Big Ten Open Books Project Launches

The University Library is pleased to be part of the launch of Big Ten Open Books, a collaboration between the member libraries of the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) and six member university presses. This project demonstrates and nurtures a robust partnership based on mutually held values between presses and libraries to address the future of scholarly monograph publishing, access, and preservation.

The first 100-title collection of open access materials, published on open access infrastructure and distributed through open discovery systems, centers on Gender and Sexuality studies.

“This is an exciting example of what’s possible when our Big Ten libraries and presses work together to design entirely new models for disseminating scholarship,” said Claire Stewart, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at Illinois. “I’m optimistic that this strong start will lead to even more ambitious collaborations in the future. Vibrant university presses are an essential part of our shared knowledge creation mission, and I’m delighted that we’ve reached this key milestone.”

News release courtesy of the Big Ten Academic Alliance

IFSI Library Receives IMLS Grant

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) Library has been selected to receive an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) FY2023 National Leadership Grants – Libraries award. This grant funds the “Libraries as Partners for Emergency Response and Preparedness in Times of Crisis” project. The Illinois Fire Service Institute and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, in partnership with the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois and the School of Information Sciences at UIUC, will conduct a preliminary investigation into partnerships between libraries and community emergency response by focusing on three key areas: 1) types of emergencies that libraries have responded to in the past, 2) scope and nature of library-community partnerships; and 3) role of libraries during a crisis. The project will create case studies, survey libraries and community partners, and host two Community Engagement Roundtables (CERs) with library staff, community partners, and participants nationwide. Project results will provide a baseline understanding of how libraries can establish and maintain successful partnerships with community emergency response groups during crises.

For more information about the IFSI Library, visit

The National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program (NLG-L) supports projects that address critical needs of the library and archives fields and have the potential to advance practice and strengthen library and archival services for the American public. For more information, visit

University Library Taking Precautions Handling Victorian-Era Book Cloth

In light of recent research showing the possible presence of heavy metals in 19th Century book cloth, the University of Illinois Library is advising all staff and patrons to use caution when handling books in original cloth covers dating from 1800-1899. Monographs published between 1800-1899 will be temporarily inaccessible while we assess the scope and potential risk, but we will be working as quickly as possible to make items available for checkout. Many of these titles are available digitally through HathiTrust and are linked within our online catalog. If an item you need is not available digitally, it may be available via I-Share (linked within the catalog record) or through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). If the item is not available through I-Share or ILL, please use the Public Domain Digitization Request Form to request digitization. Digital Reformatting staff will assess the condition of the item to determine whether it can be scanned. 

Until we know more about which items may pose a health risk, please:  

  • Wear disposable nitrile gloves if you may come in contact with 19th Century materials in original cloth bindings 
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling materials 
  • Do not rub your eyes, nose, or touch your face while handling materials  
  • Wash hands with soap and water immediately after handling materials 

Visit the Heavy Metals in Book Cloth webpage for guidance on identifying original publisher cloth bindings and to learn more about this project. 

Please also see “University Library taking precautions with Victorian-era books that may have heavy metal-based pigments” from the News Bureau.

Interim Closure of the Mathematics Library at Altgeld Hall

The Mathematics Library will be closing to the public at 5pm on May 12, 2023, for the renovation of Altgeld Hall and the current Library space. During this interim period of renovation work, the Mathematics Library collections will be transferred to the Main Library Stacks (1 East Main Stacks area) and the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center (GELIC) and can be physically viewed at these locations starting later this summer (2023).

Mathematics Library items can still be requested and picked up (and returned) at any campus library during this interim period.

The Mathematics Library staff will continue to be available by phone (217-333-0258) and email ( for your research needs and Mathematics Library services are accessible through its website at

Extended and Expanded Free Open Access Publishing in Wiley Journals

News release courtesy of the Big Ten Academic Alliance:

Following a trial in 2022, the University Library, as part of the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), has extended and expanded an agreement with Wiley to waive article processing fees for open access articles published by University of Illinois researchers. There are no fees, no caps, no limits, no hassle; authors keep rights to their own work under a Creative Commons license. This includes all hybrid and fully open access journals published by Wiley, including Hindawi journals. For more information on this waiver and others negotiated by the Library and BTAA, follow the link to the BTAA news release above.

UIUC Becomes Full Member of Digital Preservation Coalition

News release courtesy of the Digital Preservation Coalition:

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) is delighted to welcome the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as they become the Coalition’s newest Full Member.

