For immediate release | February 16, 2018

2018 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award winners announced

CHICAGO — The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces the recipients of the 2018 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award – Naugatuck Valley Community College Max R. Traurig Library, Waterbury, Connecticut; State University of New York, College at Geneseo Milne Library, Geneseo, New York; and Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries, Richmond, Virginia. Sponsored by ACRL and GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO, 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.

“I am delighted that ACRL can highlight the many amazing accomplishments of academic libraries through this award,” said ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis. “This year’s winners demonstrate a clear commitment to student success, an entrepreneurial mindset that results in innovative programs, an engagement with the local and campus communities, and leadership in scholarly publishing. Receiving an Excellence in Academic Libraries Award is a tribute to each library and its staff for outstanding services, programs, and leadership.”

The Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) Max R. Traurig Library, winner in the community college category, impressed the award committee with its unique services and partnerships.

“The wealth of innovation taking place at the Traurig Library, such as circulating guitars, their revision of instruction based on assessment, and their close partnerships with high schools for student transition and achievement, set them apart as forward-thinking and student-focused,” said Ann Campion Riley, chair of the 2018 Excellence in Academic Libraries Committee and vice provost and university librarian at the University of Missouri.

The library’s participation in the ACRL Assessment in Action (AiA) program in 2014-15 led to an evolution in its first-year experience and information literacy instruction programs. As a result of their findings from AiA, NVCC librarians partnered with school librarians at area high schools to develop an information literacy instruction program for high school students. Students reported increased confidence in researching and demonstrated improved ability to integrate information sources into research projects.

“The staff of the Max R. Traurig Library are thrilled and honored to be recognized with this prestigious award” said Jaime Hammond, director of library services at NVCC. “The mission and vision of our institution has been the inspiration for all of the work that we do. We are grateful to our President for all of her support, and to the students, staff, and faculty of our campus for being amazing partners.”

The State University of New York (SUNY), College at Geneseo Milne Library, winner of this year’s award in the college category, was chosen for its programming and outreach efforts.

“A strong commitment to open access to scholarship and educational resources, their Summer Library Research Academy, and work with local high schools, along with great partnerships and inspiring letters of support from across their community, highlighted the strength of the Milne Library’s programs and outreach,” noted Riley.

In their Access Opportunity Programs (AOP) Summer Library Research Academy, SUNY Geneseo research and instruction librarians work to acclimate incoming first-year students to the rigors of college and familiarize them with the library’s resources and services. The program, a four-week crash course in college-level research skills, includes a library scavenger hunt, annotated bibliography, collaborative research paper, and poster session. The AOP Summer Library Research Academy received the 2016 ALA Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) Innovation in Instruction Award.

“We were very excited, humbled, and honored to hear from ACRL President Cheryl Middleton that we were chosen to receive this award,” said Ben Rawlins, library director at SUNY Geneseo. “It is a testament to the dedication, creativity, innovation, and collaborative efforts of our staff to think creatively through initiatives like the IDS Project, SUNY OER Services, and the Library Instruction Leadership Academy. Thank you for this recognition.”

The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Libraries, winner in the university category, was selected for its transformative services, initiatives, and role within the campus community.

“From their many events and partnerships to scholarly publishing and information literacy initiatives and a strong commitment to the arts, along with their innovative digital history and data management projects, the VCU Libraries demonstrate exemplary planning and actions that contribute to the library’s central role in the work of the university,” said Riley.

Among the libraries’ numerous initiatives is the Scholarly Communications and Publishing Division, which supports VCU faculty, staff, and students in disseminating open scholarship. Its programs include the Open Access Author Publishing Fund to encourage publishing in open access journals; the “Mapping the KKK” digital humanities visualization project, in collaboration with VCU’s history department; and the “Social Welfare History Project,” a national online information portal documenting the social welfare movement’s impact on the United States.

“We are deeply honored by this distinguished recognition from ACRL,” said VCU University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider. “The faculty and staff of the VCU Libraries have worked with creativity, passion, and immense dedication to create an exemplary research library for the 21st century and to fulfill our mission of transforming our communities through our teaching, collections, and scholarship. This award is a powerful testament to the extraordinary effort of our staff in establishing the VCU Libraries as the preeminent destination at Virginia Commonwealth University for learning, research, and cultural dialog. We are grateful for this recognition by our peers of the vitality of our libraries at the core of academic enterprise in all of its forms at VCU.”

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 in the awards section of the ACRL website.

About ACRL

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing nearly 10,500 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) 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, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.

About GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO

GOBI® Library Solutions from EBSCO offers over 15 million print and e-books to academic, research and special libraries worldwide. From streamlining workflows to partnering with library staff, GOBI Library Solutions is committed to providing the best solution for libraries’ acquisition, collection development and technical service needs. For more than 40 years, the mission has remained same—to partner with libraries in providing access to the broadest selection of scholarly content available. For more information, visit the GOBI Library Solutions website at:


Chase Ollis

Program Officer