Since its formation in 1969, the Eaton Collection has been known as being one of the world’s largest libraries containing works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Housed at the University of California, Riverside, the Eaton Collection grew from the personal book collection of physician Dr J. Lloyd Eaton into a science fiction library with more than 300,000 items including books, pulp magazines, zines, comic books, convention photographs and more. The Eaton Collection became an epicenter for scholarly study of speculative fiction and even hosts the Eaton Conference which once welcomed the likes of Ray Bradbury and Harold Bloom.
However, the future of the Eaton Collection may be in peril. Nalo Hopkinson, a science fiction author and creative writing professor at UC Riverside, posted on her website that the new library administration is creating policies that threaten the integrity of the institution.
Hopkinson is a member of the UC Riverside faculty research cluster in science fiction and fantasy. The group works to raise awareness of the Eaton Collection.
Hopkinson writes of the new library administration:
“Since spring of this year, their accomplishments have included driving out staff members and pushing changes to collection policies hat would reduce the Eaton’s holdings, its value to researchers and as a repository of our community’s history, and its standing as a world-class archive.”
Hopkinson also states that the administration is making decisions on what to collect without the input of the Eaton Collection’s researchers and scholars.
Dr. Rob Latham, Hopkinson’s colleague, took to his Facebook page to express his concern with the administration. Latham writes, “I would say that I take solace from the fact that the Eaton is a solidly established, 45-year-old institution in the field and that it will survive them, but to be honest I’m no longer sure that’s true.”
Both Hopkinson and Latham assert that they are making the public aware of the Eaton Collection’s new policies, but soon they may issue a call to action to ensure that the future of the library remains intact.