Emotions high as Auckland University students protest library closure

University of Auckland students have held an emotional rally on Monday, which they hope will halt plans to close five libraries.

The country's biggest tertiary institution is considering closing the Fine Arts library to cut costs, as well as Music and the Architecture and Planning libraries.

About 1000 people, many holding protest signs, marched to the campus Clock Tower demanding that the specialist Arts spaces remain open.

They also delivered a petition, signed by 4000 people, to Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon at midday.

If the libraries were to close, the books would be relocated to the general library or put into storage, which architecture student Gabriela Jimenez Rojas says would be very inconvenient.

"It's not the same as being able to pop down to your library, which is so close to our studio spaces and get the work you need - and these are big volumes. Sometimes they're too heavy to push down the road down to our faculty."

Caitlin Watters from the Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) told Newshub she feels targeted by the university, calling the proposed closures "an attack on our faculty and the Arts as a whole".

"It feels like we've been completely shut out of the conversation and haven't had any avenue to talk about what we want as students, and what is best for our learning," she said.

Rachel Ashby, who's an Elam graduate and helped organise the campaign to save the Fine Arts Library, questions why University of Auckland sees her department as less valuable than others.

"You wouldn't take a science student's lab away from them - why are you taking our labs away from us?"

Art history student Sascha Young says she depends on the books stored at the specialist libraries.

"Being the biggest collection in the southern hemisphere, we're so lucky to have access to that. For that to be taken away from us is really heart-breaking for all of us."

The university is consulting with staff whose roles could be affected.

It has said that no books will be burned if the libraries are to close, but they may be shredded if they are not stored in the general library.