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Spring 2021 | Volume 22 | Number 2


Note from the Dean


John P. Wilkin

 Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

I’m hopeful that we are seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and I am sure that many of you will be encouraged to hear that we are working with the campus to restore most in-person library services in the fall (for the most up-to-date information, I encourage you to visit our COVID-19 Response page). This change comes at an auspicious time for the Library and for the university. We now have clear plans and a preliminary timetable for adapting the Undergraduate Library as a special collections building, an effort that will help us to protect, preserve, and share our rare, special, and archival collections. I’m happy to report that most of our funding for the first phase is in place, all with the support of both the provost and chancellor. Taking this first step will also allow us to begin planning for a major renovation to the Main Library. The Library is grateful for the initial generous gifts to this effort, given by those in support of the vision to transform the University Library, to preserve and expand our collections, and to ensure that we have future library spaces that support the work of our faculty and students. While the road ahead may be a bit bumpy, this truly is an important milestone for our great library and one that will lay the groundwork for generations of scholars to come. You’ll read more about the first phase of this important work below (see Main/Undergraduate Library Integration Project).


Design of Archives and Special Collections Building Moving Forward

 Quote from Provost Cangellaris at Illinois

Two architectural/engineering firms have been selected for the design of the Library's new archives and special collections building; an announcement is imminent.

A team led by these firms will embark on transforming the current Undergraduate Library building into a facility that will house the University Archives, the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, and the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Their work will kick off the first phase of a multi-stage project that will culminate in the redevelopment of the 100-year old Main Library Building as a rich hub of research and learning for the University’s community of humanities and social sciences scholars.

The Library issued a Request for Proposals for a design architect on October 22, 2020. A total of 25 proposals were received and evaluated. After narrowing the pool down to seven, a final round of presentations and evaluations led to a strong endorsement by members of the Library and the project team of the submittal delivered by two firms. 

The selected firms will be announced soon on the Library's website, its social media channels (Facebook and Twitter), and through Eweek.


Main/Undergraduate Library Integration Project Draft Plans Posted


The Library has posted drafts of working group reports detailing plans for integrating core student services offered in the Undergraduate Library into other campus libraries over the coming year. The drafts provide initial recommendations informed by discussions and analysis of long-term usage data and recent student surveys that have taken place over the past several months. The Main/Undergraduate Library Integration Project will result in new and refined combinations of student-focused services, which address both time-honored and emerging needs for supporting academic and student life success.

Students, faculty, and staff are invited to an open forum to discuss the project’s progress and make recommendations to team members on Thursday, May 6 at 10:30 a.m. Register for Zoom link.

Final recommendations will be presented to the Library’s Executive Committee in May 2021. Implementation of the team’s recommendations will begin in Summer 2021, with the Undergraduate Library formally closing in Spring 2022 to allow for the construction of the archives and special collections building. Library personnel will continue to assess services and make adjustments as the archives and special collections building project is completed. The Library welcomes feedback from students, faculty, and staff on priorities for undergraduate library services, and significant areas the team should focus on in designing spaces that encourage community building among undergraduate students while connecting them to academic and student life needs.

To provide feedback, please fill out our survey here: 


New Transformative Open Access Agreements


U of I researchers publishing as the corresponding author in Cambridge University Press (CUP) journals and in two PLOS (Public Library of Science) journals are eligible for a waiver of open access (OA) publishing fees for any article submitted as of January 1, 2021. 

The new pilot license agreements, negotiated by the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), provides authors from Illinois the opportunity to publish their articles Open Access for no additional cost. The pilot agreement with Cambridge lasts two years, while the PLOS agreement will continue for three years.

More details about both agreements are on the BTAA website at www.btaa.org/library/scholarly-communication/open-scholarship.

For a list of existing waivers with other publishers, visit guides.library.illinois.edu/oapolicy/apc



Doris Duke Native Oral History Revitalization Project


The University of Illinois Archives has been awarded a two-year grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to digitize and enhance access to its Doris Duke Indian Oral History Program Archives. Illinois is one of seven institutions participating in the Doris Duke Native Oral History Revitalization Project led by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums. The project’s Co-Investigators (Bethany Anderson, Natural and Applied Sciences Archivist and Assistant Professor; Christopher J. Prom, Associate Dean for Digital Strategies; and Jenny L. Davis, Associate Professor of American Indian Studies and Anthropology and Chancellor’s Fellow of Indigenous Research and Ethics) seek to collaborate with and build and strengthen respectful relationships with the Native Nations documented in the Doris Duke Oral History Program Archives, making the materials accessible in ways that honor and respect the traditional knowledge of the Nations they represent. For more information about the project, contact Bethany Anderson


What Illinois Faculty are Saying About the Library


Harry Liebersohn is an Emeritus Center for Advanced Study Professor of History at Illinois.

"Amid the many difficulties of the COVID year, the Library stood out as one of the places that beautifully served the university community and kept our intellects fresh. With the help of the Library’s vast electronic services, I was able to do most of my research; I also got a whole new appreciation for the resources that let me read books from 1800 as well as the latest scholarly articles. I am immensely grateful to Dean Wilkin and the Library staff for keeping the life of the mind burning bright through a trying time." 

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 Susan Breakenridge


Susan Breakenridge started on March 16 as the Library's Assistant Dean for Business and Human Resources and will lead the University Library's HR and fiscal operations.

Susan is originally from Iowa and received her BA, MBA, and EdD degrees from Drake University. She comes to Illinois from the University of Oregon, where she was the Assistant Dean for Library Administrative Services. Prior to Oregon, she also held administrative and library roles at Rowan University in New Jersey and Drake University. She has more than 25 years of experience in human resources management and 15 years of experience in business operations.

Connect with Susan at susanb3@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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