With a mature digital preservation program, the University of Illinois Library has a bespoke digital preservation repository and staffing for digitization, curation, and computer programming. Its mission is to ensure continued access and use of digital materials stewarded by the library.

“Since our first engagements with the DPC, faculty and staff at Illinois have found it to be a critical connecting mechanism as part of the international digital preservation community,” explains Christopher Prom, Interim University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “The work in which the DPC engages cuts across typical boundaries, and we look forward to deepening our own connections to the DPC member network.”

Juan Bicarregui, Chair of the DPC was delighted to welcome the team at the University of Illinois saying: “Through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s membership, we not only extend the community of DPC Members in the USA, as they contribute their experiences to this growing network of expertise, but we also build upon that all-important collaboration and connectedness which are so vital to building a coalition scaled to the global challenge of digital preservation.”

The DPC is an international charitable foundation which supports digital preservation, helping its members around the world to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services through community engagement, targeted advocacy work, training and workforce development, capacity building, good practice and standards, and through good management and governance. Its vision is a secure digital legacy.

Prom Named Interim Dean of Libraries and University Librarian

Christopher Prom has been appointed to serve as the Interim Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian (Designate) pending approval by the Board of Trustees.

Professor Prom takes on this role after John P. Wilkin stepped down on November 30, 2022. The search process to recruit the next permanent dean is in its final stages. A new dean will be announced early in the spring semester. Professor Prom has agreed to serve in this interim role until the next dean’s appointment begins.

“Professor Prom emerged as the best candidate to serve in this important transitional role. Chris brings more than two decades of experience as a scholar and an administrator in the University Library. He has earned the trust of colleagues within the Library and across the campus. I am confident his leadership will allow the University Library to continue to advance its academic, research and service missions,” said Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost William T. Bernhard.


Christoper J. Prom is a Professor in the University Library and currently serves in two administrative roles: Acting Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation — Humanities, Arts and Related Fields (May 2022 – ) and Associate Dean for Digital Strategies — University Library (2018 – ).  From 2000 to 2018, he served as Assistant University Archivist in the University of Illinois Archives.

Chris holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marquette University and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois (2004).  He is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists and previously served as its Publications Editor and Chair of the Publications Board.  He researches, presents, and teaches on topics related to digital archives and the preservation of digital cultural heritage materials.  He is currently directing two sponsored projects: Email Archives: Building Capacity and Community and Email Archiving in PDF: From Initial Specification to Community of Practice. Chris is also co-chair of the program committee for iPres 2023, an international digital preservation conference, which will be held at the University of Illinois in September 2023.  

Advancing Open Scholarship through HELIOS Initiative

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is pleased to be part of the HELIOS (Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship) initiative. Along with other colleges and universities, Illinois is committed to advancing Open Scholarship and promoting a more transparent, inclusive, and trustworthy research ecosystem.

HELIOS includes members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Higher education leaders affiliated with NASEM came together to ensure that open practices are applied throughout the teaching, learning, research, and scholarly environment in the best interest of the public and universities.

“HELIOS has grown out of a recognition that our universities must engage with the world, and an appreciation of the importance of the public’s access to our research,” said University Librarian and Dean of Libraries John P. Wilkin. “I am happy to serve as a representative to HELIOS on behalf of Illinois.”

Although the HELIOS effort pre-dates the new White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announcement on August 25, 2022, the updated OSTP guidance makes the work of HELIOS especially timely. New requirements will apply to all federal agencies, requiring federally-funded research be made openly available to the public.

“Illinois is fortunate to have a head start on addressing these new requirements,” Wilkin said. “Support structures are already in place and we have negotiated several key agreements to ensure that Illinois faculty will be able to publish much of their research Open Access at no cost to them.”

The University Library at Illinois, with support from Chancellor Robert J. Jones, launched a new website detailing the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s participation in HELIOS. The site will also include any HELIOS updates and activities. Visit

Illinois Newspaper Project Receives NEH Grant

The Illinois Newspaper Project (INP) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library has received a grant of $299,977 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), to digitize 100,000 pages of historical Illinois newspapers, as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the NEH and the Library of Congress. An NDNP partner since 2009, the Illinois Newspaper Project has contributed over 500,000 pages of digitized newspaper content.

The goal of the 2022-2024 grant is to digitize newspapers from geographically and demographically diverse Illinois communities. To this end, newspapers will be selected through a proposal process open to all Illinois libraries and cultural heritage repositories. Celestina Savonius-Wroth (head of the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library) and William Schlaack (Digital Reformatting Coordinator for Preservation Services) will lead the project.