From the Dean of Libraries
For 154 years, Northwestern University Library has served as a state-of-the-art research center for the University community. In 1857, that could be accomplished with a $2,000 budget and a collection of 1,977 books, 21 catalogs, and 16 pamphlets. (Thirty-three of the books were in Greek, thirty-three in Latin, forty-one in French, and one in German.)
In 2010, being a state-of-the-art research center means housing a collection of roughly 5,000,000 volumes—in hundreds of different languages including 300 African languages alone; plus more than 18,000 linear feet of archives and manuscripts; 34,000 audio-visual items; 200,000 maps; and 600,000 graphic images. It means providing internet access to roughly 90,000 electronic journals and databases so that researchers in cutting-edge fields such as nanotechnology and genomics can keep current with discoveries that change literally daily. It means creating and curating over 15 terabytes of unique digital images and texts that no other library has produced, a rapidly expanding array available to the world.
It means advising our faculty members on the latest developments in copyright law, and helping them construct websites with the capability to integrate historic documents and contemporary audio and video content. It means conducting more than 900 annual classes and workshops to teach students about the research process and prepare them for lifelong learning. And it—still—means helping the undergraduate student who comes to the Reference desk looking for sources for a term paper on Shakespeare.
Our reach, in the 21st century, now extends far beyond the Evanston and Chicago campuses. Our website makes our resources available to a global community of scholars: to Kenyan researchers consulting the historic East African photos in our digitized Winterton collection; to Russian scholars exploring our digitized World War II posters; and to members of Native American tribes all over this continent reconstructing fragments of their lost heritage from images in the Curtis Collection. Our newest branch is the dynamic NUL-Q, supporting Northwestern University in Qatar.
As the world of publishing and scholarly communication continues to evolve, fulfilling our mission not just to support but in many ways to blaze information trails for our users becomes increasingly complex and expensive. We could never fulfill this mission without the loyal support of a community of donors who contribute to the Annual Fund, endow specialized funds, support innovative services and donate priceless items to our collections.
We invite you to join that community. If you'd like to learn more about ways you can stay involved and support our activities, click on any of the links below or contact the Library's development director Alex Herrera, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we deeply appreciate your support.
Sarah M. Pritchard
Dean of Libraries and
Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian