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National Library Week Highlights Libraries Transform

April 8, 2016

Every day the UW-Madison Libraries strive to provide the resources and services that students, faculty, and researchers need to excel. With National Library Week, April 10-16, 2016, it seems an appropriate time to highlight the transformative nature of campus libraries and elevate the critical role libraries play in the digital age.
Borrowing from the official Libraries Transform public awareness campaign of the American Library Association (ALA), the UW-Madison Libraries intend to increase awareness of the changing role of libraries and the ways in which libraries on campus are transforming to meet the information needs of their users. Plans are now in place to rethink the UW-Madison Libraries through consolidation, which includes repurposing spaces to meet campus needs, adopting a service model that provides the same or better library services with the same or fewer resources, and consolidating print resources to improve delivery services. This vision of library transformation aligns with the strategic planning goals and priorities of the General Library System at UW-Madison and will guide a new Campus Libraries Facilities Master Plan to inventory and analyze all campus library spaces.

research servicesIn addition to the forthcoming physical transformations, library staff hope to show how the libraries on campus also transform their users. Using the hashtag, #UWLibrariesTransform, the libraries want to engage their users in a dialogue about how campus libraries have helped them achieve and succeed. As part of this effort, campus libraries will feature custom Libraries Transform graphics and messages on their website and social media during National Library Week focused on spaces, services, technology, collections, and research support. The goal is to spark a conversation with campus as to the unique role libraries play in the institution’s academic endeavors.

According to Edward Van Gemert, Vice Provost for Libraries and University Librarian, “It is critical to re-envision the Libraries’ service methods, delivery models, and spaces in order to support the research, teaching, and learning needs of campus.  We are developing virtual delivery of services and mobile resources that can be accessed by users in any location at any time, while simultaneously re-envisioning our physical spaces to support the communities of scholars that rely on our services and expertise.”

Rapid advances in technology are fueling a library renaissance.  In addition to books, the libraries now offer a range of resources including digital collections, data management, tech equipment for loan, poster and 3-D printing, and much more. Such tech-based resources are transforming lives through digital literacy and lifelong learning, contributing to education, research, employment, entrepreneurship, engagement and empowerment.

“Today’s libraries are not just about what we have for people, but what we do for and with people,” according to Sari Feldman, President of ALA. “The goal of the Libraries Transform campaign is to change the perception that ‘libraries are just quiet places to do research, find a book, and read’ to a shared understanding of libraries as dynamic centers for learning in the digital age. Libraries of all kinds foster individual opportunity that ultimately drives the success of our communities.”

For more information about Libraries Transform please visit www.librariestransform.org.