Georgia Tech's Library Celebrates Major Award

The Library and Information Center was selected by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) to receive the 2007 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award

The Georgia Tech Library has transformed into an organization that connects people from around campus in a friendly academic environment, and that effort is being recognized nationally. The Library and Information Center was selected by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) to receive the 2007 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award 'for its impressive five-year transformation into the heart and the soul of the community.'

"This award derives from the hard work and accomplishments of Library staff," said Richard Meyer dean and director of Libraries. "Our staff has contributed to organizational change, the re-engineering of services and jobs, and a fresh and focused engagement with our students, faculty and staff. Their dedication overrides concerns for personal reward. We and our campus partners are 'caught up' in this good work. So it's particularly sweet that winning this award gives us pause to take pride in our accomplishments and service to Georgia Tech. It helps our staff to know that our work has made a national impact."

The prestigious national award, which is funded by Blackwell Book Services, recognizes the achievements of a community college, college and university library each year. Criteria for the award include demonstrating outstanding leadership; providing advanced resources for students, faculty and staff; and the development of innovative services and programs that respond to the diverse educational needs of an institution.

"Judges made note of the speed, comprehensiveness and relevance of our transformations 'into the heart and soul of the university,'" said Crit Stuart, associate director for Public Services. "Our experiments in individual and group study spaces, the West and East Commons, coupled with a superb information technology training program in the Multimedia Studio, have a national influence."

Stuart continued, "We doubled library attendance in four years. Judges made note of our digital initiatives, which include the creation of a rapidly growing and heavily used institutional repository (SMARTech), and of award-winning programs to improve access to and usability of electronic resources and Web-based services. Our transformation provides a model for other academic libraries."

In its announcement of this year's winners, the ACRL commended Georgia Tech's Library and Information Center for creating a stimulating and engaging physical environment and making imaginative use of a public space for two information commons, a café, a presentation room and a multimedia center, which have transformed the library into a vibrant gathering place. The ACRL also praised programs such as CeLIBration during Freshman Week and Tuesday Talks, a showcase for faculty research, that invite the community to the library.

"We want to publicly recognize that this distinction is shared with our students, faculty and staff, as well as with our library colleagues," said Meyer. "We especially note the contributions of our Georgia Tech partners: Office of Information Technology, CETL, Success Programs, Counseling Center, Undergraduate Academic Advising, the Class of 1955, and several academic units. Our strong ties to Georgia Tech students are cemented through our Student Advisory Council, which helped to spearhead several of our big initiatives. And we have many productive relationships with outstanding teaching faculty and researchers at Tech."

In addition to a plaque, honorees are awarded $3,000 and receive special recognition during the ACRL President's Program at the annual American Library Association Conference in Washington, D.C. on June 25.

The library will be marking the achievement with a campus celebration on April 10.