Ask a Librarian

Greetings from Ed Van Gemert,
Vice Provost for Libraries and University Librarian

Ed Van Gemert

I want to welcome you to the University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries! The UW Libraries are a wealth of resources, staff expertise, services, and learning spaces.

The Libraries manage the 11th largest research collection in North America. We provide convenient access to print materials; 24/7, multi-platform access to thousands of electronic journals, e-books, and databases; article and book delivery from libraries around the world; special collections of rare books and manuscripts; and locally created digital resources to support teaching, research, and learning.

Library staff provide exceptional and modern information services. Our information professionals will respond to your reference questions in-person, chat, email, or phone. Their expertise is invaluable and they will greatly enhance your understanding of our resources.

Campus libraries offer a variety of study spaces designed to accommodate all learning styles. I invite you to discover your favorite location. You will find study areas for quiet or group work, as well as spaces designed to meet your technological and research needs. For example, the Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning (WisCEL) spaces in College Library and Wendt Commons are multi-function spaces with state of the art technologies.

The mission of the UW-Madison Libraries is to support excellence in teaching, research and learning by providing resources, services and spaces that help to ensure the success of our students, faculty, and staff. We are also committed as a library system to supporting the Wisconsin Idea, and engaging in local, state, national, and global initiatives.

Please take the opportunity to visit our libraries and discover for yourself why we think the UW–Madison Libraries are the heart of this great university.

On Wisconsin!

Ed Van Gemert
Vice Provost for Libraries and University Librarian


About the UW-Madison Campus Libraries

The UW–Madison campus libraries are as diverse as the campus itself and range in size from small reading rooms with a few hundred books to major research collections containing several million titles in multiple formats. With the exception of single department reading rooms, most campus libraries have their holdings listed in the shared electronic catalog and participate in other library services such as lending and document delivery. The libraries represented in the shared catalog are divided administratively into four major groups (although these distinctions are invisible to our users).

UW-Madison Libraries
A Vision for Knowledge through 2020


University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries provide:

  • Leadership for the selection, organization, access, and preservation of sources of knowledge in all formats;
  • Exemplary information services designed to fulfill the needs of a great public research university;
  • Inspirational environments for collaborative and individual discovery, study, and learning.


  • The Libraries are essential partners in the creative exploration, intellectual growth, and scholarly pursuits of the University.

To that end, the Libraries will:

  • Invest in user experiences that inspire the creation, discovery, and sharing of knowledge:
    • Services
    • Physical Spaces
    • Virtual Spaces
  • Provide expertise, services, and tools that prominently position the Libraries throughout the life cycle of research, teaching, and learning.
  • Integrate innovative approaches to how the Libraries develop, disseminate, and preserve collection and information resources.

Approved by the Library Coordinating Council
January 31, 2014

Strategic Planning 2013-2014

UW-Madison Libraries are faced with a rapidly changing environment, requiring a rigorous examination of its capacity to chart a strategic and visionary course for the future, a course aligned with meeting the campus' broad mission of advancing research and education.

For more information about the strategic planning process, see the timeline which currently includes the project charter, stakeholder assessment and other documents for Phase I.

This poster, "UW-Madison Libraries: A Vision for Knowledge through 2020," was developed for the Office of Quality Improvement Showcase, 2014. It highlights the planning process and the final strategic framework.

Phase II updates will be added to this site as they become available.

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