Letter from the University Librarian
Dear University of Illinois Faculty Member:
You may be aware that the University Library has declined in ranking from the third-largest to fourth-largest academic library in terms of volume count. The Association of Research Libraries reports that the University of Toronto now holds 12,000 volumes more than our current total of 10.5 million. Despite this decline, our library remains in the ranks of the great academic research libraries in North America, a group that includes Harvard, Yale, Toronto, and Berkeley.
The value of an academic library is not predicated on its volume count or other statistics alone. Rather, it comes from acquiring deep and broad collections, developing innovative services, and most importantly, providing access to intellectual content when and where it is needed.
The change in the Library’s ranking in large part derives from strategic investment decisions based on the contemporary needs of our faculty, students, and researchers. As teaching methods and models for scholarly communication evolve, our challenge lies in determining how to allocate best our limited budget dollars. The Library has a responsibility to spend judiciously in order to fulfill our mission of providing expert assistance and access to information for all of our users.
The future of the Library lies in the strength of our collections in all formats and in new strategies for effectively delivering content and services. This trend is reflected in current initiatives such as the reorganization of some of our traditional departmental libraries to offer more vigorous, relevant, cost-effective service programs; our participation in the Open Content Alliance and Google Book programs, which digitize materials and make them available to citizens throughout the world; the Undergraduate Library Learning Commons, which provides students with enhanced learning environments; and IDEALS, a digital repository that provides increased visibility and dissemination of the scholarly works of our faculty.
Now and in the years to come, the Library serves as a portal for learning outside the classroom and as a physical and virtual destination for those seeking intellectual engagement. If you have any questions or comments about our collections and services, please contact me via e-mail or by telephone at 333-0790.
Paula Kaufman, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries