About the University of Chicago Library
Welcome to the University of Chicago Library
We put Library users at the center of all we do and are here to empower you with deep and rich collections, extensive expertise, innovative programs, and diverse spaces. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive community, enhancing access to scholarly resources, advancing digital scholarship, engaging locally and globally, and exceling in a changing environment. It is our mission to work with you in the pursuit of intellectual discovery, rigorous learning, and global engagement.
Whether you are on campus or working remotely, we encourage you to reach out to Library staff members to let us know how we can collaborate with you to advance and share knowledge, to innovate, and to build a better future. Wherever you are, the Library is with you.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement
The University of Chicago Library believes that a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment builds a stronger, more creative community where we broaden approaches to our work and make better decisions. We encourage open and honest discussion, reflect on our assumptions, and actively seek viewpoints beyond our own. We welcome different perspectives as they challenge and motivate us to learn and respect the uniqueness that we each bring to our shared endeavors.
Library Fact Sheet for 2020-21
Over the last year, the Library has taken extraordinary steps to enable research, teaching, and learning under pandemic conditions. Following a rapid shift in Spring 2020 to provide services entirely remotely, in FY21 the University of Chicago Library offered enhanced online services while gradually reintroducing high-priority on-site services based on the needs of the UChicago community and the evolving safety requirements and guidelines provided by the state, city, and University. As Autumn Quarter 2021 begins, we are pleased to be able to welcome faculty, students, and staff back to the Library, reopening the vast majority of our pre-pandemic services and providing enhanced or reconfigured offerings that meet the evolving needs of our world-class researchers and students.
The metrics and services outlined below reflect an unprecedented year in which Library staff empowered UChicago faculty and students in new ways while reinventing services and processes that met the shifting guidelines that have characterized the ongoing pandemic. Librarians have heard from deans, faculty, and students that the resources and services we have provided in the past year have been vital to their work, and that the responsiveness of the Library to their priorities under changing circumstances has been outstanding.
By the Numbers
- 9th largest academic library in North America
- 12.6 million volumes in print and electronic form
- 70,603 linear feet of archives and manuscripts (58,136 linear feet of archival and 12,467 of manuscript material)
- 319 terabytes of born-digital archives, digitized collections, and research data
- Special pandemic service: 1.6 million copyrighted titles were made temporarily available to UChicago faculty, students, and staff through the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service through August 1, 2021.
- 44,908 print volumes circulated to 4,867 unique individuals, despite restrictions due to the pandemic, including 39,925 volumes that were made available through the Library’s new Paging & Pickup service
- Special pandemic service: 102,482 loans and 47,850 renewals from the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service
- 5.7 million electronic articles delivered
- 773,000 uses of electronic books
- 57,000 uses of streaming media
- 12,909 filled Scan & Deliver requests
- 6,311 filled requests from Big 10 libraries
- 4,897 filled requests from Ivy Plus libraries
- 10,253 other filled Interlibrary Loan requests
- 22,000 items on course reserve for 1,300 classes
- 11,542 questions to librarians
- 6,451 attendees at training sessions
- Special pandemic service: 30,765 reservations were made by 3,739 UChicago Library users, who reserved 81,078 hours in Regenstein, Crerar, and Mansueto libraries
- 2.0 million visits to the Library website
- 685,955 visits to the Library catalog
*Library ranking is based on the most recent data available (for 2020) from the Association of Research Libraries. All other data date from June 2021.
Serving the University Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Protecting the health and safety of the University of Chicago community while sustaining access to our extensive collections, programs, and services has been at the core of the Library’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a year of changing conditions, the Library has repeatedly innovated, successfully operating remotely and on-site as a hub for intellectual discovery and rigorous learning, in alignment with University operating plans and in response to our campus community’s needs.
In preparation for the 2020-21 academic year, academic leaders, faculty, public health experts, and staff across campus carefully planned for an innovative hybrid model, which provided a layered approach for the resumption of virtual and on-campus programs and operations. Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian, sat on several campus COVID committees and worked to solicit faculty and administrative priorities for services and feedback on plans as they took shape. As a critical partner for campus research and a vital hub for campus identity, the Library convened a COVID Services Strategy Group to facilitate the transition, safety protocols, logistical planning, and communications for the safe resumption of spaces and services for research. In accordance with the University’s Health Pact, the Library’s policies and procedures were developed in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reflected community needs. Proposed plans were also discussed with several student groups to understand their perspectives and priorities, including the Library Student Advisory Group.
