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Beauty & Brains

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) honors three recipients annually with the Excellence in Academic Libraries Award. Along with the ACRL, Yankee Book Peddler (YBP) sponsors the prize—recognizing the accomplishments of libraries at the college, university, and community college level.

The winners of 2013 were the Walla Walla Community College in Washington, the Villanova University Falvey Memorial Library in Pennsylvania, and our very own—Olin Library.

Honoring institutions since 2000, past recipients of the award include Cornell University and Wellesley College. This prestigious award is bestowed upon academic libraries with a commitment to student learning, innovation, and integration within their community.

“The real significance is that our peer librarians have recognized the changes and improvements in library services at Rollins over the years. I am so proud of all that the staff of the Olin Library, and our partners in IT and now TJ’s, have been able to achieve. This is a really big deal in academic libraries. Someone called it the Oscars for librarians,” said Library Director Jonathan Miller.

Olin Library was recognized for its renovations and centrality to campus. The selection committee was impressed by its extensive integration into academic programs—its organizational relationship with the Tutoring & Writing Center, the establishment of the Center for Creativity multimedia lab, and introduction of a digital preservation program. Furthermore, the renovated space was commended for its design, comfort, and sense of community.

This is the second year Olin Library has applied for this award. The submission process consisted of an essay where applicants demonstrate how their staff “furthered the educational mission of its parent institution.” Dorothy Mays, the Head of Public Services, who works closely with INB and Crummer business students and faculty, wrote the essay with input from people throughout the library.

Receiving an Excellence in Academic Libraries Award shines a national spotlight on a library for extending the educational mission of their institution and its staff for providing exemplary services. Furthermore, YBP provides each of the winning libraries with $3000 and a plaque—to be presented during an on-campus award ceremony.
The ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 25 at 11 a.m. on Olin Library Lawn. In regards to the cash prize, the Olin staff is currently voting on alternatives and wishing to make a meaningful statement with the award.

“Some past recipients have donated it to a local organization; others have bought something really great for the library. We want to do something that has some impact. If students have cool ideas about how to use that money, please let me know. We will certainly let everyone know what we decide to spend it on,” Miller said.

Miller feels the greatest aspect of Olin Library is its interaction with the Rollins Community and commitment towards accommodating the academic environment. Through renovations, improving programs and establishing services, Olin has truly created a comfortable, beneficial, and indispensable haven for its institution. The 24/7 access to the main floor, the huge growth in access to online journals and digital content, the improvements in interlibrary loan, and the expanded coffee shop are all great examples of this.

“We spend a lot of time listening to students and faculty about what they want; most recently with the LibQual Survey last fall. So the space, collections, and services are designed to serve your needs, not ours, “ Miller said.

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