Each holiday season, we send a holiday card with a message inserted to our key donors, library colleagues around the country, and senior leadership at the University. The letter follows at the end of this message. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with good food, time with friends and family and time to relax and recharge. Happy Holidays!
I wanted to share some of the amazing milestones from 2011 at The Ohio State University Libraries as the year comes to a close. It has been an exciting year, filled with many things we have cause to celebrate.
We have brought together an extraordinarily gifted executive team. Five new associate and assistant directors joined the staff in 2011, bringing their talent, experience and fresh perspectives. Their addition has also enabled us to execute a new organizational structure which better positions us for the future. Lisa Carter, Craig Gibson, Lisa Patton-Glinski, Karla Strieb and Beth Warner are working with me to build on the strengths of our library system, implement our new strategic plan, and offer innovative services that set new standards for academic libraries.
This year has also seen the two newest appointees to the Mary P. Key Diversity Residency Program, designed to assist recent library graduates in making a successful transition to academic research librarianship. Brian Leaf and Juleah Swanson joined the Libraries’ faculty as our residents for the next two years in this unique program that increases the diversity of librarians at Ohio State and furthers the growth and development of academic librarians across the country. The program is named in honor of the emerita Assistant Professor of the University Libraries who served as the fi rst chair of the Libraries’ Diversity Committee, which oversaw the start of the Residency. Mary passed away in 2010, but her legacy lives on through this important initiative.
Thanks to the unfailing generosity of our supporters, we have made good progress towards meeting the $2.5 million challenge grant offered by Jean Schulz, widow of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz. The challenge grant raises funds for the renovation of Sullivant Hall, the future home of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. We have received gifts and pledges totaling $2.2 million thus far, and look forward to meeting the goal in the months ahead with your help.
We received good news this year in survey results of patron attitudes toward our services. The Association of Research Libraries’ “LibQUAL” survey is administered every three years as part of a national effort to measure library users’ opinions of service quality. LibQUAL covers such key areas as the way we provide information, the impact of our staff in supporting users, and the quality of the spaces we offer. The data on OSUL—which was good to begin with—continues to improve each year, most noticeably in the satisfaction levels of key constituents—students and faculty. Clearly, the Thompson Library renovation has had a positive impact on the ratings for “Library as Place,” setting a new standard for the learning environments our users expect. As we move forward in implementing our strategic plan, I expect customers’ satisfaction with our services will continue to rise.
Preparations for the renovation of Sullivant Hall provided the opportunity to create a new home for the libraries’ highly respected Music and Dance Library and its staff. In September, Music and Dance moved into its new home on the second floor of the Science and Engineering Library. The space includes seminar rooms, a media center, music scores and the book collection, much of which is now available 24/7.
This year we unveiled the commissioned art for the Thompson Library. Renowned artist and OSU Art Department faculty member Ann Hamilton created “Verse,” a fi eld of 299 lines of text set in raised letters in the cork floor of the Buckeye Reading Room. The installation, text from three different books, describes the beginning and end of history. Its unique presentation makes up a 6,000 square foot “page,” offering a reading experience that is both complex and compelling.
In October, the Libraries and the Columbus Museum of Art announced the joint acquisition of the record books and ledger of internationally renowned artist and Columbus native George Bellows. The volumes are now housed in our Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, where they will be available to Ohio State students and faculty, as well as the general public. And as a shared resource, the collection is an invaluable asset to the Museum for informing study of its outstanding collection of Bellows paintings.
Another wonderful addition to our special collections is the archives of the Mysterious Press, founded and edited by Otto Penzler, the world’s foremost authority on and publisher of mystery fiction. These archives represent not only the complete manuscripts, corrected proofs and correspondence of the Mysterious Press’ publications, but also pristine copies of all galleys, limited editions and fi rst editions of the press. This was a highly sought-after acquisition, and greatly enhances the William Charvat Collection of American Fiction, already among the premier American fiction collections in the U.S.
I look forward to the coming year with optimism and excitement. I am very blessed to lead one of the nation’s great university libraries and to work with a talented, devoted faculty and staff whose commitment to the Libraries and its patrons is clearly visible every day. Their efforts are matched by the continuing generosity of our donors and the enthusiasm and energy of our volunteers.