The 2020-21 hybrid model was designed to be a flexible, phased approach so that we could stand ready to adapt or halt our in-person services and access to Library spaces as the campus or state situation changed. While the Library’s bookstacks were temporarily closed to browsing by patrons, more than 40% of the Library’s print collections was made available online through the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service. Other print materials could be requested and picked up by reservation using the Paging & Pickup service, which the Library began offering in June 2020. The Library also launched a program to offer quiet, individual study spaces on an online reservation-only basis. Our many years of investing in open-source technology allowed us to make rapid changes to our Library Catalog, enabling users to easily request items through our new Paging & Pickup service or temporary online access service.
Staff in every part of the Library went to extraordinary lengths to provide services in new ways throughout the pandemic. For example, catalogers brought new acquisitions home and worked remotely to add them to Library systems so that items could be circulated to users through our new Paging & Pickup service. Librarians pivoted to provide virtual services, consulting with students and faculty in 735 virtual meetings, answering 2,094 live-chat questions, and responding to 8,227 emails and text messages. The role of the subject liaisons as the “face of the library” was critically important when our physical services were deeply constrained, and liaison librarians evaluated and referred all kinds of questions for the library. Special Collections classes with rare books and manuscripts were provided in live Zoom sessions from the Library.
In August 2021, with many vaccinations administered and the University moving toward a fuller return to campus in the Autumn, the Library was able to significantly expand services for UChicago faculty, students, and staff. Regenstein and Crerar libraries reopened their stacks to browsing and Regenstein and Mansueto libraries reopened study seats to use without reservations. As Autumn Quarter 2021 begins, the vast majority of Library services have returned to pre-pandemic norms or have been enhanced or reconfigured to meet the needs of University of Chicago faculty, students, and staff today.
We are proud to continue enabling research and education at the heart of the University of Chicago’s distinctive academic community.
Librarians, Doctors, and Medical Students Collaborate to Share the Latest Research on COVID-19 with Clinicians on the Front Lines
Since COVID-19 came to Chicago, our medical librarians have played a special role in gathering cutting-edge research for doctors battling the novel coronavirus. As the amount of literature being published increased dramatically, Kaitlyn Van Kampen, the Library’s new Kathleen A. Zar Clinical Library Resident, and Debra Werner, Director of Library Research in Medical Education, were asked by hospital leadership to perform literature reviews and provide reliable resources for clinicians. The team quickly evolved into the UChicago Educational Support Team for COVID-19, including infectious disease Fellow, Dr. Maggie Collison; four fourth-year medical students and an internal medicine intern, sponsored by Associate Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Learning Environment, Dr. Vineet Arora. The team’s focus was expanded to support frontline clinicians across the organization who were treating or evaluating patients for COVID-19, including in the special cohorts for patients with COVID-19.
The initial success of the Educational Support Team led to the creation of a medical school elective course in which ten rising fourth-year Pritzker students were enrolled and added onto the team. Led by Van Kampen, the team continued to answer clinical questions about COVID-19 and summarized important COVID-19 literature. They also played a major role supporting clinical case conferences.
The medical school elective course has now expanded beyond COVID-19 queries. With the development of the ASAP (Ask-Search-Appraise-Perform) elective, Van Kampen and Werner have been joined by hospitalists from UChicago Medicine to lead an elective that combines didactic sessions on literature searching and critical appraisal with small-group workshops to practice searching strategies, refine questions, and apply evidence to the point-of-care. This elective continues the work of the Educational Support Team and has expanded to include all disciplines.
The impact of the UChicago Educational Support Team for COVID-19 extends beyond UChicago Medicine. They have been contacted by universities around the nation about their methods for collaborating and sharing their materials. Librarians from other universities have requested use of the website for hospital clinicians and its literature resources. An Emergency Department resident from another University requested support in establishing a similar team at their hospital.
The Library builds and preserves research collections that support the present and future needs of its faculty, students, and staff. Thirty-eight percent of the Library’s collections are in languages other than English, supporting faculty research with a global impact and making the Library a mecca for international scholars.
