Library News: Report from ACRL 2015

Among the topics we explored at ACRL 2015 were:

  • Strategies for maximizing the impact of the materials on our shelves, including tools and techniques to help calculate space needs and select items for offsite storage (this will come in handy very soon, as we are closing in on capacity onsite at the Institute);
  • Methods for improving our web and social media presence and access to electronic content in the Ancient World Digital Library (we will be re-launching both AWDL and our website in the coming weeks: stay tuned!);
  • Practices and policies of peer libraries aimed at facilitating the creation and use of open access content and mobile apps.

It was also, of course, a time to convene with colleagues from libraries both far (Oregon, North Carolina, California) and near (the Watson Library at the Met), with many of whom we hope to collaborate in the future. We are a small library; but our wide mandate over the ancient world and the energetic team we have now assembled put us in the position to support and broaden the encouraging trend toward richer communication and deeper collaboration between important institutional resource stakeholders in ancient studies. One of the first fruits of this new initiative is a regional meeting of the Forum for Classics, Libraries, and Scholarly Communication, hosted in New York by the ISAW Library this coming May with generous support of the Yale Classics Library.

Finally, at a discussion on “New Roles for the Road Ahead,” one panelist stated that the role of the library is shifting: no longer are libraries seen as giant storehouses of inert materials waiting for the scholar’s expert eye; instead, they are increasingly defined by the information-based activities in which they are engaged. This shift describes precisely the vision of the ISAW Library. As our collection-building slows from the break-neck pace of the last several years, we, in partnership with the New York University Division of Libraries, are increasingly turning to projects that preserve, catalog, surface, and serve the expanding array of scholarship and information on the ancient world beyond the print monograph or serial—images, digitized scholarship, archaeological data sets, ancient documents, websites, born-digital materials, etc. We will have more to say about many of these projects on the ISAW Library blog (and elsewhere) in the weeks and months ahead—and perhaps at ACRL 2017 in Baltimore, MD!