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Fall 2020 | Volume 22 | Number 1
In This Issue
Note from the Dean
John P. Wilkin
 Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

A special welcome to our new faculty, who I am sure are finding the university especially challenging to navigate during the pandemic. The Library is here for you and committed to supporting our world-class teaching and research while also protecting the health of members of our community. Our collections remain accessible to you and your students, and, in light of the fact that many of us are working remotely, half of our impressive print collection is available online, and most new acquisitions are digital. Our instructional and research support is available to you online, as well, and we offer limited in-building services and study spaces. I encourage you to continue visiting our COVID-19 Response page for the most up-to-date information. This issue of Compendium provides an update on our work to create a home for our rare and archival collections, where physical access will be particularly important. Thank you all for your continuing support of this great library, and we look forward to having our libraries fully open again, to having our collections browsable once more, and to seeing you.

First of Four Phases Gets Committee's OK
Conceptual rendering of a reading room on the basement level of the Special Collections building (JLK Architects)
 Conceptual rendering of a reading room on the basement level of the Special Collections building (JLK Architects)

By Bea Pavia

In April, the Chancellor’s Capital Review Committee approved Phase One of the library building project, ensuring the next chapter of the Library’s development.

“This kicks off this multistage library building project,” Dean John Wilkin said of the action. “And now, in front of us, we have the prospect of this gorgeous, secure, climate-controlled facility for rare and archival collections.”

In Phase One, students and staff will vacate the Undergraduate Library setting by 2022, with plans in place to align and consolidate services for them within the Main Library. UGL will then transform into a space for special collections, including a state-of-the-art vault for archival items, collaborative work spaces, a reading room, and exhibits.

Subsequent stages will then be implemented, each dependent on completing the previous one. The stages (in chronological order) are:

  • PHASE TWO: Demolition and reconstruction of sections one through five of the Main Stacks, preceded by the relocation of University Archives and the Rare Books & Manuscript Library into the renovated space of the former Undergraduate Library
  • PHASE THREE: Repurposing of the Main Library into a collections-centered, research hub for the humanities and social sciences
  • PHASE FOUR: Addition of a roof (of a height and angle so as not to disturb the neighboring Morrow Plots) to the Special Collections building; additional vault added

Funding for Phase One’s Special Collections building—estimated at nearly $50 million—is proceeding apace. The university has provided more than half of that amount, along with several million in deferred maintenance funds; the Library has contributed $3 million in building funds from its budget; and approximately $6.5 million in donor gifts has been gathered. While initial projections saw the entire project finished four years from now, revised estimates now see early 2024 as the time frame for completing Phase One.

“We are very grateful,” Wilkin said, “to the university and to all of the other people who have helped us make this possible—to bring to life something extraordinary in the history of the university and the Library.”

For continual updates on the project, visit the website at library.illinois.edu/library-building-project.

Publications Expand to Online Textbooks

By Bea Pavia

“Illinois Open Publishing Network” may be a mouthful, but its abbreviation—IOPN—offers a short but sweet message.

Pronounced “I Open,” the acronym refers not only to the University of Illinois but to the unit’s mission: to disseminate scholarly works via an open-access, online format.

And IOPN’s offerings are, well, eye opening. Launched collaboratively by the Library five years ago, the digital publishing initiative provides services for higher education “where the publication needs of the authors go beyond the typical offerings of traditional presses,” said Dan Tracy, MA ’02 LAS, PHD ’08 LAS, MS ’12 LIS, who heads the Library’s Scholarly Communication and Publishing unit and has directed IOPN’s activities since 2018. Because the publications appear online, a variety of obstacles can be overcome—multimedia elements, such as video, interactive maps, and data visualizations, can be incorporated; access is easily obtained; and additional pain to student budgets is eliminated.

