Library withdraws proposal to close the South & Southeast Asia Library

March 23, 2021

Founded in 1970, the South/Southeast Library (S/SEAL) is a dedicated reading room in Doe Library, UC Berkeley’s main research library. The library combines research and writing space, reference materials, and specialist consultation on site. It is a campus hub for multidisciplinary research and teaching in South and Southeast Asian studies, covering nineteen countries and over twenty indigenous languages.

The UC Library recently released a report and request for public comments on its announced plans to close S/SEAL, move its non-circulating reference collection into the main Gardner stacks, and re-locate the two subject librarians (Virginia Shih, Curator for Southeast Asia and Buddhist Studies Collections, and Adnan Malik, Curator for South Asia Collection) to a different office space.

CSEAS opposed this plan, and actively requested support from students, faculty, alumni, and friends to advocate that S/SEAL remain in its current location, and continue to fulfill its important role as a site for research and quiet study.

In the face of public pressure, including a student-led campaign and petition, the UC Library announced on March 22 that it has withdrawn this proposal, and that S/SEAL would remain in its current space.

CSEAS is pleased that S/SEAL can continue to serve as a resource for the university and community, and appreciates the many many letters of support received from friends in the U.S. and around the world.