Watch: Students protest closing of Auckland University’s Fine Arts library

Source: 1News

Auckland University's Fine Arts library was packed with students protesting plans to close the building for good last night.

The university is looking at shutting down three specialist libraries in order to cut costs, but supporters argue the move is an attack on the arts and the importance of libraries.

Others set for closure are the Music and Dance, and Architecture and Planning libraries.

Auckland University is proposing for the three specialist libraries to be merged with the General library.

"The whole way the school functions is through community - this is the heart of our community," said one unnamed student.

"You wouldn't ask a science student to do their practice without their labs - it's the same thing for us".

The Fine Arts library holds the largest collection of fine arts materials in the Southern Hemisphere.

With its proposed merger with the General library, some books in its vast collection will have to go into storage.

The students left after police were called to the premises.

Auckland University wouldn't appear on camera, but told 1 News the libraries were not fit for purpose due to their significant operational costs.

The university also said the collection increases accessibility and research opportunities for students.

Library and Information Association president Louise LaHatte says funding cuts are affecting public libraries, too - and they're needed more than ever.

"If we want to have a community where everybody can have a place to grow up and thrive, then we need them to be literate," Ms LaHatte said.

"We need them to have access to the information and stories they need."

The consultation period ends on Monday with a decision to follow.