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

Community College

2015 Winner(s)

Santa Fe College Lawrence W. Tyree Library

The Lawrence W. Tyree Library of Santa Fe College, winner in the community college category, was chosen for emphasizing its innovation and passion for distance instruction, financial literacy and community.

“The Lawrence Tyree Library demonstrated how their staff brings creativity and innovation to their community,” said Steven Bell, chair of the 2015 Excellence in Academic Libraries Committee and associate university librarian for research and instructional services at Temple University. “This is evidenced within their model information literacy initiative that makes use of strategies such as flipped instruction, virtual learning for distance students and a commitment to use active learning techniques in the classroom. So passionate are the Tyree librarians about extending high quality learning to distance students that several librarians achieved certification as Quality Matters online course reviewers, and their own online library instruction course was the first at Santa Fe to pass the rigorous Quality Matters review.”

“Tyree Library also helps students become financially literate, becoming only the second community college since 2007 to receive a $100,000 ‘Smart Investing @ Your Library’ grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation,” Bell continued. “The committee also took note of the commitment to delivering on-campus programming from mystery nights, to relationship building with faculty and a wonderful collaboration with their education program to deliver a STEM-focused reading program to elementary education students in their city.”

“We are humbled, thrilled and very happy for this recognition,” said Lawrence W. Tyree Library director Myra Sterrett. “The L.W. Tyree Library has a great staff, and we all constantly pull together to ensure the library is part of the fabric of the college. This award is a reflection on the tireless efforts and contributions of our entire library community. Nothing beats recognition from one’s peers, and we thank you so much!”


2015 Winner(s)

Amherst College Libraries

Frost Library of Amherst College, winner of this year’s award in the college category, impressed the committee with its transformation to focus on its objectives of teaching students research skills, promoting and enabling universal access to information, and creating a new model of academic publishing.

“Amherst’s Frost Library emerged as a clear example of what it means to hold oneself to high standards and to set the bar even higher for what it means to achieve excellence as a college library,” noted Bell. “Frost Library received considerable attention in 2013 when it announced the establishment of the first academic press in the United States dedicated to the publication of scholarly monographs solely under an open access model. While that alone would qualify Frost Library for distinction, there is much more to the impressive accomplishments found in their award application. To vastly improve its delivery of instruction, a new unit was created and five positions were dedicated to integrating the library into student learning. Members of this unit played important roles in tutorials and seminars made possible by a Mellon grant to the college.”

“Frost librarians are truly teaching collaboratively with their faculty,” Bell added. “Along with colleagues from Swarthmore and Haverford, Amherst is exploring ways to track students over their undergraduate career to measure and assess their ability to produce quality research. Amherst is also considered a leader among its peers by maintaining high ethical standards to promote the production and sharing of publicly accessible content, while resisting publisher efforts to force unfair business practices on academic libraries.”

“Our library has an extraordinary staff,” said Bryn Geffert, librarian of the college at Amherst College. “They’re exceptional in every way: smart, adaptable, selfless, creative and tireless. I take this award to be as much an ‘excellent library staff’ award as an ‘excellence in academic libraries’ award.”


2015 Winner(s)

Purdue University Libraries, winner in the university category, was selected for its numerous outstanding initiatives.

“Purdue University Libraries succeeds by being experimental, taking risks, innovating and leveraging collaboration with their faculty, graduate and undergraduate students to push the boundaries of what research university libraries can accomplish for their community, locally and globally,” said Bell.

“Whether it’s their information literacy initiative that features their participation in Purdue’s IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) curriculum, a commitment to renovate and create library spaces that are highly intentional about student learning and collaboration with faculty or engaging in course redesign with their faculty, what most impressed the committee was Purdue’s profession leading and cutting edge work in the area of research data services.”

“Where Purdue excels among this year’s strong pool of university applicants is in their support of faculty research, through their Library Scholars Grant program, which provides faculty members with grants for travel to special collections at other institutions in support of their growth as scholars,” Bell continued.

“The faculty and staff of the Purdue University Libraries are proud of the progress that we have made to define the role of the 21st century research library within its university community,” said James L. Mullins, dean of libraries and Esther Ellis Norton professor at Purdue University. “To have our creativity, innovation, and dedication recognized through this important award is a wonderful honor.”