Connections – the concept of bringing together two or more of something – is a theme that travels through much of the work done at Drexel University. In the Libraries, it includes bringing together ideas and people. You surely have experienced library programs in your lifetime that facilitate authors reaching readers, deliver distantly held books, guided students to discover images or articles, or identified a kindred intellectual spirit by exploring similar topics.
Once again, the Libraries became a hot spot of activity this past month as students returned from the holiday break. They spent focused hours among library carrels, tables, and group rooms to read, reflect and engage in discovering new ideas, writing papers and completing projects. When the University cancelled normal business for nearly two days due to the storm on January 21st, the Libraries kept the W. W. Hagerty Library open, thanks to a few of its hearty staff and security officers.
We prepare this issue of In Circulation after coming in from the bitter cold, grateful to have kept those old long johns, hats and coats that might be unfashionable but keep us really warm. The notion of keeping things in case of a future need – or perhaps for nostalgia – causes many of us to hold onto stuff we may no longer use. If not managed well, it is easy to let our “just in case” stuff overtake our closets, basements, desks, as well as our inboxes and hard drives.
Libraries have a mission to preserve history and they extend that to the organization itself in preparing the iconic annual report. However, unlike the many standardized rules applied to preserving, cataloging and ensuring access to the artifacts of cultural, scholarly, and organizational activities, there is no common playbook for creating a library annual report. Some are lavish books themselves, commemorating collections with gorgeous images and descriptions of unique acquisitions while others are used to thank people who reaffirm the library’s value with fiscal or advocacy support.
Not long ago, a colleague asserted that exhibit cases are archaic and have no place in the modern. That challenged me to think about if it was true or if, like most things library-related, the purpose remains but means of presentation change.
It is an exciting and busy time in the Libraries as we start the new academic year. Only a few days into the term and already our libraries are filled with students reading and working at computers. The intensity of Drexel students continues to impress me. It is like none other I have experienced, even in the large research libraries of the big state universities and elite private colleges where I spent my former years as a library administrator.
You may or may not be familiar with the acronym DSLP, which stands for the Drexel Student Learning Priorities, the framework that guides student growth at Drexel. The DSLP identify core intellectual and practical skills, including information literacy, communications, critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and technology use. In the Libraries, we foster connections among services, resources and experts to coach students to become better learners while mastering these and other learning priorities.
The library as a physical destination has been on my mind for some time.
The possibility of violent acts occurring in public places haunts anyone who manages a facility where people gather. The recent tragedy in Santa Monica emphasized that libraries, iconic places for peaceful reflection and nurturing the life of the mind, are not exempt from worry about security.
For over fifty years, the American Library Association has sponsored observance of National Library Week during the month of April. This week celebrates the contributions of the nation’s libraries and promotes their use. This month at Drexel, we focus on library staff, including librarians, archivists, support staff and professionals with diverse expertise in such areas as technologies, communications and fiscal controls.