers, campus backtracked on its plans and said in a press release that the library will remain open Monday through Friday from 1-5 p.m. as a study and browsing only space. 

Moffitt Library, which first opened in 1970 and was hailed by campus in press releases as a “24-hour library” in 2016 where students could “roll out a prayer rug, sleep in a nap pod, hold a meeting (and) practice for a job interview” has been closed since December 2021 for seismic upgrades. The library is anticipated to reopen in the fall 2022 semester. 

Some students have previously raised concerns regarding limited library hours, noting that many students do not have access to quiet places to work as a result of the housing crisis in Berkeley. 

“We have nowhere good to go as an alternative,” said campus student Skyler-Myles Clinton Cobb to The Daily Californian in December 2021, adding that having 24-hour campus libraries would “make a lot more sense.” 

Campus has responded by planning extended hours at a number of libraries, including the Doe, Engineering, C.V. Starr East Asian and Environmental Design libraries, in addition to Main Stacks, though these plans are contingent on whether campus is able to hire additional employees amid reduced budgets, according to Elizabeth Dupuis, senior associate university librarian, in a February email to the Daily Cal. 

Iris Kwok is a deputy news editor. Contact her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @iriskkwok.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that a sit-in was held in protest of the planned Anthropology Library closure. In fact, the sit-in was planned but called off around 15 minutes before its formal start time after campus agreed to meet with the faculty and students involved.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the Anthropology Library was set to be closed “permanently.” In fact, the library was set to be closed “indefinitely.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Moffitt Library first opened in 2016. In fact, Moffitt first opened in 1970. The library underwent major renovations in 2015, and the fourth and fifth floors were reopened in 2016 as a study space open 24 hours, five days a week.