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center is home to the Library’s rare books, manuscripts, and the University of Chicago Archives. Highlights include:
- A comprehensive collection of print editions of Homer’s works
- The Goodspeed New Testament Manuscript Collection
- The Ludwig Rosenberger Library of Judaica
- Editorial files of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse
- The Chicago Jazz Archive
- The John Crerar Collection of Rare Books in the History of Science and Medicine
- Papers or medals of 21 Nobel Prize winners such as Enrico Fermi, Saul Bellow, S. Chandrasekhar, Ronald H. Coase, George Stigler, and James Cronin; papers of Harriet Monroe, Ida B. Wells, and Edward H. Levi.
- Business archives and printing samples of RR Donnelley
- The John Maloof Collection of Vivian Maier
The Library digitizes its own collections in order to provide greater access, preserve at-risk materials, and enable new forms of digital scholarship. One hundred subject-based collections, 44 archival collections, and 150 early manuscripts have been made accessible online, with items ranging from 4th century Egyptian manuscripts to early editions of the Maroon student newspaper to maps of Chicago before and after the Great Chicago Fire. Many more individual titles are available via our Library catalog and through our participation in the international digital preservation repository, HathiTrust.
The University of Chicago Library serves its users from six locations at the heart of campus, providing faculty and students with rapid access to its collections, research and study spaces, and diverse services.
- The John Crerar Library for science, medicine, and technology
- D’Angelo Law Library
- Eckhart Library for mathematics
- The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library
- The Joseph Regenstein Library for humanities, social sciences, business, and special collections
- The Social Work Library
The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library was opened at the heart of campus in 2011. Designed by renowned architect Helmut Jahn, the Mansueto Library has been recognized with a Distinguished Building Citation of Merit by the American Institute of Architects’ Chicago chapter and a Patron of the Year Award by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It features a soaring elliptical glass dome capping a 180-seat Grand Reading Room, state-of-the-art conservation and digitization laboratories, and an underground high-density automated storage and retrieval system. The Mansueto Library speeds scholarly productivity by allowing for the retrieval of materials in a median time of 3 minutes through use of robotic cranes.
The Library marked 50 years of the Joseph Regenstein Library during FY21. Associated online programming provided opportunities to reach new audiences and encourage their participation with this milestone anniversary. The virtual events and alumni involvement in interviews for digital articles had the positive effect of increasing the generosity of our alumni and supporters. The Library had more than 200 new or lapsed donors contribute this year—more than double the number in these giving categories in comparison with FY20.
Online events included How Regenstein Library Ushered in a New Era of Scholarly Distinction: A Conversation with Dean Boyer and Dean Robertson, Sept. 22, 2020, and At the Forefront of COVID-19 Knowledge: UChicago Medicine and the Library Work Together, Feb. 23, 2021.
Library Strategic Directions, 2020-2023
Below are six strategic directions the Library is pursuing for years 2020-2023, and selected services and initiatives undertaken in pursuit of those directions in FY21. These areas of emphasis have allowed us to build on the Library’s historical strengths, while innovating to expand the Library’s role as a hub that connects UChicago faculty, students, and staff in the exchange of information and the creation of knowledge.
1) Cultivate an Inclusive Community
Build an inclusive organization that cultivates and values diversity, recognizing the strength that it brings to our community and operations.
Diversity & Inclusion Training. Ingrid Wallace Presents, a consultancy that specializes in diversity and inclusion training, has been hired by the Library to conduct listening sessions with BIPOC staff members and training sessions with all members of the Library staff to examine our organization through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to foster a work environment centering core values of consideration and respect. Working in small groups, sessions are focusing on topics such as leading with accountability and responsibility, using RESPECT guidelines and other frameworks for becoming inclusive leaders, and transforming our organization. Training will be complete in Autumn 2021 and will result in a report to Library leadership for further action.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team: The Library established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team to provide leadership and support to advance its Strategic Directions, including but not limited to education and development opportunities across all levels of the Library and its community. In its first full year, the Team:
- Developed community agreements to guide its interactions and model the development of such agreements; other Library groups such as the Librarians’ Forum followed this model;
- Created reading lists to educate its members and other Library staff members about anti-racism, disability, and diversity work in libraries;
- Created an Inclusive Language Toolkit;
- Analyzed a survey of Library staff designed to gather comments on the All-Staff Reflection and ideas for pursuing future diversity initiatives;
- Served as a bridge to communication within the Library in a variety of ways, including working with Library administration and staff, participated in the Library Leadership Council’s Communications subgroup, and establishing an anonymous DIT contact form allowing Library staff to provide anonymous feedback, ideas, requests, and recommendations; and
- Began work toward conducting an environmental scan of Library culture, with the goal of having data to recommend changes to policies and programs to create a more inclusive Library.
