Excellence in Academic Libraries Award

About the Excellence in Academic Libraries Award To recognize academic librarians and staff who work together as a team to develop academic libraries that are outstanding in furthering the educational missions of their institutions.

Administered by:

Association of College and Research Libraries logo


2014 Winner(s)

Cal Poly State University Robert E. Kennedy Library

The Robert E. Kennedy Library at Cal Poly State University, winner in the university category, was selected for its innovations in student engagement.

“Cal Poly State University library uses a thematic approach in their application, documenting their emphasis on being open, inclusive and connected,” said Ogburn. “Their ideas are fresh and appealing across the three areas. The committee noted the level of student engagement and partnerships across campus. We were taken by the LibRATs program, or Library Research Assistance Technicians, where highly trained students provide instruction and help other students with research. Among their other innovations are developing a Data Studio to address data literacy and instigating access to, and development of, open access textbooks to decrease costs for students.”

"It is a true honor to be chosen for this year's ACRL Excellence Award,” said Anna K. Gold, university librarian at Cal Poly State University. “The Robert E. Kennedy Library's 'open, inclusive, connected' culture reflects the strengths of California Polytechnic State University's cross-disciplinary excellence. Every person at the Kennedy library works hard to amplify those strengths, through our partnerships with students, staff and faculty. Many academic libraries are emerging as dynamic campus centers for learning and research, and we are thrilled to be recognized among them this year by our peers, and by this award.”


2014 Winner(s)

Lafayette College Skillman Library

Skillman Library of Lafayette College, winner of this year’s award in the college category, impressed the selection committee with its digital scholarship experimentation, as well as its pioneering in acquisition models.

“Lafayette College seeks to be a model for other colleges and has been in the forefront on getting grants and experimenting with digital scholarship in the liberal arts setting,” noted Ogburn. “The library implemented new models of acquisitions for journals by combining strategic cancellations with article by article purchase. They led the way for other liberal arts colleges by developing consortial approaches to patron driven acquisitions for ebooks, joining Hathi Trust and implementing the Ithaka faculty survey on their campus.”

"We are greatly honored to be selected by our peers to receive this award, which recognizes not only our library’s innovative work on behalf of Lafayette College but also our strategic collaboration with other colleges and universities,” said Neil J. McElroy, library director at Lafayette College. “While the award nomination highlights our programmatic initiatives and technological innovations, we are mindful that our success has been enabled by those relationships of trust and reciprocity that we’ve been privileged to build with the Lafayette community and colleagues at other institutions over many years. We are deeply pleased and grateful."

Community College

2014 Winner(s)

Illnois Central College Library

The Illinois Central College (ICC) Library, winner in the community college category, was chosen for its emphasis on disadvantaged students and staff development.

“Illinois Central is being recognized for an emphasis on students who are disadvantaged and not strong readers, finding approaches to raise the students' odds of success by getting them to read,” said Joyce Ogburn, chair of the 2014 Excellence in Academic Libraries Committee and dean of the libraries at Appalachian State University. “The library also believes in staff development and supports a robust Library Tech training program in the evening and encourages participation in leadership training on campus. They exercise extensive outreach to the campus community and outcomes are demonstrated that go beyond the library. The application was enhanced by telling stories of what happens throughout the day in the life of the library and the users.”

“We feel so honored and humbled to receive this award,” said ICC library Director Cate Kaufman. “The ICC’s entire library staff has collaborated in recent years to re-think the delivery of services and the availability of resources we provide our students and the College as a whole. The award re-affirms the importance of those efforts and encourages us to continue to adapt and meet the demands of the ever-changing climate of higher education.”