Scholars Question Library of Congress's Plan to Relocate a Reading Room





Researchers who use the European Reading Room at the Library of Congress are up in arms over rumors that it is about to be shut down to make way for exhibition space. They have begun a grass-roots campaign to urge concerned scholars to write protest letters to their representatives in Congress and to James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress.

Some have even set up a Web site, Save the European Reading Room at the LC!, to encourage people to take action.

The consternation reflects an anxiety among scholars not just over the fate of one reading room but over whether the library is putting tourism and public history ahead of its longtime commitment to research.

In a short statement issued on Tuesday, the library denied the closure rumors and sought to reassure researchers. The European Reading Room "will not be closed," it said. "Beginning this summer, the reading room will be relocated to the Southeast Pavilion, a space adjacent to the current reading room."

[HNN: The article says the AHA's Arnita Jones has received several emails about this from historians.]


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