Collections: Diversifying collections, exhibitions and programming is an ongoing priority for the Library. Among the year’s new online offerings are the web exhibit Black Metropolis Research Center Consortium: Fifteen Years of Preserving and Documenting Black History and Culture in Chicago.
Diverse Books & Open Conversations: Librarians Holiday Vega and André Wenzel led a discussion series that invited the community to read and discuss In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, 1919 by Professor Eve Ewing, and Kindred by Octavia Butler.
2) Empower Faculty and Students with Library Services, Collections, and Spaces
Advance state-of-the-art research, teaching, and engaged learning by implementing innovative and inclusive services and reimagining library collections and spaces.
Tailored Instruction for Courses: In collaboration with faculty, librarians provide tailored instruction for courses to teach students about the critical use of information resources. In the last year, the Library offered virtual training programs, through live webinars, asynchronous videos, and interactive learning modules in Canvas. Librarians focused on teaching our UChicago students, who were studying around the world, how to locate and utilize the rich digital collections available through the Library’s website and holdings.
Teaching: Law librarians instruct students in first-year and advanced legal research and writing courses. Other librarians teach a variety of classes, including a new Introduction to Data Management class open to the campus community.
Investigating Faculty’s Data Instruction Practices: In 2020-21, the UChicago Library worked with Ithaka S+R, along with 20 peer institutions in North America, on the Teaching Data in the Social Sciences research study. Teams of librarians at each of the participating institutions interviewed faculty in the social sciences to examine their practices in teaching undergraduates with data in order to understand the resources and services that instructors need to be successful in their work. The UChicago Library team conducted ten interviews and analyzed the resulting qualitative data to report on data discovery and creation, using data for teaching and research, undergraduate course and assignment design, and training and support opportunities.
Specialized Point-of-Need Services: Librarians provide point-of-need services to faculty and students in a wide range of fields and locations, such as medical students on clinical rounds at the hospital, law students preparing for interviews with prospective employers, and Chicago Booth faculty and students teaching and taking business and economics courses in Hyde Park. D’Angelo Law Library staff also provide support for the Law School’s 18 legal clinics that give law students hands-on experience addressing real-world legal issues in transactional, litigation, and law policy practice. Students and faculty are also able to schedule consultations with librarians for personalized in-depth research assistance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when on-site services cannot be provided, in-depth research assistance continues to be provided using Zoom and other tools.
Career Advancement: Librarians provide a wide variety of career-related services, for example providing the Graduate Career Development Resources Collection, training career advisors at UChicago Grad in career research and working with the History Department on workshops and events designed to increase the marketability of PhD students.
Support for Fellowship Applicants: The Library is collaborating with UChicagoGRAD and the College Center for Research and Fellowships on programming and new services to support applicants for national fellowships (Fulbright, Truman, NIH, Mellon Mays, etc.), along with teaching students skills necessary for developing successful research proposals, including developing research plans and identifying archives and collections abroad. The Library collaborated with CCRF staff on several workshops on remote research opportunities and online research strategies.
The Hanna Holborn Gray Graduate Student Fellowships: With support from President Emeritus Gray the Library provides UChicago graduate students opportunities to expand their professional horizons and enhance their development as scholars. Fellows learn about careers in academic libraries and archives through hands-on work conducted under the mentorship of a UChicago librarian, while simultaneously pursuing their individual research and teaching interests. During the most recent academic year, six fellows each focused on distinct areas from specialized subject librarianship and global information system mapping to archival work and metadata.
TechBar and One Button Studio: A partnership between the Library and IT Services provides walk-up support for IT issues, equipment loans, and workshops in a joint training space on the first floor of Regenstein Library and an easy-to-use video studio that allows users to produce high quality video in two simple steps on the A Level. Through a strategic partnership between the Library and IT Services, the Academic Technologies Solutions group will be moving into space on the A Level. In addition to their support of the One Button Studio, Academic Technologies will bring expertise in the University’s Learning Management System, Canvas, A/V technology and classroom support, and the Center for Digital Accessibility.
