volume 41, number 1
Temple UniversityFaculty Herald

Life in the Library Committee
Shohreh Amini, Committee Chair, College of Science & Technology

You’ve just agreed to serve on the Library Committee, and you are not sure what’s ahead of you. What will you do, exactly, as member of this group?

Well, I have served as Chair of the Library Committee since 2009, and have learned that the modern library deals with more than just budgets and books. In fact, it’s anything but boring! Today’s library provides everything from state-of-the-art electronic resources to meet our diverse intellectual needs, to an educational program to help our students navigate the complex world of information with enhanced research and evaluation skills,  to public programs that contribute to the cultural and social climate of our institution.

The research library of the 21st century is facing significant challenges as the world of information rapidly changes and keeping up with the increasing costs of scholarly material is but one of these challenges.  As a Library Committee member, you will help shape these important decisions made at Temple University Libraries.

Let me share with you some of the activities of our Library Committee from the past academic year. One of the most exciting prospects for Temple University’s future is the proposal to build a new library, a signature academic building on Broad Street. Meetings with Dean of University Libraries, Larry Alford and Tom McCreesh of Facilities Management afforded members of the Library Committee an opportunity to share their ideas and recommendations for how a new library could best serve the needs of the faculty and their students.

Collections are important as well, and the quality of faculty research and teaching depends on having access to the highest quality content in all available formats. Our committee receives regular reports about the strengths of the library collection, new and essential additions to both the circulating and special collections, and budgetary concerns that could impact their growth. Serving on the Library Committee allows members to communicate the needs of faculty to the Dean of the University Libraries, ensuring that your research and teaching needs are met. A highlight of our service was participating in the selection of the three-millionth library book, which became the centerpiece of a celebration of the Temple Libraries in 2009, and two rare illuminated texts in 2010.

What else does the Library Committee do? Here are a few additional accomplishments:

  • Recommended that Paley Library offer faculty a study room that can be reserved in advance for meetings with students. Room 208 may now be reserved by faculty.
  • Stay abreast of personnel matters with human resources updates that address how new hires meet faculty needs.
  • Advise the Library on special events and participate in programs such as the Library Prize, which honors three outstanding student research papers with $1,000 awards.
  • Be informed of important news and developments related to scholarly communications such as the ways in which research libraries are working to create open access to scholarly research for public benefit.
  • Provide feedback to Dean Alford on the acquisition of significant collections such as the Philadelphia Jewish Archives, which was acquired in 2010.
  • Offer comments and suggestions to enhance the Libraries’ 2009-2012 strategic plan, which was completed and approved by the Provost in 2010.
  • Support the Libraries in their effort to serve the surrounding community by offering guest access to computers and limited borrowing privileges.

The Library Committee is not a passive group that receives mundane business reports from the Dean of University Libraries. The faculty who serve on this committee play an active role in determining the ways in which the Libraries can best serve research and academics at Temple, as well as our surrounding community. It is often said that the Library is the heart of the university. As budget crises diminish the capacity of the research library to support faculty research and teaching, at other institutions that heart is beating more weakly. Here at Temple University the Library Committee is proud to serve the academic community in working cooperatively with Dean Alford and his staff to ensure that our heart of the university continues to beat strongly, with a dynamic outlook for the future.

The Library Committee, an appointed committee of the Faculty Senate, currently has five openings. To nominate yourself for this or any Senate committee please send an e-mail with a brief statement of interest and a c.v. to senate2@temple.edu