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Syracuse University Libraries external review planned for fall 2012
Given the rapidly changing environment for academic libraries on campuses across the nation, the investments being made in the SU Libraries and the range of discussion on campus about desired library investments and services, the University is planning to conduct an external review of its libraries this coming fall. The announcement was made by Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric Spina, and Dean of Libraries and University Librarian Suzanne Thorin.
While such periodic reviews typically are associated with accreditation of academic units, Spina and Thorin believe that this is an opportune time to conduct such a review, given the progress made in repositioning the libraries over the past six and a half years—which includes further connecting to the University’s academic mission, increased fund raising and successful garnering of grants. Detailed plans for the review are being developed, including a charge for a visiting review team, and a timeline for the review and feedback.
“This review will help us look at how we effectively prepare SU Libraries to grow with and adapt to the technologies and tools that are shaping the future of academic libraries,” says Spina. “Given the significant investments we’ve already made, and the continued discussion on campus regarding the library investments and range of services provided, we believe the time is right to undertake this type of review.”
Thorin, who continues to report directly to Provost Spina, says, “This review is critical for setting the future of library services and scholarly communication in the Syracuse University context. It’s important that the University community be aware of these plans and the future opportunities to provide input, which will be critical to the overall success of the review.”
The University Libraries staff will develop a self-study that will be used to introduce the visiting team to the scope and nature of the activities in the libraries, and the visiting team will engage with the full set of campus constituencies when they are on campus in the fall, including faculty and students from the full range of academic disciplines. The review team will also meet with key SU groups such as the Senate Library Committee, the Humanities Council, the science and math department chairs, iSchool faculty engaged in teaching and research about academic libraries, faculty and leaders from the professional schools and the deans. Members of the review team are:
- Jim Neal, vice president for information services and university librarian, Columbia University (chair);
- Jeff Horrell, dean of libraries and librarian of the college, Dartmouth College;
- Joan Lippincott, associate executive director, Coalition for Networked Information;
- Sarah Lowman, vice provost and university librarian, Rice University; and
- Bill Walker, dean and university librarian, University of Miami.
The conclusions that come from the review will be used to plan and improve the library’s overall programs and quality, identify strengths and weaknesses in programs and services to each of the library’s various constituencies, suggest the proper set of metrics by which the Syracuse University Libraries should be measured in the coming years and assess the specific areas of investment needed for the library to match expectations set forth by the institution and its students.