I am pleased to welcome all new and returning students to campus. This summer, following guidance from the state and the university, UC Libraries’ faculty and staff worked tirelessly to prepare for students to return. All 10 library locations reopened in time for the fall semester, a massive achievement for our small, but dedicated staff.
The transition from virtual to in-person has been an extensive process. As dean, my priority is the safety of our faculty and staff and all library users. Library spaces needed to be evaluated to allow for social distancing under the university’s COVID-19 operation guidelines.
Also over the summer we undertook a transformational project with the creation of the Langsam Living Room space on the 400 level and former home of the reference, government documents and the microfiche cabinet. Once completed, the new space will increase student seats in the Walter C. Langsam Library by 75 and provide more options for studying or simply taking a break between classes.
This year has been a lesson in resiliency and versatility. As the university weathered the challenges and relentless change brought on by the pandemic, the Libraries proved again and again our role as an integral partner in the university’s effort to achieve its core mission of teaching, research and community engagement. Library faculty, staff and student workers provided instruction on how to find the best research materials, offered reference assistance, collected and made our collections available, continued our preservation and care of collections, and collaborated with faculty and researchers to translate information and data into knowledge.
Some of our recent accomplishments include:
- Received university’s strategic sizing funding for two initiatives: the Digital Scholarship Center and Leading the Open Agenda
- Awarded a second Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant to support the Digital Scholarship Center
- Won 2021 Best New Book of the Year from the National Council on Public History with the University of Cincinnati Press’s published book: Digital Community Engagement: Partnering Communities with the Academy
- Circulated more than 28,000 books over the pandemic period through the Libraries’ Click & Collect service
- Continued success of the new online chat service, which served over 1,900 people
- Added or refreshed over 308,000 online access records for library resources and purchased 189 streaming videos and 1,123 e-books
- Answered 20,028 reference questions
- Gave 970 library presentations to 19,159 participants
- Added over 7,000 new digital research items to our public repositories, including the “Digital Troy Project,” images of Cincinnati Modernist architecture and additions to the Cincinnati Birth and Death Records collection
- Added an important volume to the Archives and Rare Book’s Shakespeare holdings, The Ingratitude of a Common-Wealth: Or, the Fall of Caius Martius Coriolanus
- Produced four successful Cecil Striker Lecture webinars with the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions
- Formation of the group known as RESPECT (Racial Equity Support & Programming to Educate the Community Team (RESPECT), a UC Libraries committee charged with developing external programming that explicitly addresses the role that systemic racism plays in our society
This issue of Source marks another important accomplishment as it begins the 20th year of our newsletter. We spotlight a library staff member, Ben Kline, and special collections in the DAAP Library and the newly digitized OMI posters, as well as a team bringing research and data services to the university community. In addition, we announce upcoming events – Life of the Mind and The Illustrated Human: The Impact of Andreas Vesalius.