Since the Thomas Tredway Library opened in 1990, it has often been referred to as "the living room of the campus," serving as common ground for students, faculty and administrators from all departments. The library staff responsible for creating such an environment recently received a national award for its success in engaging the campus community through a wide spectrum of programs.
The Association of College and Research Libraries has awarded the Thomas Tredway Library with its 2006 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the college division in recognition of its ability to be proactive, flexible and attuned to the changing needs of the college. In a world of increasing internet use, the ability to evaluate information is especially important. By integrating an information literacy component into academic programs such as the first-year Liberal Studies courses, the librarians help students learn how to access and evaluate information.
The library also hosts a variety of programs to engage faculty, staff, and students. "Lunch in the Library" is held the week before each academic year starts, offering a time when faculty and administrators can dine together informally while they learn about new library resources. In addition, a wide variety of book discussions, readers’ theatre, and lectures are offered by the library throughout the year.
The library's service extends beyond the borders of campus. One such collaborative project established the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive, a fully-indexed archive containing high-resolution scans of historical photographs from the Upper Mississippi River Valley.
Culturally-enriching displays on the Tredway Library's second floor promote the space as a place where faculty, staff, and students communicate and collaborate intellectually, culturally, and socially. The library's reputation for providing such opportunities is such that when Augustana received the gift of a valuable art collection, the donors, Kent and Elaine Olson, agreed to have much of the collection put on permanent display in the library.