In April 2012, I arrived at DePaul University just as the library was preparing to undertake the second phase of the John T. Richardson Library renovation and to craft a strategic plan aligned with the university’s Vision 2018. As I celebrate my 5-year anniversary at DePaul, and as we prepare to complete the third phase of the renovation and to think beyond Vision 2018, I’d like to share some reflections on the work we’ve done together.
Among our most significant accomplishments over the past 5 years has been our increasing engagement with campus colleagues, not only across the Division of Teaching and Learning Resources and Academic Affairs, but with Student Affairs, Enrollment Management & Marketing, Alumni Affairs, and other groups with whom we’ve been able to work to demonstrate the library’s contributions to the strategic goals of the university.
Some of the work of which we’ve been most proud includes:
- Implementing revised information literacy instruction programs and learning goals for undergraduate students, especially in first-year programs, where we have recently collaborated with colleagues to launch a First-Year-Program Library Research Prize;
- Establishing program partnerships in support of student success found in the Richardson Library Learning Commons;
- Supporting innovation in teaching, learning, and research, especially in the areas of digital humanities and digital scholarship, through the resources and expertise available through the Richardson Library Scholar’s Lab and our expanding digital services program; and,
- Expanding awareness and use of special collections and other primary source materials through the development of the DePaul Heritage Collections, an expanded special collections instruction program, and community engagement initiatives such as the Into the Archives feature in DePaul’s Newsline.
Community engagement, more broadly, has also been a focus for the library over the past 5 years, as we’ve worked to demonstrate the value of the library and our librarians to DePaul’s larger contribution to the life of the City of Chicago. We have dedicated the most effort to the launch of Chicago Collections, a unique consortium of libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies that represents a critical support for our faculty and students teaching, learning, researching, and completing service learning programs across the city, but have also explored new partnerships with K-12 schools in Chicago, especially those supporting IB programs or wishing to make use of DePaul collections for History Fair and AP Research classes. Most recently, staff in our Special Collections and Archives collaborated with staff in the College of Education to create a “teaching kit,” designed to allow K-12 teachers to bring resources from the Sr. Helen Prejean collection into their classrooms. With the completion of the third phase of the library renovation, we will be able to further explore what the DePaul University Library contributes to the broader environment for innovation and entrepreneurship across the city.
Finally, we have maintained our commitment to cementing our place as not only the pre-eminent place for scholarship in Vincentian Studies, but as a critical resource for those with a broader interest in Catholic Studies and in social justice. Now more than ever, our role as a library with a mission-centered commitment to social justice is an essential driver for the work we do.
This is a very incomplete list of the work that library staff have done in recent years, and I encourage you to review our “Top 10” lists for 2015 and 2016 for additional examples. 2017 is the beginning of my next 5 years at DePaul, and new opportunities are everywhere for partnership with our campus colleagues and for impact on the work that our students and faculty pursue through the new spaces and services to be made available as part of the ongoing Richardson Library renovation.
If you are interested in learning more about these library programs, or how the library can become part of your work in the classroom or the community, please contact your liaison librarian. We have done great work together over the past 5 years, and I am looking forward to more.