Almost 1000 students will rally against the closure of libraries at the University of Auckland next week.

The students will be delivering a petition to the Vice-Chancellor, Stuart McCutcheon, on Monday at midday outside the general library. The petition has at least 4000 signatures at the moment.

Consultation is still ongoing on a proposal to close branch libraries in the music, fine arts and architecture schools and at the Tamaki and Epsom campuses, relocating the books to the General Library or putting them into storage.

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"Students' response to this proposal shows how angry and concerned we are," said Auckland University Students' Association (AUSA) education vice-president, Jessica Palairet.

"Libraries are at the heart of our university. They provide spaces for students to study, specialists to help with research and essay writing, and access to some of the best collections in the Southern Hemisphere."

A University spokeswoman said the proposal was not doing away with any of these things, and that the resources from the other libraries would be moved to the General Library.

But Palairet said students "shouldn't have to protest about the university taking away fundamental resources. But the fact they are doing it without proper student consultation makes it even more important that we do.

"Students have been told that because this affects staff, we can't submit on the proposal.

"This isn't good enough. The lack of any formal student consultation is locking out the voices of those who will be most affected by these proposed changes - students."

Palairet said the proposal represented a wider problem with the way universities are funded.

"A free first year doesn't matter if universities aren't funded enough to provide students with quality library resources."


They also wanted the government to stop prioritising Stem subjects at the expense of the arts, she said.

"While the university builds new science buildings and extravagant new gyms, the arts and our libraries are being consistently underfunded.

"We're calling on the government to respond. They need to put their money where their mouth is, and better fund universities and the arts. The current 'bums on seats' and research-orientated model isn't working.

"Cutting costs shouldn't come at the expense of our education".

AUSA president Anna Cusack said students were "really upset and really frustrated" at being "cut out of the conversation".

"Not being able to actually be meaningfully heard is really hard," she said.

Practical issues with moving the books included that many of the students' departments were some distance from the General Library, and it would be difficult for them to carry large books to and from it.

The proposal to close the Creative Arts and Industries (CAI) libraries plans to group all the collections together.

A review of the existing libraries found they were no longer fit for purpose, with issues around restricted access, inefficient and costly use of space, restricted shelf space, noise, poor disabled access, health and safety risks, lack of control of temperature and humidity, and the risk of damage to the collections.

Water and sewage pipes are directly above the Architecture and Planning library and archive.

Cusack said these were maintenance issues, and students, who were the users of the spaces, should still be able to join in the consultation process.

CAI faculty staff and student body accounts for 4 per cent of the university's total population, and the three separate libraries created significant operational costs for a small amount of users, the spokeswoman said.

The review found the collections would be easier to access once moved to the General Library, as it is open 96 hours a week compared with 58 hours at the Architecture and Planning library, 55 hours for Fine Arts, and 49 hours for Music and Dance.

There is no suggestion or intention that the books will be destroyed outside of standard library maintenance. Books that are not used regularly would go into storage where they would usually be able to be accessed within 24 hours.

The university is currently consulting with staff whose roles may be affected by the proposed changes. Consultation ends on Monday.