Australian National University students have called for the university to reverse its decision to close the Art and Music Library, a move they see as an attack on the arts school.
Students and staff were told on Wednesday of the plan to close the library branch in the School of Art and Design on December 8 for hail remediation work.
The collection and staff will be moved to the Chifley Library and at the end of the remediation, the university will repurpose the space as a creative study space.
On Friday night, students and staff staged a protest at the graduating exhibition official opening by wearing badges and placing posters around the space.
An online open letter calling for the library to stay open attracted more than 300 signatures by Friday.
Beatrice Tucker, who studies a double degree in visual arts and arts, said the library was vital for art and design courses where students often needed to use large reference books for classes and assignments.
"Students are very frustrated with other cuts that have happened at the School of Art and Design over the last five years," Tucker said.
"I think students and also staff are very sensitive to changes at the school. And so there's been a lot of calls for consultation before any decisions are announced which, in this instance, unfortunately the ANU has ignored, and so people are feeling quite dejected and not listened to."
The library is a central point in the Bauhaus-style School of Art and Design building. It features floor to ceiling windows on two sides looking into the central courtyard, rows of large-format books and a reading pit.
Tucker said the plan would mean the full-time library staff would move to the main Chifley Library where they would fill three vacant positions.
The library staff also face extra workload in moving the collection to an off-site storage facility and the Chifley Library and training in a different cataloguing system.
An ANU spokesman said students and academics had been consulted on what spaces they needed most.
"They have made it clear that their preference is for flexible study spaces," the spokesman said.
"Students will be invited to participate in co-designing the area to deliver a range of services and spaces that facilitate group and individual work and make the most effective use of the great collections in the music and art schools."
National Tertiary Education Union ACT division secretary Lachlan Clohesy said the union would be watching the situation very closely.
"Our members are very concerned that decisions the ANU are making lack transparency, and could significantly increase staff workloads," Dr Clohesy said.
"We're also concerned about the lack of consultation with staff. If ANU has nothing to hide, we challenge them to ANU guarantee that this change is not a precursor to job cuts in ANU libraries."
The ANU spokesman did not directly respond to questions about whether the decision was made due to budget cuts to the libraries division or if any jobs would be lost.
"The relocation of the collection will be carefully coordinated and discussions have been held with staff about the move," the spokesman said.
"Students will be provided better services and staff will continue to work with the library. The move will not cause any additional workload for staff across other ANU libraries."
Tucker said it was possible to restore the library when the hail remediation work was complete in six months.
"This announcement doesn't have anything in motion that can't be undone ... and so they absolutely can reverse this decision immediately if they'd like and they should."