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Fall 2019 | Volume 21 | Number 1
In This Issue
Note from the Dean
John P. Wilkin
 Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

September marked the beginning of my second term as Dean of Libraries and University Librarian and my seventh year at Illinois. I am proud of all the Library has accomplished. We have committed ourselves to both the past and the future—to sustaining the cultural record while supporting new ways of learning, new forms of scholarship, and new ways to communicate our scholars’ research to the world.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to connect with us about the Library Building Project. We are glad to have the feedback, especially from those who feel so passionately about the Library.

Input from our faculty is important. What has been submitted will be passed along to members of our working groups and considered as the project advances. I encourage the faculty to continue submitting feedback as the project progresses, to reach out to discuss the developing plans, and to forward your questions if you have concerns about anything in particular. We have always considered collections and services to be central to the developing vision. Our goal is to build a model that will positively impact the campus for decades to come.

University Library Redevelopment Plan: Programming and Conceptual Design Study

The campus recently received the final submittal for the Main Library Building’s conceptual design. This document presents the campus with a “preferred option” for the redevelopment of this building, a preferred option that focuses heavily on the collections, services, and disciplinary expertise that have served as the hallmark of the University Library while also embracing the need to provide new services and study environments for undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars. Drawing upon the work of librarians, members of the faculty-led Library Consultation Working Group, and the input of hundreds of individuals who participated in workshops, small group discussions, and meetings over the last eighteen months, the document recommends a conceptual design that enhances the Library’s role as a partner in the campus’ educational process. 

As a conceptual design, the document presents a detailed scenario to test whether the desired elements can fit into the existing and proposed spaces. The details of how that vision is executed, including the exact placement of departments within the space and the other myriad details involved in constructing a contemporary research library still remain to be finalized. For example, page four of the submittal notes: “Placement of individual Departmental Libraries within this floor as shown in plan is tentative and may be adjusted upon further evaluation of the programmatic and spatial needs of each.” What is not tentative is the Library’s commitment to departmental libraries and the services that they offer, to the role of disciplinary specialists in our collection development and management decisions, and to develop an environment that brings scholars, students, and librarians into closer contact on a regular basis. Your feedback will play an important role in how we make that vision real.

Once we have collected feedback and adjusted these plans in response to that feedback, we will engage an architectural firm to develop schematic plans to guide the construction process. Your input will continue to be critical: know that we continue to adjust these plans in response to campus conversations. We will, for example, be changing the placement and size of the departmental libraries in response to discussions at the October 10 Town Hall. The work of the Library Consultation Working Group continues, and we will have more Town Halls in the future. We also welcome feedback online at www.library.illinois.edu/library-building-project/.  

Changes in Library Spaces

It's an exciting time here at the Main Library! Construction has begun on a first-floor central service point which will include a virtual reference desk, consultation space, an accessible consultation/work area, and public computer terminals, printers, and scanners. This new service point, located off the north-south corridor, is expected to be completed after the first of the year. The Library is also pleased to announce that the grand Reading Room on the second floor of the Main Library building will receive new flooring, window treatments, and table lamps. These renovations should be finished during the spring semester. In addition, Room 220 (next door to the Reading Room) will get new furniture and technology as the Library's Scholarly Commons (currently on the third floor) gets ready to relocate there. Touchups to carpeting and ceiling tiles, as well as a new coat of wall paint, are planned as well. All Room 220 updates are expected to be completed in the summer of 2020.

New Strategic Plan

In August, the Library finalized its five-year strategic plan—its roadmap to tomorrow. To underscore the Library's commitment to the university’s mission, it will focus on four priorities: serving as a proactive and trusted partner in scholarship, discovery, and innovation; providing transformative learning experiences for our students; enhancing our societal and global impact; and making strategic investments in our sustainability. The Library's strategic plan will be a critically important tool in guiding and communicating its work in the coming years. You can find a copy at www.library.illinois.edu/geninfo/libraryinit/strategic-framework-2019/.

What Illinois Faculty are Saying About the Library

Laura Payne is a professor and extension specialist in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism. When asked about what she appreciates about the University Library, Dr. Payne said:

"There are so many resources faculty, staff, and students can tap into such as expertise on copyright and fair use that I learned about from Copyright Librarian Sara Benson, the excellent resources our Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL) Librarian JJ Pionke shares via classroom talks to our students, and more specialized resources, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other methodologies. I appreciate the opportunity to provide input into acquisitions in our SSHEL collection. I am excited about the Library Building Project and was astounded at the quality of the collection in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library when I toured it this summer."

We would love to hear your thoughts about the role the Library may be playing in your research and teaching. Share your comments with Heather Murphy at hmurphy@illinois.edu. With permission, the Library may include your feedback in some of its publications where appropriate. 

Meet Spencer Keralis

Spencer D. C. Keralis joined the University Library on June 17. He is the new Digital Humanities Librarian in the Scholarly Communication and Publishing unit. 

Spencer comes to the Library from the University of North Texas, where he served as a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) postdoctoral fellow and then in evolving positions related to digital scholarship. He holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from New York University. 

In addition to general responsibilities for consultation, instruction, and outreach for digital humanities projects, Spencer will serve as the liaison for the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, and he will also serve as the point person for text mining questions across disciplines.

Have questions? Need help? Connect with Spencer Keralis in the Main Library at spencerk@illinois.edu

A Convenient Way to Make an Impact Today

Every day, you make an investment through your service to Illinois. By setting up payroll deduction directed to the areas you care most about on campus, you can have an even greater impact on the lives of all who are touched by the Illinois mission. Please consider the University Library when making a gift. 

Visit the University Library's Office of Advancement website at www.library.illinois.edu/friends/.


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