“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” - Aristotle
We had our celebration for the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award on Monday. You can check out some of the pictures from the reception on Champlain College’s Facebook page. We got to celebrate with students, our student workers, the library staff, the faculty, the administration and even trustees. It was truly a community event which is exactly what library events should be.
Another really fun aspect of the party was a video that an alumni of our digital film-making program produced for us. It highlighted the importance of the award and some of the things that make our library great. But my favorite part of the video is at the end when my good friend Steve Wehmeyer, a professor in our Core Division, is talking about the work that librarians do. He says, “Whether they’re coming into the classroom doing creative info literacy sessions, or whether they’re helping us develop engaging activities for first-year students, I’ve really come to see librarians as our allies in education.”
I loved that phrase “allies in education.” That’s how we have to think of our work. We’re not just running a library and curating collections. We’re educators who are partnering with other educators to provide the types of environments, resources, curriculum and events that facilitate and empower learning.
Our library team is really dedicated to the work we do. We were all excited to win this award, but we also know that our work isn’t done. There is still a lot of room for growth and improvement. There is a lot that we can learn from other libraries who are also doing amazing things. If as Aristotle said, excellence is not an act but a habit, we have to continue our work and keep building on our successes. The work of an educator is never done.
This past week our library was awarded the 2012 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the College category. Our team is all really honored and excited here. We’re looking forward to the party that we’re going to throw in celebration of it, because after all there ain’t no party like a library party. I’m also really grateful to ACRL and YBP for this recognition. This is one of those moments that makes it all worth it.
The process of writing the application involved significant effort, but was very valuable. First, it was exceedingly collaborative. Multiple people wrote sections of the narrative. We also had an all staff meeting where we took time to think about how we meet the needs and serve the mission of the college. All of our staff’s voices were represented in the final application and this made the final application that much stronger.
Second, it was valuable to think of what value we provide to students, faculty, and staff and then prove it. Our thinking was closely related to the Value of Academic Libraries Report that came out last year. Instead of thinking of inputs (how many books we own, amount of funding, etc.) we thought about outputs (the impact that we make on faculty, staff, students, and ultimately the college as an institution). We had to give evidence of that impact. That evidence came in the form of both statistical data such as information literacy assessment data and Noel-Levitz data, but it was also anecdotal and included quotes and tweets like the one below directly related to academic success.
We were all ecstatic to have won the award, but even if we hadn’t I knew that we had a great team doing some special things together and a document that we could be proud of. We’re a “small but mighty” staff and we have a lot of fun in the work that we do together. Being able to articulate that in a way that proved our value to others and brought all of our staff’s voices together was extremely rewarding.
This blog was just named the best Academic Library blog in the 2011 Salem Press Library Blog Awards! I feel really honored to be nominated by some of the great judges, but especially to be included among the winners. In the academic category there were a lot of great blogs nominated, especially one of my favorites: ACRLog. I never miss any of their posts and was even asked to submit a post there.
I really enjoy a lot of the blogs that won and were nominated. I was excited to see the Hack Library School won for best newcomer. It is written by some great folks, and they post on much needed topics for students. Many library schools are severely behind, and this group of folks are helping students be more proactive and working to make sure that a library school education does not get in the way of learning. I really admire what they are doing and was delighted to have the chance to post on their blog about some of my experiences in school.
I also feel honored to be in the company of such smart, enthusiastic and dynamic people like Buffy Hamilton, Sarah Houghton-Jan, and Brian Herzog. I have been subscribed to all of their blogs for a while. In addition, I appreciate what Salem Press is doing in putting on these awards. Not only does it incorporate a little fun into staying current in the profession, it also allows people to discover new blogs that hadn’t been on their radar. I just discovered and subscribed to the Waki Librarian.
Also, most importantly, I don’t want to forget the people who read this blog and voted for it. Thank you so much for reading, commenting and chatting with me on Twitter. I get tons of ideas from people’s comments and conversations with me, and I’m glad you all are getting ideas too. I really appreciate this and I look forward to continuing the conversation here.