As I have mentioned before, we who work in the field of education are blessed with two 'new years' .... one when our traditional New Year occurs and the other when the students return to campus at the beginning of the New Academic Year. I love this time of year and find myself so energized by the excitement on the faces of our first year students who are just beginning to explore life on their own, and when I see returning students reconnecting with friends and faculty. It is a great time to be a Boilermaker!
Over the summer, several projects were completed or initiated, including the implementation of ALMA. Sometimes it seems as if we have been on ALMA forever, but it was only after classes ended in the spring that ALMA became an integral part of the Libraries infrastructure. Never have I witnessed a major technology application come up on 'day one' with so few issues or bugs! This was due to the careful and thorough analysis, the planning and the testing that so many of you undertook during the past three years to design and develop ALMA in collaboration with Ex Libris. Your hard work and commitment to ALMA benefited Purdue, but as it is adopted by libraries throughout the world, it also will make a global impact.
In May, the Purdue University Research Repository (PURR) video was released to provide an in-depth overview and introduction to this amazing data management resource now available to Purdue researchers. The success of PURR is highly dependent upon collaboration — collaboration outside the Libraries with ITaP and the Office of the Vice President for Research and inside the Libraries by the PURR Steering Committee comprised of colleagues from throughout the Libraries. PURR has been described by noted national authorities as “beautiful” and an “exemplar to other research universities.” Purdue’s tenacity, creativity and dedication made PURR a reality long before other research universities had even begun to produce anything comparable.
Over the summer several facility projects were started and are now nearing completion. First, is the addition of Conservation/Archives space on the fourth floor of Humanities, Social Science and Education Library (HSSE). This expanded space provides both a work area and housing for a conservation lab...bringing this critical function closer to Archives and Special Collection. The project will be completed in early October.
Second, a major renovation has now been completed on half of the ground floor of the Hicks Undergraduate Library. The space, formerly known as the Esther Ellis Norton Reference Area, was in need of updating in order to better address the requirements and interests of the students. Working against amazing deadlines, the renovated space has been completed. Now, upon entering the Hicks Library, one sees a dramatically transformed area that is more conducive for study and collaboration. The renovation was funded by a grant from the University's Repair and Replacement Fund; the grant was matched with funding from the Esther Ellis Norton Endowment and the Office of the Provost. On Friday, September 13, from 4-7 p.m. this renovation of the Hicks Library will be celebrated with live music, refreshments and games. Please join students and colleagues from across the Libraries and University to celebrate this renewal of the Hicks Library.
Finally, no communication at this time would be complete without a mention of the status of the Active Learning Center (ALC). As you know, in April, the University was awarded $50 million from the State of Indiana to support the construction of the ALC. Over the summer the University made its commitment of $13 million to the overall $79 million project. This leaves $16 million to be raised through donations. This summer we raised approximately $2.4 million. As we get underway this fall, fund raising will ramp up, the process of selecting an architect will begin and planning for demolition of structures on the site in front of the Bell Tower will get underway.
Over the summer and early fall, we have had new colleagues join us on the faculty and clerical service staff. They include: Christine Abel, HR Coordinator; Rebecca Bunch, Event Planner; Rey Junco, Associate Professor, First Year Experience and Emerging Technology Specialist; Erica Laffoon, Secretary, Administrative Offices; Blythe Lee, Library Assistant, Acquisitions; Pete Pascuzzi, Assistant Professor, Molecular Biosciences Information Specialist; Anna Seiffert, Library Assistant, Acquisitions; and Marcy Wilhelm-South, Digital Repository Specialist, Press.
The upcoming year promises to be another exciting one for the Libraries. Each year, new opportunities (along with a few challenges) present themselves, and as we have demonstrated in the past, together we will take advantage of the opportunities and will address and learn from the challenges.