2015 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award winners announced

For Immediate Release
Tue, 01/27/2015


Chase Ollis
Program Coordinator

CHICAGO — The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces the recipients of the 2015 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award – Santa Fe College Lawrence W. Tyree Library, Gainesville, Florida; Amherst College Frost Library, Amherst, Massachusetts; and Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, Indiana. Sponsored by ACRL and YBP Library Services, the award recognizes the staff of a college, university and community college library for programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institution.

“These three deserving recipients demonstrate the commitment to student learning, digital scholarship, and data research services, with a focus on continuous innovation and engagement with the campus community, that exemplifies today’s best academic and research libraries,” said ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis. “Receiving an Excellence in Academic Libraries Award is a national tribute to each library and its staff for outstanding services, programs and leadership.”

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!”

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.”

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.”

“The final decision in each category was truly difficult,” Bell noted. “This pool of candidates speaks volumes about the amazing work that academic librarians perform on behalf of their communities – as well as the global community of learners and researchers – to advance learning and transform scholarship.”

Each winning library will receive $3,000 and a plaque, to be presented at an award ceremony held on each recipient’s campus.

Additional information on the award, along with a list of past winners, is available on the ACRL website.


About ACRL

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at www.acrl.org/, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ala.acrl and Twitter at @ala_acrl.

About YBP Library Services

YBP Library Services, a Baker & Taylor company, provides print and digital content, supporting collection management and technical services to academic, research and special libraries throughout the world. GOBI3, YBP's acquisition and collection development interface, provides access to more than 10 million titles. YBP is located in Contoocook, N.H., USA. For more on the company, visit www.ybp.com.