The University of Delaware Libraries Join the Greater Western Library Alliance

Post date: Oct 31, 2017

The University of Delaware Libraries has been granted membership into the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA). Membership was approved at the GWLA Fall Membership Meeting on September 19.

“GWLA is delighted to welcome the University of Delaware Libraries to our community. With its long record of strong collections support, a burgeoning campus digital humanities initiative with the Library, university press and museums as key partners, and significant special collections, Delaware is well-positioned to contribute to the robust resource-sharing at the heart of GWLA and to the realization of its strategic initiatives,” stated Mary Case, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and current GWLA Board Chair.

GWLA is a dynamic, effective, project-oriented consortium of research libraries located across the United States, nationally recognized as a leader in the transformation of scholarly communication, and a facilitator in the application of new information technologies. With the addition of the University of Delaware, there are 37 member institutions.

“We are thrilled to join GWLA and its impressive member institutions,” said Trevor A. Dawes, vice provost for libraries and museums and May Morris University Librarian for the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press. “An overarching idea within our strategic plan is partnership and collaboration. Through collaborations with GWLA members, we look forward to strengthening the pillars of our plan and aspects of the 21st-century library, including efforts surrounding student success and learning, as well as research, scholarship service, and discovery.”

As part of GWLA, the University of Delaware Library will share interlibrary loan reciprocity with member institutions; champion focus areas such as content development, resource sharing/document delivery, cooperative collection management, student learning outcomes and digital collections; and participate in professional development opportunities. Through membership, the Library will also have built-in support to promote and advocate for scholarly communications, national print and digital preservation initiatives, and continuous improvement of ILL and document delivery.

The criteria for GWLA membership include classification as either “R1: Doctoral Research University (Highest Research Activity)" or "R2: Doctoral Research University (Higher Research Activity)" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; unique and extraordinary qualifications within their research mission, as reflected in collections of distinction, and their ability to add breadth and depth to the resources and services offered to the current GWLA membership; and, quantitative factors comparable to other GWLA institutions with regards to materials budgets and staff-to-student ratios.

In August 2017, a two-person GWLA team visited the University of Delaware for an on-site evaluation, similar to a college accreditation visit that analyzes collection size and scope, services and potential contributions to the alliance. The site visit committee was impressed with the connection of libraries, museums and university press under a single administrative umbrella, fostering close collaboration. The Library also has close collaboration with the digital humanities initiative, which is beginning to bring disparate digital humanities groups together from across campus. This synergy of the museums, library, press, and digital humanities is an interesting and dynamic intersection of disciplines. The committee also noted the strong and sustained support the Libraries have received within the University.

Of special note is the Library’s Special Collections Department. Highlights in Special Collections include the recently acquired Mark Samuels Lasner Collection as well as works of Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. They also house the manuscripts and papers of political figures including that of U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. It was also the observation of the site team that the Library has particular interests, services and collections in the visual arts. The team believes that this comes from the interdisciplinary association with the Museum and the Press.

The Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) is a consortium of research across the United States. GWLA is a dynamic, effective, project-oriented consortium, nationally recognized as a leader in the transformation of scholarly communication, and a facilitator in the application of new information technologies. For additional information, visit the GWLA website or follow GWLA on Facebook.