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BARUCH COLLEGE, NEW YORK, NY (2/13/03)—The William and Anita Newman Library at Baruch College/CUNY has received this year’s Excellence in Academic Libraries award from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), which is the academic division of the American Library Association.

The award, informally known as “The Best of the Best”, is given annually to one college library, as well as to one university library system and to one community college library.

Previous winners at the college level, in the four years since the award was initiated, were Oberlin College, Wellesley College, and Earlham College. This is the first time that an urban public institution has been cited as best college library.

Arthur Downing, head of Baruch’s Library and Computing and Technology Center, today said, “The award is a great honor for Baruch and for the City University of New York. ACRL is recognizing how well we serve diverse populations: top-ranking business and public affairs faculties, a world class arts and sciences faculty, and students who are among the city’s best. These are students who also work nearly full-time, live away from campus, and have very limited time on campus for scholarship outside of class. The award is a tribute to our students, our faculty, the great leadership of the college in President Ned Regan, the commitment of the City University and Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, the vision of William and Anita Newman, and most of all an extremely dedicated, imaginative, and hardworking staff.”

Baruch did not make an application to be nominated, but was contacted by the ACRL and asked to provide certain materials in support of its nomination, which came from one of ACRL’s experts. The library staff then compiled an extensive self-assessment and provided certain outcome data: library use by students and faculty, satisfaction of the users, and student satisfaction across ethnic lines, among others. The library at Baruch is used by students from many language groups, which means, for instance, that the online guide to the library found on the Baruch website has narration in nine languages. In a recent survey of undergraduates, the library ranked first among all services provided by the College, and it also received a recent award from the student government for its attention to the needs of students. Surveys of graduate students also show high satisfaction.

In response to student needs, the library has enabled students to access full-text research materials from 150 databases; provided laptops on loan for students who cannot afford computers; run workshops on evenings and weekend schedules; supported a live-chat and e-mail reference service for students doing research on line, as well as an online access to materials kept on reserve, getting permissions and scanning the texts. Other factors weighing in Baruch’s favor and that of its library include a superb physical setting and excellent resources in both electronic and print formats.

The Excellence in Academic Libraries award is funded by Blackwell’s Book Services. Each library (the college, university system and community college choices) receives a $3,000 stipend. A formal citation and plaque will be presented by ACRL officials in a ceremony at Baruch on April 2, 2003.

Further details about the award, the committees, and planned events will be available in coming days.

Related Links:

The Association of College Research Libraries Award Recipients

Vince Passaro, Director of Public Relations


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