Message from Jay:
Here’s a twist on the traditional conversation. “Libraries aren’t just about coffee.” With the success of the LearningCommons and our emphasis on the “non-traditional” aspects of service at UMass Amherst Libraries, it is important to tell both sides of the story. Yes, in fiscal year 2007, we did sell over 75,000 cups of coffee at Procrastination Station in the Du Bois Library. Yes, this is the most coffee sold at any place on campus. Nearly 1.1 million people came to theLibraries in 2006-07, but not just for coffee. Inside the doors we offer a rich mix of services. They include “traditional” library reference and research assistance, campus information technology support, and myriad other offerings aimed at student success such as Academic Advising, Career Services, the Learning Resource Center, and the Writing Center. In this 21st century world it is exciting and even sexy (in PR terminology) to talk about how we have broken the mold and stereotypes of “the traditional library” to become “relevant” to today’s students. The library as place – the social and intellectual center for collaborative study – is an important new focus for UMass Amherst Libraries. But, as we discuss the “21st Century Library” it is vital to honor the core values of the institution – to collect, organize, and preserve information resources for our campus constituents. I like to call it “the stuff” our users need to be successful as students and researchers. Others might think of books, journals, databases, digital images, manuscripts, documents, etc. but to me it is “the stuff” and it is important to have the “right stuff” for our users. You will read in this newsletter about new “stuff” we have acquired ... an extensive aerial photography collection, a vast collection of books and broadsides pertaining to theatre, and a unique collection of gay and lesbian materials are a few examples. It is equally important to note that UMass Amherst Libraries was the top lender of “stuff” in our six state New England library cooperative of more than 600 libraries. Not only do we have the “right stuff” but we are willing to share it. As a Friend, I hope you share the pride I have for the excellence found at UMass Amherst Libraries. Building this excellence depends on your continuing support.
Director of Libraries