ACRL 2015: Portland, Oregon, center stage for discussion on the value of academic and research libraries

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/24/2015


Heather Cho

Media Relations Specialist

Public Information Office


CHICAGO – Campus libraries today are vibrant and exciting places, in large part due to the contributions of tech-savvy academic and research librarians. With the volume of information available on the Web expanding exponentially, university and college students, faculty and staff are relying more on academic libraries and librarians to guide them toward accurate and reliable information, as well as use that information to further their own learning and academic success.   

The increasing demands of technology – and the role academic libraries play in addressing those demands – will be at the forefront of the discussion, as more than 3,000 librarians and staff from college and university libraries around the world gather in Portland, Oregon, March 25-28, for the Association of College and Research Libraries ACRL 2015 conference. ACRL 2015 will focus on a host of pressing issues affecting higher education, including libraries as partners in higher education, trends in information literacy instruction and technology-related subjects such as e-textbooks, mobile services and social media.

“University librarians are more than just ‘keepers of the books,’” said ACRL President Karen A. Williams of the University of Arizona. “Librarians are instruction and research partners who help to equip students with valuable life and career skills, creating lifelong learners prepared for our ever-changing world."

Recent findings show campus libraries and librarians are critical to students’ academic achievement. According to ACRL’s new report "Academic Library Contributions to Student Success: Documented Practices from the Field," students who receive library instruction as part of their courses achieve higher grades and demonstrate better information literacy competencies than students who do not receive course-related library instruction. In addition, library instruction builds students’ confidence with the research process and also contributes to retention and persistence, particularly for students in first-year experience courses and programs.

ACRL 2015 takes place during ACRL’s 75th anniversary year, and to celebrate there will be special events and programs planned throughout the conference. In honor of this milestone, ACRL held a fundraising campaign that awarded a record-breaking 179 conference scholarships, totaling $112,995, for librarians and staff to attend ACRL 2015. In addition, ACRL commissioned a collection of essays from library thought leaders and a special retrospective issue of the association’s research journal. 

Themed “Creating Sustainable Community,” ACRL 2015 will explore the changing nature and role of academic and research librarians. Keynote speakers include G. Willow Wilson, comics writer, prose author, essayist and journalist; Jad Abumrad, host and creator of Radiolab; and Lawrence Lessig, professor and political activist. More than 200 exhibitors will showcase cutting-edge products and services for academic and research libraries.

ACRL 2015 also features a Virtual Conference, which will enhance the experience for onsite attendees as well as providing a venue for participation for those not able to attend in person. Virtual Conference participants will have access to more than 130 Slidecasts (PowerPoint presentations synced with real-time audio) from every contributed paper, invited paper, panel session and TechConnect presentation offered at the face-to-face conference in Portland. The Virtual Conference will also include live webcasts, allowing librarians to interact in real time.

ACRL is the largest division of the American Library Association, representing more than 11,000 academic librarians and related professionals. As the higher education association for librarians, ACRL 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.

For more information on ACRL 2015, please visit Media interested in registering for press credentials, or scheduling interviews with conference spokespeople should contact Heather Cho, media relations specialist, ALA,, or 312-280-4020.