ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award

Dear Ms. Reichel:

It is with a great deal of satisfaction that I write in support of the University of Washington Libraries’ nomination for the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.

The University of Washington is a Carnegie I research institution and one of the oldest public institutions of higher education on the Pacific coast. The University is comprised of three campuses. The Seattle campus is made up of 17 schools and colleges whose faculty offer educational opportunities to students ranging from first-year undergraduates through doctoral level candidates. The Bothell and Tacoma campuses, each developing a distinctive identity and undergoing rapid growth, offer diverse programs to upper-division undergraduate and graduate students. The UW Libraries serves as the intellectual crossroads for these three campuses with over 40,000 students, 3,500 faculty and 13,000 staff.

It is meaningful innovation that sets the UW Libraries apart. What distinguishes the staff of the Libraries is its collaborative approach to creating the library of the 21st century. The excellent staff is managing the transition to a highly digital environment while preserving the Libraries traditional strengths. These are achievements in which any university president could be justifiably proud.

This is an unprecedented time of change for higher education. While the UW remains committed to the fundamental functions of research, teaching and service, the means and location of these activities are being transformed. Change in the university must be matched by change in the library. Through collaborations and partnerships, the staff of the Libraries is leading such change on our campuses and beyond.

My counterparts around the country look to the UW Libraries for approaches to emulate on their own campuses. A continual stream of visitors from other institutions consults our librarians and seeks their expertise in information literacy, digital libraries, assessment and evaluation, and collaborative innovation. Librarians have led the UWired collaboration which has transformed our approach to teaching, learning and technology. The Libraries has won widespread national recognition for groundbreaking use of digital technologies in the service of learning and research. An acknowledged leader in assessment, the Libraries has employed a variety of initiatives which align its goals with University aspirations. The Libraries staff development program is the envy of the University, and the payoff is a superlative staff. It should come as no surprise that the recent decennial Northwest School and Colleges Association accreditation report singled out the Libraries for excellence.

I am delighted that the Libraries has been nominated for this award, and I enthusiastically support its application. Should the University of Washington Libraries be chosen, Director of Libraries Betsy Wilson and I will relish hosting a campus celebration to receive the award.


Lee L. Huntsman