In October, it was announced that the Queen’s top librarian Oliver Urquhart Irvine would leave Windsor Castle to become head of library services at SOAS. When he joins on 14 January, he might need to cross a picket line to get to work.
This week, the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London has been in turmoil over a plan to restructure its library services. According to figures quoted by the Save SOAS Library campaign, the library must lose between £650,000 and £675,000 from its annual budget.
They claim that SOAS is proposing that the bulk of this should take the form of cuts to 13 posts—a quarter of library staff—including specialist librarians. These cuts, according to the campaign, are part of a larger proposal to trim professional services by £1.55 million, but the library will need to shoulder the largest load: 43 per cent of the total.