Exhibitions: The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center presents gallery exhibitions and creates web exhibitions each year. Faculty, students, and alumni are among the guest curators for these exhibitions that engage the public in an exploration of scholarly subjects, illustrated by the Library’s rare and unique materials and general collections. The exhibition Black Metropolis Research Center Consortium: Fifteen Years of Preserving and Documenting Black History and Culture in Chicago went on view in January 2021 in Special Collections. The gallery was closed due to the pandemic but the exhibition cases were positioned along the gallery’s glass front to allow for viewings. Special Collections also created five new web exhibits in 2021: Expanding Sources, The Adaptations of Augie March, War Trauma Memory, OI at 100, and BMRC. During FY21, visits to all Special Collections web exhibits dramatically increased to 110,229 unique visits, up from 43,344 in FY20 and above record of 73,112 visits set in FY16.
3) Advance Digital Scholarship
Increase the University’s scholarly impact by building spaces, services, and technologies that facilitate digital approaches to creating, analyzing, preserving, and openly sharing research.
Increase the University’s scholarly impact by building spaces, services, and technologies that facilitate digital approaches to creating, analyzing, preserving, and openly sharing research.
Data Acquisition and Management: Librarians assist faculty in acquiring or creating text and data corpora to support their research, and support research grant applications by helping them address funder requirements for data management plans, for access policies, and for data deposit. The Library is piloting a new data acquisition fund to actively purchase datasets of interest.
Technical Infrastructure for Faculty Research: The Library provides technical infrastructure for faculty research such as the OCHRE Data Service in the Oriental Institute, and the ARTFL Project (Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language).
Knowledge@UChicago: The Library leads an initiative, in collaboration with IT Services, to maintain and expand a digital repository that preserves and shares the scholarly, creative, and administrative assets of the University. Knowledge@UChicago is now home to research articles, dissertations, and locally published journals and has begun to accept scholarly datasets to ensure that research is citable, reusable, and archived for the long-term. The Library has developed processes that allows researchers to automate their deposits into Knowledge@UChicago so that it can become an integral part of their research workflow. This repository saw an increase in deposits from departments across the university during the COVID-19 period. Starting in Spring 2021, the Library began working with the Social Sciences Division to create an MA Thesis Archive collection. Students in Computational Social Sciences (MACSS), the MA Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS), and the Committee on International Relations (CIR), now make their theses publicly discoverable in Knowledge@UChicago and learn about open access publishing and copyright in the process. Next steps in the collaboration include migrating historical theses from these programs and reaching out to the alumni to encourage them to let us make their research available beyond campus.
Chicago Unbound: An online repository for scholarship by the Law School faculty is maintained by the D’Angelo Law Library. It unites the record of scholarship produced at the Law School in one online platform, making it accessible to a world audience. The repository also includes the journals published at the Law School, lectures and events, student works, and historical publications of the Law School. Starting in 2020, D’Angelo has added conference materials to Chicago Unbound, starting with the Earl B. Dickerson Centennial Conference celebrating the first African American to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Visitors have downloaded more than 8.8 million publications to date.
Center for Digital Scholarship: The Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship provides services that facilitate the analysis of complex data, the visualization of theoretical and spatial relationships, and the sharing and preservation of research results. The Library has begun planning for a new space for the CDS on the first floor of Regenstein Library that will provide state-of-the-art technologies and support scholarly exploration and collaboration. During the COVID-19 period, CDS provides digital scholarship consultations on topics such as open access publishing (including use of our Open Journal Platform service), grant collaborations on digitization; use of Omeka (digital exhibition tool) for class projects; digital preservation, data rescue, data management tool recommendations, and scholarly communications-related issues such as copyright and publishing in the University’s institutional repository, Knowledge@UChicago.
Digitization: This year the Library devoted its onsite staff time to digitizing archival collections, manuscripts and published titles requested by users, such as the Chicago Civil Service League Records 1901-1913, the Lady Leonie Leslie Papers 1902-1935, the Henry Hunt Papers 1760-1838 (MS 563), the Islamic Lithographs Collection, Ms 916 from the Sir Nicholas Bacon Collection of English Court and Manorial Documents circa 1200-1785, the Thorstein Veblen Papers 1895-1930, and a number of 19th-century manuscripts and rarely held published works from both the general collections and the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center. Staff also worked remotely on large digitization projects, including the Middle East Serials Project and the Mapping Chicago Project, which will continue in the coming fiscal year.
