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

2017 Winner(s)

Miami Dade College Learning Resources

Miami Dade College – Learning Resources, winner in the community college category, impressed the committee with its campus collaboration and marketing efforts, as well as its academic support.

“The Learning Resources department at Miami Dade is dedicated to the success of its highly diverse, global student body of more than 165,000,” said Karen A. Williams, chair of the 2017 Excellence in Academic Libraries Committee and interim vice-president for Information Technology, CIO, and dean of university libraries at the University of Arizona. “The Libraries are the heart of student support on campus, housed in Learning Resources along with technology and academic support centers. The committee appreciated their needs assessment, campus collaborations, proactive marketing, strong instruction program, strategic redesign of their learning commons, and embedded librarians, tutors, and technologies.”

“This award is a validation and a timely recognition of the valuable work that the Miami Dade College libraries have done over the years to support and enrich the learning process at our institution,” said Erick J. Dominicis, college director, learning resources at Miami Dade College. “The award, moreover, corroborates the importance of the collaboration and partnership developed by the library and the faculty at the college in the development of strong collections and an even stronger information literacy instructional program for the benefit of our students. The ACRL Excellence Award will further motivate librarians and Learning Resources staff to continue the great work for which they are now recognized.”


2017 Winner(s)

Columbia College Chicago Library

The Columbia College Chicago Library, winner of this year’s award in the college category, was chosen for its creative ways of engaging with the campus community.

“Columbia College Chicago Library is a very different kind of college library,” noted Williams. “It is reflective of student culture, and creativity, experimentation, and innovative thinking are paramount. Some of the recent highlights include the Sketchbook Project, the Little Indie Press Festival, the Library Gaming Society, Edible Books, Flying Books, and Frankentoys.”

“We also appreciated that all of their programming encourages conversation and interaction among its diverse, vibrant population,” Williams added. “It is a creative and intellectual center for students, faculty, and the broader community alike.”

“I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to learn of this award honoring our innovative and dedicated staff members’ good work and the support of our college,” said Jan Chindlund, library dean at Columbia College Chicago. “Our work has evolved over the years; we stand on the shoulders of all who have worked here before to create services, develop collections, engage with our community, and maximize resources. Thank you for this recognition.”


2017 Winner(s)

Santa Clara University Library

The Santa Clara University Library, winner in the university category, was selected for its transformative assessment initiatives to improve library services.

“The committee was impressed by Santa Clara University Library’s intentional, user-centered and data-driven approach to their services, collections, and spaces,” said Williams. “The library staff actively gather information from students and faculty to drive changes, whether it is through committee participation, focus groups, advisory boards, or surveys. Recent initiatives include a space redesign, a personal librarian service, a robust information literacy program (incorporating Special Collections), and faculty workshops series on integrating research into assignments. They’ve also made thoughtful improvements to organizational alignment, communication, and culture.”

“I was thrilled to receive the news from ACRL President Irene Herold that were selected as this year’s winner!” said Jennifer Nutefall, university librarian at Santa Clara University. “Having our transformation recognized through this award by ACRL is deeply meaningful. Our application highlights our transformation which was achieved through forming a cohesive team, working together toward common goals, and fully embodying our ideals of collaboration, dynamic services and collections, and responsiveness to changing student and faculty needs. It is through our amazing staff that we truly live the library’s vision to be a ‘vibrant and vital center for learning, inspiring both intellectual pursuits and community engagement.’ Thank you to the members of the selection committee.”