Binghamton University is currently negotiating with the U.S. Postal Service in hopes of relocating part of its expanding library collection to an abandoned Postal Service location in Downtown Binghamton.
The 60,000-square-foot Postal Service building, located at 120 Chenango St., has been vacant for over four years. If a lease deal goes through, the University says it will invest $3 million into renovations for the building.
Ryan Yarosh, director of media and public relations at BU, wrote in an email that this investment would benefit the University as well as its Downtown neighbors.
“The long-term lease will create a synergy with other University properties in close proximity, and facilitate a significant investment of $3 million that will support local vendors,” Yarosh wrote.
According to Jill Dixon, BU’s associate librarian for public services and collections, the current libraries, Glenn G. Bartle Library, the Science Library and the University Downtown Center Library, are reaching full capacity for housing essential library materials, and in order to maintain these collections, the University needs a larger space.
“There is a need to create space in the stacks for the new library materials we purchase each year to provide access to current research and information,” Dixon wrote in an email.
The University’s current Library Annex is located in Conklin, New York, and houses less-used materials including documents, physical volumes and sound recordings. Faculty and students can access these items by requesting specific materials, which are then delivered to one of the on-campus libraries. According to Dixon, although these materials are located off campus, they are still important to store and maintain.
“Many academic disciplines require historical materials to provide a comprehensive view on topics so it is vital to maintain comprehensive historical information as well as current research,” Dixon wrote. “As a premier research University, we need to maintain a premier library collection.”
Dixon also emphasized the importance of having the Library Annex closer to campus, making it cheaper to transport materials.
Sen. Chuck Schumer expressed his support for the plan earlier this month and urged the Postal Service to expedite the University’s efforts. According to Schumer, this move would not only economically benefit BU, but also Broome County and the Postal Service.
“BU will get a new facility to house its archives and more, Binghamton will get millions in economic investment and new jobs and the USPS will get much-needed revenue from an empty property that now provides it nothing,” Schumer said in a press release.
In a statement, BU President Harvey Stenger said he appreciates Schumer’s support and feels the move is necessary.
“The University needs this additional storage space for its valuable and important library collections and we appreciate any support the senator can provide in helping us to make this agreement become a reality,” Stenger said.