U.Va. library wins NATIONAL AWARD for service


Feb. 18, 2005


Charlotte Morford, U.Va. Library

(434) 924-4254

Kathleen Valenzi, News Office

(434) 924-6857

"This quick note is an attempt to express my gratitude and admiration for the superb services Alderman Library has provided me. … I had no idea that life could be this good." U.Va. Professor of Economics

Charlottesville, Va. — The staff of the University of Virginia Library have won the highest national service award given in the academic library profession. Sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and Blackwell’s Book Services, the "Excellence in Academic Libraries Award" is given annually to a research library that "delivers exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institution."

The U.Va. Library staff was recognized for its "broad, deep and early innovation that has proven its effectiveness over time and is being emulated by other academic libraries as they reposition their services for the future," according to the ACRL. From the creation of the first "digital library" (the EText Center, in 1992) to innovative services that help faculty use technology in teaching and research, and from late-night hours to leadership in digital production and management, the Library staff has collaborated with students, faculty and colleagues to support the University’s academic mission and to create programs that are models for others to follow.

"This is a truly prestigious national award," University Librarian Karin Wittenborg said. "All of us in the Library are deeply committed to helping students, faculty and other researchers in their academic endeavors. The staff are our greatest asset, and I am thrilled to see their work recognized at this level."

The U.Va. librarians enjoyed the achievement. "Helping a student or faculty member find that last elusive bit of information is like a treasure hunt — following the clues to get to the reward of a satisfied customer," said Barbie Selby, who has worked at the U.Va. Library for more than a decade. "I’m glad I work in a library that not only supports my going the extra mile, but encourages it." Newcomer Matt Ball, who joined the library from Harvard only six months ago, added, "I discovered this staff’s commitment to customer service immediately. This award confirms what I’ve experienced first-hand, and it’s a great testimony to their dedication."

The U.Va. Library is made up of 13 facilities, with almost five million books, more than 70,000 e-texts and 16 million manuscripts and archives. It shares its catalog with the University’s professional libraries (business, law and health sciences), and is a leader in not only the creation of digital collections, but also in the creation of tools for using them.

The award will be formally presented later this spring at the Library’s latest facility, the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American Literature, History, and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.


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Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) award information: