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2017 Year in Review

Posted: Dec 14, 2017

Out-of-date Warning This news post is more than three months old and may contain out-of-date information.


Social justice issues and their intersection with America’s labor movement inspired a major exhibit drawing primarily from the historical archives of the AFL-CIO. The Hornbake Library exhibit, For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America, explores turning points in the labor movement around issues including civil rights, women’s movements, immigrants’ rights, religious freedom and more. The AFL-CIO archives, a gift from the labor federation in 2013, is the largest such donation to the university and has helped establish UMD as a top archival repository for labor history. The exhibit runs through July 2018.



Expensive textbooks can create financial burdens that threaten student success. To help ease these burdens, we pursued two complementary solutions: 1) Further promoted the use of open educational resources by joining the Open Textbook Network. As a result of this membership, we hosted a workshop for faculty members designed to increase awareness about open resources available to them as instructors, including the free-to-use online Open Textbook Library.  2)  Expanded our Top Textook loan program which offers textbooks for short-term loan, and, with student leaders and partners at the Division of Residential Life, launched a first-ever textbook donation drive to supplement our textbook collection. 


Results from a campuswide library satisfaction survey of 5,000 respondents confirmed what we often hear anecdotally: the academic community values our quality of service and the ways in which we support learning, research and teaching. Faculty particularly valued service, giving high marks for interactions with employees, whom they perceive as consistently courteous and willing to help. Undergraduates, likewise, valued service but gave lower marks on issues pertaining to space. Responses will inform changes to services and spaces and help us plan for the future.



Borrowers want more than books.  In addition to the dozens of tech items long available through our equipment loan program (laptops, iPads and laptops), a new “tryables/hackables” program originating from McKeldin Library loans items such as Apple Watch and Microsoft Hololens. We also expanded services to loan recreation and play equipment year-round, thanks to a fruitful partnership with RecWell. Similarly, thanks to BikeUMD, we offer bike helmets and pumps. Therapy dogs? Those too, thanks to the Health Center, but you can’t check them out.



Student publishers on campus convened at our first Terps Publish event, a roundtable and networking opportunity organized to show how we support digital publishing. We highlighted our ability to help publishers leverage software, manage submissions, understand copyright issues, archive their publications and more. Look for a second annual event in April 2018.



The push to make information freely available online continues to grow.  This fall we joined with the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Department of Sociology to co-sponsor the first national conference for SocArXiv, serving to showcase the tools and methods of open scholarship for the social sciences. Presenters traveled from California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, and Canada. The conference complements other efforts to promote open access such as DRUM, the university’s digital repository for scholarship.



Historic issues of The Diamondback are now online and fully searchable, thanks to a new database we launched in October. Fully searchable text accompanies images of newspaper issues dating from 1910 to 1971. The project draws on expertise gained by digitizing more than 300,000 pages of historic newspapers from the State of Maryland, thanks to funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Those newspapers are freely accessible on the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website.



Faculty showcased their scholarship. We highlighted faculty research in our continuing Interdisciplinary Dialogues series, which in 2017 explored the topics of Fake News/Alternative Facts and Immigration in the Age of Trump. Similarly, and also under the umbrella of the Research Commons, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library introduced STEAM Salon, an informal and engaging series of faculty and student speakers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. The Speaking of Books series continued gave faculty opportunities to showcase their books. And finally, the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library hosted a symposium to celebrate the life and works of Imgard Bartenieff, the founder of the Bartenieff/Laban Institute of Movement Studies.



Librarians wrangled tight budgets to increase spending power. Now more than 80 percent of our collections budget is earmarked for e-resources. Overall, librarians are shifting focus from ownership of resources to access. By freeing funds from large journal packages with high inflation, librarians have greater flexibility to acquire new types of resources—such as streaming media, data sets, or data visualizations—at the point of need. In this demand-driven model, the library provides access to a resource only when a user actually wants it.   



We increased the ways in which we helped faculty find and evaluate information. We collectively taught 664 instructional sessions for about 14,000 students, responded to 11,902 inquiries and research requests, and developed specialized workshops such as Common Quandaries and GIS. With the Graduate School we sponsored writing- and research-oriented events, and through our model Research and Teaching Fellowship we helped train and develop future librarians.