IOPN has been producing conference monographs, translated biographies, and literary studies, but in August it published its first two textbooks: Instruction in Libraries and Information Centers: An Introduction by Laura Saunders and Melissa A. Wong, and A Person-Centered Guide to Demystifying Technology by Martin Wolske (Wong and Wolske teach at the UI School of Information Sciences). Downloadable, PDF versions of the works are also available, with the librarianship text to offer a print-on-demand option as well. To view the textbooks, visit doi.org/10.21900/wd.12 and doi.org/10.21900/wd.7, respectively.

IOPN has worked hard to spread the word about the usefulness of open textbooks. “It’s something that we can do that contributes to the academic and teaching mission of our institution,” Tracy said, “that also helps out students . . . by saving them money.” He’s hoping the venture opens both doors and minds.

Library Services Slowly Reopen This Fall
 Rand Hartsell from Central Access Services prepares books for pickup in the Main Library. Photo by Cherie' Weible

By Bea Pavia

This fall, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the flow of information and aid on the University of Illinois campus will still be running—in a careful and slightly expanded manner.

When the virus hit the U.S. last spring, campus abandoned in-person instruction and adjusted its teaching and resource services. For the university to complete its spring semester, the Library responded quickly and nimbly (see Friendscript, Spring 2020). That focused response continues as the university cautiously reopens.

“I liken the Library’s services to a faucet,” Dean John Wilkin said. “We want to ensure that we have a baseline of services like access to collections, reference and research support, and instruction, and that we can open the faucet more in response to demand and changing circumstances.”

Back on campus, students and faculty found all digital services and collections functioning, and remote reference and consultations available. Many of last spring’s restrictions, however, necessarily remain in place, such as electronic resources being the go-to best option for those seeking materials.

This fall, however, three libraries allow limited entry: the Main Library and Grainger Engineering Library Information Center (for on-site consultation) and the Undergraduate Library (for loanable technology pickups and use of media creation spaces). Patrons can pick up requested items at lockers placed in the Main Library and Grainger, and two libraries (Grainger and UGL) offer bookable, modified study spaces.

When patrons access a campus library—after having their health status screened via the Safer Illinois phone app or Boarding Pass option—they enter a safety-conscious environment. Floors are marked and taped; health-care reminder signs abound; furniture is spaced; stations offer masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer; and barriers are up at service counters.

Chris Prom, PHD ’02 LAS, associate university librarian for digital strategies, served as the point of coordination for the Library’s reopening efforts. He said flexibility was key in planning for a campus comeback comprising many unknown variables.

“I would say my greatest concern has been keeping up the flow of communication, to help people to understand . . . why we are . . . doing things the way we are doing them,” Prom said. “I am very confident that we’re doing the right thing, and that we are meeting campus needs and our student and faculty needs in the best way possible under the circumstances.”

The Library expects to make adjustments as the semester goes on. Hopes are that—slowly and carefully—the flow of resources will return full stream.

What Illinois Faculty are Saying About the Library

Lori Newcomb is an associate professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Illinois.

"Universities grow around libraries, and the UI Library is certainly the living heart of my research and teaching. The breadth and depth of this collection allow us to recover history’s many voices, so they can speak to us in all their surprising variety. The more my students, graduate and undergraduate, spend their daily lives online, the more curious they are about the printed books that were owned and read by men and women across the centuries."

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

Meet Monica Carroll

The Library welcomed Monica Carroll as Engineering and Physical Sciences Liaison and Innovation Librarian on January 16. Monica holds a doctorate in Geochemistry from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the School of Information Sciences at Illinois. She has extensive experience as a laboratory scientist at, most recently, Northern Illinois University, and has been engaged in numerous collaborative projects on information management in the sciences. Monica also has an extensive presentation and publication record in the geosciences. She will serve as a liaison and outreach librarian to several departments in the College of Engineering and physical sciences departments and will also be involved in several entrepreneurial and research support activities in the physical sciences and engineering libraries.

Have questions? Need help? Connect with Monica Carroll in the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center at monicac3@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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