Text and Data Mining Support: During the pandemic, the Library increased its support of text and data mining through services such as ProQuest’s TDM Studio, which make current and historical newspapers, news wires, trade journals, and other highly desirable content available for text analysis. This content had been highly requested but was previously unavailable due to copyright and technical limitations. The Library seeks to negotiate text and data mining rights whenever it acquires new digital resources and has a Text and Data Mining Guide to help faculty and students with tools and resources available for their text and data mining project. In Spring 2021, the Library also began participating in Ithaka’s Constellate beta program, which empowers librarians, faculty, and other instructors with the skills needed to teach text and data mining, including programming with Python. It makes available most of the content from JSTOR, Portico, and other services for text and data mining purposes. We had 12 participants in Constellate’s May & July Text Analytics courses, including librarians, faculty, PhD students, and Humanities Division staff who support digital humanities. This training has allowed the Library to more effectively engage with faculty and staff on their text and data mining needs and to direct them to the resources needed based on both their research topic and level of knowledge with programming languages used for TDM.
Undergraduate Research: The Library has partnered with the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships to publish a new series, The University of Chicago Undergraduate Research Symposium Proceedings, using the Library’s Open Journal System (OJS) platform. This series celebrates scholarly undergraduate research and creative inquiry across all disciplines. It was particularly relevant during the pandemic when the 2020 Symposium itself had to be cancelled, but the online issue provided a way to still showcase the work that students had done.
4) Enhance Access to Scholarly Resources
Connect scholars with resources at the point of need by developing a user-centered, content-rich, integrated discovery environment and by providing fast and convenient access and delivery services.
Library Catalog: The Library provides a catalog that supports discovery of traditional library materials while also providing access to new services, such as Scan & Deliver. Innovative use of dynamic linking technologies allows us to enhance the catalog with links to external collections such as HathiTrust and enriched information such as tables of contents, so that patrons have a central hub for exploring the widest variety of resources available to them. Beginning in March 2020, we enhanced the catalog with links to the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service content as well as records for temporary access to materials provided by a number of publishers in response to the pandemic.
Library Website: The Library’s website provides streamlined access to search tools for articles, journals, and databases, and connects related collections, tools, and experts, making it easier for users to take advantage of the wealth of information and services offered by the Library. The Library’s web design specialists ensure that the Library website is designed to meet the needs of the faculty, students, and staff and that it meets current web accessibility standards in order to facilitate use by patrons with disabilities.
FOLIO: The Library is participating in a community-driven initiative to develop a next-generation, open-source library management system that will support our acquisitions, cataloging, and circulation operations. The project is remarkable for the breadth and depth of the partnership, including peer institutions, libraries, and consortia from around the globe, and commercial library vendors.
5) Extend the University’s Impact through Local and Global Engagement
Engage with local and global partners to extend the University’s impact on pressing challenges in our city, nation, and the world.
HathiTrust: The UChicago Library participates in a partnership of more than 120 major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. The HathiTrust Digital Library, a digital preservation repository and highly functional access platform, provides long-term preservation and access services for public domain and in-copyright content from a variety of sources, including those digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and in-house partner institution initiatives.
Ivy Plus Library Confederation's Web Archiving Program: The UChicago Library participates in this program, which archives copies of important and endangered websites from around the world. To date, 29 sites have been archived, covering topics and countries ranging from #MeToo and the women’s rights movement in China to independent news sites on Turkish affairs.
Chicago Collections: The UChicago Library is a major partner with other universities, libraries, and museums in the creation of an online portal, Explore Chicago Collections, which documents the rich history and culture of the Chicago region and facilitates access to archival collections about Chicago for both researchers and the general public. UChicago Special Collections holdings on the site include 356 finding aids and 1078 images.
The Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC): The BMRC is a Chicago-based membership association of libraries, universities, and other archival institutions that documents and makes accessible collections relating to African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics, with a specific focus on materials relating to Chicago. UChicago serves as the current host institution of the BMRC with the Library providing oversight of the staff and technical infrastructure for the collaboration. The BMRC pivoted during the pandemic to online engagement with the Black community in Chicago by conducting a Needs and Assets Assessment Survey and then creating a series of online workshops to teach archivists about diversifying their collections and to teach community members how to care for and archive their own legacy materials. The Consortium also celebrated its 15-year anniversary with an online exhibit hosted by the University of Chicago Library showcasing the work that the BMRC has done to preserve and document Black history in Chicago. We welcomed four new BMRC staff:
- Tanya Calvin joined the Library as the Black Metropolis Research Consortium’s Community Engagement Archivist in June 2020. Tanya is responsible for connecting with the BMRC’s member institutions and doing outreach with the larger Black community in Chicago to advise them with best archives and collections practices. By working directly with the different Black communities in Chicago, Tanya closes the gap between archives and the communities they serve. Calvin’s position is supported by the Mellon Foundation.
