Today: McKeldin CLOSED


Posted: Dec 13, 2016

Out-of-date Warning This news post is more than three months old and may contain out-of-date information.

A look back at the top stories of another dynamic year at the University Libraries

SEVERN LIBRARY The October opening of Severn Library added much-needed shelving space to the University Libraries and ensures that items housed there are maintained in optimal environmental conditions. Requests for any of its 535,000 materials are filled within one to two days. The high-density, climate-controlled facility will eventually hold approximately three million volumes. Among the items now on its shelves are archival copies of master's theses and doctoral dissertations.


TOP TEXTBOOKS  Students pushed back against the high cost of textbooks by helping raise awareness--and more than $25,000-- to double the size of our popular textbook loan program.  Organizations such as the Student Government Association, MarylandPIRG, and the University Libraries Student Advisory Group campaigned to help other students find some relief. In this case, in the form of short-term loans of textbooks from the largest courses on campus. Students borrowed textbooks 3,383 times in the fall semester--a 183% increase from the previous semester.   


TECHNOLOGY EXPERTISE Home to information managers, programmers, systems analysts, and digitization experts, the University Libraries ramped up efforts to provide software and technology solutions to university departments. For example, we helped to optimize a database for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and are also helping develop software for UMD’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. As further evidence of the primacy of technology in libraries, the Priddy Library in Shady Grove hosted the 2016 MD Tech Connect Conference, attracting nearly 200 library and staff technologists from across Maryland to talk about technology and move ideas into action. 

READING ROOM   To provide a quiet counterpoint to the noisy Terrapin Learning Commons, McKeldin Library repurposed a fourth-floor space to create a light-filled, classic-style reading room for students and researchers. Compared by some to a room straight from the Harry Potter films, it includes large wooden tables with space to spread out, task lighting, and lots of electrical outlets and USB ports. Similarly, renovations to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library feature a new layout, furnishings and services


IMPERILED COLLECTIONS BUDGET  The University Libraries avoided more than $5 million in subscription fees by partnering with other institutions –for example, peers in the Big Ten—to license databases jointly. Despite this cost avoidance, however, the collections budget remains inadequate. In order to avoid a budget deficit, subject librarians canceled several research databases and reduced funds for discretionary monograph purchases across all disciplines. A review of serials conducted by librarians in consultation with collegiate faculty in spring 2016 identified cancellations at levels of 8 percent of the total collections budget. A flat budget and significant serials inflation conspired to create the deficit.


TEACHING AND LEARNING  Librarians are teachers. At a time when the proliferation of fake news and disinformation seems to be grabbing headlines, librarians underscore the importance of media literacy and the need to evaluate information sources.  In total in 2016, the University Libraries led 608 instructions sessions, reaching more than 14,300 students. Librarians are on the frontlines of teaching and learning, helping students find authoritative information quickly.  

RESEARCH COMMONS  Sex and politics framed two successful interdisciplinary forums which convened faculty experts at McKeldin Library. The forums, under the aegis of the Research Commons, conveyed what libraries do best: serve as a connecting point for researchers to collaborate, learn from each other, and create new knowledge. The same guiding principle advances the partnership of the University Libraries, the Division of Research and the Division of Information Technology, which collaborated to create the multifaceted research portal known as IRROC.


EXHIBITS IN ACTION   Covering topics ranging from heavy metal rock and Frederick Douglass to Alice in Wonderland and Fats Domino, popular UMD Libraries exhibits highlighted the unique appeal of special collections. Such collections, often prized by loyal supporters, also foster new partnerships. Members of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, for example, planned a conference to coincide with the Alice exhibit; reps from the university’s Athletics Department joined a new advisory committee pertaining to sports-related archives; and “metalheads” related to libraries as never before.

Related:  Renowned pianist Margaret Leng Tan not only attracted a sold-out performance, but also agreed to donate her performance-caliber toy piano collection.


SPEARE THE TURTLE   Testudo himself, reconceived as the Bard, promoted a series of events, activities, and exhibitions designed to honor the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Joining celebrations held around the world, this distinctly Maryland version brought together numerous libraries and university departments, and was organized jointly by the University Libraries and the Department of English.


GOING DIGITAL   As part of an ongoing national effort to digitize historic newspapers, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the University Libraries a grant of $250,000 to digitize 100,000 pages from Maryland newspapers. This is the third such grant to UMD for this purpose.  Similarly, the entire run of AFL-CIO News, a union newspaper, is digitized and keyword searchable in the Internet Archive. The George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive at UMD, an immense collection, helps establish the university as a top archival repository for labor history.

Related: A first-of-its-kind Charles Fowler Digital Humanist in Residence position at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library will work with students in The Clarice on digital humanities projects.