Update: Newly-acquired Adirondack Research Library

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By Ajay Major

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For me, what’s exciting about the Adirondack Project is the different ways the space can be used—for music, art, literature, science, sociology, anthropology… I’m hoping that all that starts to flow to this unique space.

Stephen AinlayPresident of Union College[/pullquote]

“The Adirondack Research Library has the best collection of books and maps outside the Blue Line,” said Chairman of the Library Committee Bill Haley at Union’s newly-acquired Center for the Forest Preserve. “We hope that college students will use the [library] to study the Adirondacks and learn the history of the conservation laws that protect them.”

The library, which was founded at Union College in 1980 before moving to its present location in Niskayuna, is home to the largest collection of Adirondack-related books, research papers and maps outside of Adirondack Park proper.

According to Schaffer Library Director Thomas McFadden, the library has already begun cataloging the ARL materials into the Schaffer Library catalog for access to Union students and faculty.

“There are no current plans to move materials back from the ARL to the Union campus,” said McFadden. “A courier service is tentatively planned for transporting ARL items back and forth between Schaffer Library and St. David’s Lane.”

Although President Stephen Ainlay anticipates that the ARL will be open to the student body by the fall, Haley invited students to use the facilities as a research and study space. “We hope that researchers, college students, people working and writing books will come by for research. You must know the history of anything before you try to change anything about it,” said Haley.

Haley also expressed his hope that the ARL staff, which consists of both employees and volunteers, would be retained in the acquisition process. “We would like [our volunteers] to stay on to continue with the projects that are currently going on,” said Haley.

Although no decisions have been made on the future of the ARL staff, McFadden stated that “there is certainly important work in the ARL that volunteers do.”

President of Environmental Club Erin Delman ‘12 expressed her excitement for the new library facilities, but was concerned about student body awareness of the new opportunity.

“I don’t think students fully understand or appreciate the amount of environmental history that exists about the Adirondacks,” said Delman. “We want to hold events that take place at the library and definitely want to get students out there.”

Gail Yen ’13, a member of Ozone House, echoed Delman’s views on the ARL. “It’s super cool that we have this new library, but we want to get people to be more aware of the opportunities there,” said Yen.

“My hope is that these resources can now become much more widely known and used than they are now. However, negotiations for acquisition of the property are not yet complete, so many of these questions remain unanswered,” said McFadden.

This story is the second in a series of articles regarding Union’s new property. Look for our scientific breakdown of Lake Piseco in an upcoming issue.

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