- Laurie Lee Moses joined the Library as the Black Metropolis Research Consortium’s Portal Archivist in May 2020. She is charged with updating, re-envisioning, and transforming the BMRC’s collections database in order to provide an engaging and sustainable single point of entry to archival collections from across the city of Chicago that document the city’s African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics. Moses’s expertise in information modeling and user experience design will help in developing a state-of-the-art tool that addresses the needs of scholars and community members alike. Moses’s position is supported by the Mellon Foundation.
- Allison Sutton joined the Library as the Black Metropolis Research Consortium’s Program Manager/Archivist. She serves as the primary lead for the BMRC’s Archie Motley Internship Program that provides educational and practical internship opportunities in cultural heritage organizations for current and recent undergraduate and graduate students of color. She also manages the BMRC’s Summer Short-term Fellowship Program that engages scholars, artists, writers, and public historians to better formulate new historical narratives of Chicago’s past based on archival collections in the BMRC member institutions.
Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships: Since 2006, the Library has awarded 153 fellowships to visiting researchers from the U.S., Britain, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Spain, and Russia to support work on projects that require on-site consultation of Library archives, manuscripts, or printed materials.
The Library has arranged access and/or borrowing privileges for local educators connected with the Civic Knowledge Project, for students enrolled in the international baccalaureate program at the Hyde Park Academy, for teachers and AP students at Kenwood Academy, for La Rabida Children’s Hospital researchers, for public school students sponsored by the Office of Civic Engagement, for teachers and selected students at the Orthogenic School, for artists connected with the Washington Park Arts Incubator, and for teachers and students connected with the UChicago Charter Woodlawn campus. These services are temporarily on hold due to COVID-19.
6) Excel in a Changing Environment
Build an agile, creative, and inclusive organization that values diversity and encourages experimentation, collaboration, bold thinking, and cultural competence in order to meet the needs of the ever-changing academic environment.
Collections Partnerships: The Library is identifying and building local, regional, national, and international partnerships that strengthen its ability to deliver comprehensive collections and innovative and effective services. Currently, the Library participates in two consortial borrowing programs: UBorrow for material in the collections of the Big 10 Academic Alliance university libraries; and BorrowDirect for material in the collections of the Ivy League, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Duke, and Stanford university libraries. The Library is leveraging its membership in the Ivy Plus Confederation not only to obtain rapid access to the collections of the Ivy Plus libraries but also to promote efforts to collaboratively build collections that more effectively support the research endeavors of faculty and students in all the participating universities.
Polsky Exchange: Business and Economics librarians are providing research consultation services to entrepreneurs who are members of UChicago’s Polsky Exchange, advising them on how to access the market, industry, and product research they need to develop their business plans. This includes learning to define a target market through consumer demographics and market research as well as define competition by helping to locate company information and industry analysis.
GIS Hub: The Library’s GIS Hub, on the first floor of the renovated Crerar Library, intersects with the Media Arts, Data, and Design Center. Eight workstations in the Hub offer GIS software, including QGIS, GeoDa, and ArcGIS. Large, high-resolution monitors allow detailed visualization work. Our GIS/Map Librarian supports faculty and students through consultations on gathering and exploring geospatial data, spatial literacy, and visualizing geographic information. She also offers workshops on using GIS data and getting started with the software.
Professional Development: Librarians pursue professional development opportunities that focus on critical skills and expertise needed today and in the future. Many of our librarians are building new skills, including creating more inclusive remote instruction, leading hybrid organizations, and how to effectively use tools such as Zoom for instruction and outreach. This has been critical in the past year. Other professional development continues to be participation in the development of the new open-source library management system FOLIO, in new strategies for circulating digital materials such as Controlled Digital Lending, and in resource sharing programs with the Big Ten Academic Alliance and Ivy Plus universities.
For more information about our Strategic Directions and the strategies we will use to pursue them, visit https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/about/thelibrary/mission/.