For immediate release
February 7, 2005

"They exemplify the college library delivering services relevant to the needs of students and faculty in the new century," said the chair of the 2005 Excellence in Academic Libraries Selection Committee.

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Mount Holyoke has received a 2005 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award from the Association of College and Research Libraries, an honor that 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.

Mount Holyoke was the winner of the college category. Also receiving awards were the Pierce College Library, Lakewood and Puyallup, Wash., the winner of the community college category, and the University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va., the winner of the university category.

The ACRL found that Mount Holyoke’s library demonstrated excellence as a team in furthering the College’s educational mission. "They exemplify the college library delivering services relevant to the needs of students and faculty in the new century," said Helen Spalding, chair of the 2005 Excellence in Academic Libraries Selection Committee. "They have provided leadership in the college planning process; creatively combined the college's library, computing and media services; and designed new learning spaces and services."

"Receiving an Excellence in Academic Libraries Award is a national tribute to a library and its staff for the outstanding services, programs and leadership they provide to their students, administrators, faculty and community," said Mary Ellen K. Davis, ACRL executive director.

"We are extremely honored to have been chosen by our colleagues for this prestigious award," said Patricia Albanese, chief information officer and director of Library, Information, and Technology Services, or LITS. "Mount Holyoke is blessed with an exceptional staff of highly dedicated individuals, focused on enhancing the teaching and learning activities of the College. This honor is a reflection of our deep desire to understand the perspectives and needs of our community and translate them into a set of services and collections that serve them in their roles as students and scholars."

Mount Holyoke is one of the first undergraduate institutions to have merged its library and computing services. The result is LITS, which combines the College's excellent library, computing, media resources, and electronic services. "As a merged organization of Information and IT professionals we are able to focus our energies on the primary initiatives of the College," Albanese said.

The library’s physical facilities are continually evolving in response to the changing needs of the campus community. A café, wireless Internet access, and collaborative work areas are among the most recent additions. Also new is the Information Commons, a space that provides the College community with more than 50 high-end computers, 2 large-format plasma screens, scanners and laser printers, and a diagnostic center, staffed by lab consultants, that provides onsite technology support and helps troubleshoot problems with personal computers.

"We have adjusted our collections to include an expanding array of multimedia databases, leisure offerings and a variety of circulating equipment, such as digital cameras and laptops, tools as well as content rich databases that match the ways that information is captivating for learners," Albanese said. "Our integration of reference and the instructional technology staff into one unit has allowed for the integration of the content and the technology necessary to excel in research and presentation. It has allowed us to approach the question of educating students with the research and technology skills needed for a lifetime of learning."

Each winning library will receive $3,000 and a plaque, to be presented at an award ceremony held on each recipient's campus. The winners also will receive special recognition at the ACRL President's Program during the American Library Association Annual Conference on June 27 in Chicago.

ACRL, based in Chicago, Ill., is a division of the American Library Association, representing 12,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.

The Excellence in Academic Libraries Awards are sponsored by ACRL and Blackwell's Book Services.

For more information:

David LaChance
T. 413-538-2030

Patricia Albanese
T. 413-538-2225

Megan Bielefeld
ACRL Program Coordinator
T. 312-280-2514

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