September 14, 2007
Service to the People, Service to the State
Public engagement is one of the strategic directions for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as it re-commits itself to its land-grant mission as part of its strategic plan. The Library helps to advance the campus mission of public engagement through a number of service programs directed at professionals and members of the public around the state.
The Veterinary Medicine Library, for example, provides reference and document delivery services to veterinarians around the state, including those at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo and Shedd Aquarium. Vet Med also collaborates with the Champaign Public Library to support maintain the Pet Care Home Page for Champaign-Urbana.
The Agricultural, Consumer, & Environmental Sciences (ACES) Library provides access to library resources and services to agricultural professionals and local groups around the state as part of the University of Illinois Extension program, and provides service to a national audience through its contributions to the Agricultural Network Information Center (AgNIC).
And, while the ACES Library provides support for Illinois County Extension Offices, the Illinois Natural History Survey Library supports scientists around the state at field stations where they conduct studies on the rivers, lakes, ponds, and prairies of Illinois. Like the Vet Med Library, the Natural History Survey Library provides reference and document delivery services to state scientists, and, like the ACES Library, its library staff help to provide digital access to research materials that provide direct support for our colleagues in the field.
The Library is proud to support the land-grant mission of the University of Illinois, both through the direct provision of services and collections to the citizens of the state, and through direct support for campus-wide outreach and engagement initiatives.
July 27, 2007
Digital Dailies Draw Demand
Earlier this month, I mentioned the ways that digitization projects were spawning new service programs. Today, we see that there is nothing the media likes more than stories related to the media.
As proof, see the stories in our local paper, the News-Gazette and on our local NPR affiliate, WILL, about the launch of the Digital Urbana Daily Courier project.
While both stories aim at strong local interest, the radio segment, in particular, provided Mary Stuart, Head of the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library, with an opportunity to discuss issues such as digital preservation, best practices for providing ongoing access to endangered information resources, and the range of academic inquiry and popular interests that might be supported through support for digital newspaper projects like this one.
July 19, 2007
K-16 Educational Programs
The UIUC Library is unusual among research university libraries in that our system includes a high school library - a distinctive feature that allows us to reach out to local students (and parents), and to take a broad view of information and technology literacy as a critical component of lifelong learning.
For over a decade, students at University Laboratory High School have been required to take a two-semester Computer Literacy course sequence - a sequence that includes the study of safe, responsible, and ethical use of information and communication technologies. Classroom faculty, librarians, and school counselors come together in this program to present role-playing scenarios, facilitate online discussions, and helping students to engage in discussion and debate on the ethics of information use.
This program dovetails nicely with the NetSafe program recently developed by the Illinois Library Association. The NetSafe bookmarks provide an opportunity to extend the Uni High information skills curriculum, both by reinforcing lessons given to students on "Safe Blogging" and "Cyberbullying," and by providing another avenue for discussing information skills instruction with parents (who already take part in the course Web site evaluation project). They also provide an opportunity for us to work with our colleagues in local public and school libraries also taking part in NetSafe.
Safe blogging, or the related issue of appropriate use of social networking sites, is an information and technology literacy issue that bridges the gap between high school and college, and the University Library is fortunate to have a unique resource for studying that transition (and helping to prepare future college students for the rigors of academic life) in the Uni High Library and its librarian, Frances Jacobson Harris.
July 18, 2007
New Librarians, New Services
The "down-side" to successfully promoting the value of your library to your users and to the members of your community is that you have to meet new service demands. Now, that is a problem that we like to have!
This week brings us new resources to meet our commitment to serve a broad range of user needs. Jim Hahn has joined the UIUC Library as Orientation Services Librarian in the Undergraduate Library, and will be focusing his attention on service to prospective, incoming, and first-year students through collaboration with programs such as Campus Visit, Parents' Programs, New Student Programs, Quad Day, and University 101.
The UIUC Library is committed to providing a full range of services to our student community, and Jim's arrival is welcome. We promise to keep him busy.
July 17, 2007
Digital Engagement a Deux
In earlier posts, I've talked about the importance of digital engagement with the community, and about the importance of building service programs for digital initiatives. The hazy days of summer bring us two more excellent examples for the UIUC Library.
First, our digital books project (produced in collaboration with the Open Content Alliance) has a new blog: Digitized Book of the Week. If you are an Illinois alum, a citizen of the State of Illinois, or simply a fan of great books about Illinois, its people, or its concerns, there is something in here for you. Books featured so far include: The Dance of Death (1892), the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and Champaign County (1905), and Practical Corn Culture (1914). Illinois buffs can even receive weekly updates through the RSS feed.
And, if that wasn't enough, you can find even more digital content for local historians at the launch of the digital version of the Urbana Daily Courier (1916-25) at the Urbana Free Library on Saturday, July 28th, at 10 am. Digitization of the important source for the study of Illinois history has been coordinated by our History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library, and made possible by support from a grant from the Illinois State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, with additional support from the Clifford Family Endowment.
Both these projects will help to bring the rich resources of the UIUC Library to our users across the State of Illinois, and around the world, and we look forward to helping you use it for your research, teaching, and study.
June 13, 2007
In an earlier post, I talked about the ways in which content digitization projects allow us to pursue a variety of new (or enhanced) service initiatives. As the content available through Illinois Harvest continues to increase, we are already seeing this potential realized. Today's example demonstrates how digitization projects can enhance public engagement programs at the University of Illinois.
Earlier this month, Betsy Kruger, Coordinator of Digital Content Creation, and Mary Stuart, Head, History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library, joined other Library colleagues in making presentations about digital content to the Third Annual Illinois Teaching American History Conference and to the "School Library Day" program sponsored by the Lincoln Trails Library System. Just as the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas demonstrated with its contribution to the Territorial Kansas Online project, the combination of digital content and subject expertise can form the basis of powerful partnerships between academic libraries, allied cultural heritage organizations and professional groups, and members of the community.
Kudos to Betsy, Mary, and Kurt Groetsch for helping us to build on our existing relations with librarians and teachers across the State of Illinois, and to give us a taste of those library services that we will (continue to) build on the platform provided by our large-scale digitization projects.
April 27, 2007
Lifelong Learning @ Your Library
Earlier this Spring, we announced our collaboration with the UIUC Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Founded in our campus commitment to public engagement, as well as our organizational commitment to meeting the University's land-grant mission, Library involvement in the OLLI program will allow us to directly support the lifelong learning goals of OLLI participants, as well as to build on our rich tradition of providing library services to residents of the State of Illinois, and other members of the general public.
Please visit the OLLI Library Services page for more details about the services and resources to which OLLI participants will have access. Please contact OLLI liaison librarian Merinda Hensley (Central Reference) if you would like to know more about our future plans for working with OLLI faculty and students or to volunteer to take part in OLLI programming.
Kudos to the many faculty and staff, both in the Library and in CITES, who have worked over the past 6 months to identify how best to serve these new members of the UIUC student body!