News from the Field

David Free

UCF Knowledge Commons

The University of Central Florida’s (UCF) oldest academic building opened for the fall semester August 23 with a facelift. Completion of the Knowledge Commons, the newly redesigned main floor of the library, marks the first significant change to the building since 1984. The space brings learning, technology, resources, and academic support together to meet student demands for support of collaborative and individual study, research, and discovery.

Ribbon cutting at the opening of University of Central Florida’s Knowledge Commons.

The Knowledge Commons features 196 computers and seating for 479. In total, two-thirds of seating on the floor will host either a desktop PC or be wired with 110V outlets, where students can plug in laptops and personal technology. Two glass-enclosed consultation stations, in close proximity to the Research and Information Desk, are available for appointments with librarians for in-depth research assistance. University Writing Center consultants will hold scheduled office hours in one of the consultation stations for walk-in and scheduled peer consultation appointments.

The library, which was built in 1968, was the first academic building at UCF, then known as Florida Technological University, and housed all of the university’s original classrooms and offices. In 1984, the library was expanded to double its size. In 2006, the area to the right of the library’s entrance was converted into a popular learning space called Infusion, which features computers, popular books, and refreshments.

For more information and images of the renovation, visit

2010 Women’s Leadership Institute

ACRL is again collaborating with 19 other higher education associations to sponsor the 2010 Women’s Leadership Institute to be held December 5–8, 2010, in Amelia Island, Florida.

This unique program will bring together administrators from across campus functions to help participants hone their leadership skills for working in a rapidly changing environment, develop a better understanding of the campus as a workplace and culture, share experiences with others about how campuses are adapting and adjusting to the new reality, and create new personal networks and networking skills to better tap the higher education community.

Through presentations, small-group exercises, and discussion, attendees will gain a practical understanding of what it takes to be a leader on a college or university campus—both the challenges and the rewards. Participants will examine the unique roles, skills, and relationships needed to lead as higher education faces and deals with the most challenging period in 50 years.

Register by October 31 and receive a special Early Bird discount. Complete details are online at

UGA Libraries win Emmy

On June 26, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences held its 36th presentation of the Southeast Regional EMMY Awards in Atlanta. The University of Georgia (UGA) Library came up a winner for its work on the program Andrew Young Presents: How We Got Over, which showcases the Civil Rights Digital Library and the role archives play in preserving the past. The program was recognized in the category of Outstanding Achievement: Television Crafts Achievement Excellence, Technical Achievement. The project was the result of collaboration between several UGA library departments.

More information on Andrew Young Presents is available online at

NCES Academic Libraries Survey

Every two years the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) collects basic statistical data from college and university libraries. This will happen again in fall 2010 with the launch of the Web-based survey. In October 2010, academic library directors will receive a letter containing a registration certificate that shows a user ID and password for the library. The director will be asked to indicate a “key holder” who will use those codes to enter the library’s data. Data collection will begin in November 2010 and run through February 2011. The Web collection application will be available at

An Advisory Committee of academic librarians works with the ALA Office for Research and Statistics (ORS) to assist NCES with the Academic Libraries Survey. The ORS Web page contains links to all survey materials, a podcast describing the survey and the responsibilities of each state’s Library Representative, a list of the NCES Library Representatives in each state, and a roster of the survey Advisory Committee at

Columbia, Cornell collaborate for collections

The Columbia and Cornell University Libraries have announced an agreement to collaboratively support the Slavic and East European collection development activities of both institutions. This is the first in a series of resource-sharing agreements between Columbia and Cornell developed through the 2CUL partnership (

The institutions hope the agreement will significantly enhance the depth and breadth of Slavic and East European library holdings by better coordinating collection development activity. Such coordination will limit collecting overlap, allowing the two libraries to acquire significantly more material across the two campuses. When fully implemented, the faculties and students of both institutions will enjoy expedited interlibrary loan as well as onsite access to the extensive and historic Slavic, Eurasian, and East European collections of Cornell and Columbia.

History of Chemistry online

A new digital collection, The Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry, is now available through the University of Cincinnati Libraries Digital Collections Web site. The collection contains more than 1,000 images and 3-D models highlighting historic chemical apparatus and a circa 1900 chemistry lab, as well as sections under development that will feature portraits, prints, rare books, and journals related to the history of chemistry.

A joint project of the Ralph E. Oesper Chemistry-Biology Library and the Department of Chemistry, the Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry consist of three components: The Apparatus Museum, roughly 4,000 artifacts spanning the period from 1650 to 1970; the rare Books and Journals collection, a research-level collection of more than 17,000 volumes dating from 1600 to 1960; and the Portraits and Prints Collection, containing more than 2,500 portraits, prints, and photographs related to the history of chemistry.

