We’ve talked a lot about today’s most innovative academic librarians. Skim through our higher ed blog tag and you’ll see a solid wall of what campus libraries are doing today to go beyond the stacks, engage the community, stay high-tech and become the hottest college destination after Palm Springs for spring break.
But today, let’s take a step back and meet some of the people beyond the innovation. Try as we might to convince you that today’s academic libraries are whirring tech centers where robots roam the stacks and books are 3-D printed instead of checked out, they’re still dependent on the librarians who run them. Luckily for us, we’re working with some of the superstars in the academic library world! Here are some insights from some of our favorite cutting-edge curators on how they keep their libraries awesome:
Focus on improving campus life
Libraries across the nation are driven by the mission of increasing learning within their community. At Jackson State Community College, Library Director Scott Cohen took that mission into his own hands--and turned to Mango to help him!
At Jackson State, Spanish was the only foreign language offered until Scott decided to open up a world of language-learning to the campus community. The college has recently begun a study-abroad program, and Scott enlisted Mango’s help in increasing students’ access to language-learning. Because of Scott’s work, students are now leaving for their trips abroad with the language and culture skills they need. For Scott, Mango isn’t just a great tool for studying abroad, but it’s a way for him to promote the library with Mango’s free marketing materials. In fact, Scott considers Mango his “ace in the hole” for improving learning for the Jackson State community.
Collaborate with others
The great minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison feel strongly about the issue of climate change--so strongly, in fact, that they decided to partner with not only the university itself by 21 public libraries across Wisconsin to offer a four-week massive open online course (MOOC) titled “Changing Weather and Climate in the Great Lakes Region.” Through this collaboration, the course enrolled over 6,000 people to learn about changing weather and how it affects the Wisconsin area. In the words of Stef Morrill, the director of library services, “by not only focusing on information about climate change, but by applying it to local concerns and providing inspiration and ideas for personal action, this MOOC will give residents in the state (and beyond) the opportunity to have a better understanding of this topic and how they can personally affect change.”
This kind of awesome collaboration doesn’t just raise the profile of the academic library: it furthers the library’s mission of increasing access to knowledge way outside of its walls. By taking steps to engage with the community through collaboration with other libraries and the use of mobile to extend the reach of the class, university librarians are spreading the wealth.
Get people talking
The Leonard H. Axe Library at Pittsburg State University is renowned for its incredible resources--and part of the reason it’s so well-known is that their Access Services Coordinator, Susan Schreiner, thinks outside the box when it comes to adding new things to the library’s offerings. Susan knows that the library needs to think about how to raise its reputation through what it can offer students, and so she gets creative.
It also just so happens that one of Susan’s favorite resources to get people talking is Mango Languages! Here’s what she has to say about the Mango software:
“I love Mango—it’s one of our most-used databases and it gets people talking about the library. It’s not a typical purchase for us since it’s not focused on research, but it allows us to promote the library to the wider university community, since it’s something everyone can use.”
Are you ready to find out if your library is innovative as these ones? Take our quiz to find out whether your academic library is on the cutting edge!