The Oesper Collections are the legacy of Ralph Edward Oesper who received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1914 and returned in 1918 as a member of the chemistry faculty. Shortly after his return, Oesper was put in charge of building up the Chemistry Library. During the next 30 years, he purchased a substantial collection of 17th, 18th, and early 19th-century monographs and journals. The collection is available online at

EBSCO extends text-to-speech, adds Alternative Press Index

EBSCO has added text-to-speech (read aloud) support to EBSCOhost databases by embedding Texthelp Systems’ SpeechStream toolbar. Users will be able to take advantage of this new free feature with any full-text articles available in HTML. Text-to-speech support allows users to read along while a human-sounding voice speaks the text on the screen. The support toolbar provides significant assistance to those for whom text-to-speech capabilities are highly valued such as English Language Learners, users with low vision, slight physical and/or learning disabilities, as well as eBook and PDA users.

The company has also added Alternative Press Index (API) and Alternative Press Archive to its database roster. API is one of the most extensive and up-to-date guides to alternative sources of information available today and Alternative Press Index: Archive delivers archives of the alternative sources dating back to 1969. Considered the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the alternative press and critical social research available, API covers theories and practices of socialism and revolution alongside ecology, democracy, anarchism, feminism, organized labor, indigenous peoples and gay and lesbians. Alternative Press Index: Archive provides earlier coverage from 1990 back to 1969.

More details are available online at

Renovations at AUC

The Board of Trustees of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library officially dedicated its newly renovated 21st-century learning environment in late August. More than 300 guests attended a ceremonial ribbon cutting featuring student musical groups and remarks by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, the presidents of the AUC Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and representatives from the Woodruff Foundation, the Bank of America, and the Coca-Cola Foundation. Guests were entertained by the Clark Atlanta University Mighty Marching Panthers drumline, the Morehouse College “House of Funk” Marching Band, and the Spelman College Glee Club Ensemble.

Completed in May 2010, the renovation of the AUC Woodruff Library is the first of a two-phase project outlined in a conceptual plan developed by the architectural firm of Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott (Boston, Mass.) in December 2005. Phase one of a planned two phase renovation encompassed more than 130,000 square feet of the library’s 220,000-square-foot facility.

Renovated spaces include a new main level Learning Commons with Technology Design Studio, totally redesigned archives reading room, a new graduate study, and quiet study suites. This is the first major interior upgrade since the building’s dedication in 1982.

ACRL releases Value of Academic Libraries report

ACRL announces the release of “Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report.” Developed for ACRL by Megan Oakleaf of the iSchool at Syracuse University, this valuable resource reviews the quantitative and qualitative literature, methodologies, and best practices currently in place for demonstrating the value of academic libraries. The full report, along with supplemental materials, is available online at

Increasing recognition of the value of libraries and librarians by leaders in higher education, information technology, funding agencies, and campus decision making is one of ACRL’s six strategic priorities. Recognizing the sense of urgency around this issue, the report is intended to help academic librarians participate in the conversation and to identify resources to support them in demonstrating the value of academic libraries in clear, measurable ways.

“This report presents the vision and the reality of the value of academic libraries and their contributions to institutional goals and outcomes,” said ACRL President Lisa Hinchliffe of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Through it, we have a shared knowledge base for the association and our members as we pursue this strategic priority.”

The primary objective of this comprehensive review is to provide academic librarians and institutional leaders with a clearer understanding of what research about the performance of academic libraries already exists and where gaps in this research occur. The report additionally identifies the most promising best practices and measures correlated to performance and represents a starting point to assist college, university, and community college librarians in gathering evidence to tell the story of their libraries and promote dialogue on the value of the academic library in higher education.

“Documenting the evidence we have for the impact of academic libraries on student, faculty, and institutional success will enable library leaders to respond proactively to calls for accountability and return on investment. Identifying the gaps charts a path for the data we need to gather and analyze,” explained Hinchliffe. “In the coming months, ACRL will be turning its attention to strategies for pursuing the research agenda recommended in the report, identifying funding sources for projects, and developing training and support materials for our members.”

The full report is now available on the ACRL Web site, along with a separate executive summary for distribution to campus decision makers, a bibliography of sources consulted in the development of the report, a podcast interview with Hinchliffe and Oakleaf, and links to additional resources.

Visit for complete information on this exciting new resource.

New ACRL publication: The Academic Library Building in the Digital Age

ACRL announces the publication of The Academic Library Building in the Digital Age: A Study of Construction, Planning, and Design of New Library Space, a research study conducted by Illinois Institute of Technology Dean of Libraries Christopher Stewart.

The Academic Library Building in the Digital Age: A Study of Construction, Planning and Design of New Library Space is the first comprehensive study of planning and construction of academic library buildings completed entirely in the 21st century.

Given digitization of collections, the dynamic mix of new learning spaces with traditional library functions and other factors informing contemporary library design, the Digital Age has not raised so much the question of if libraries will survive, but how they will survive. Stewart’s study answers this question by examining academic library building projects completed in recent years. The book includes survey results on planning processes, building characteristics including user space in each building, usage, and new roles for library buildings.

The Academic Library Building in the Digital Age: A Study of Construction, Planning and Design of New Library Space is available for purchase through the ALA Online Store (, by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the United States or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.

Copyright © American Library Association, 2010

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