A new appeal will keep our library system strong
“The library is the lifeblood of the university.”
That’s what Wichita physician Cramer Reed said 25 years ago when he agreed to lead the WSU Foundation’s $3 million campaign for University Libraries.
His pronouncement is still true today. Through the years, the University Libraries at Wichita State has worked zealously to meet the ever-changing needs of our students, faculty, staff, and community. The result is a sophisticated library system that provides traditional on-site services as well as a wealth of digital resources accessible from on campus and around the world.
In September, the WSU Foundation will launch a new appeal to donors and Shockers, asking them to support projects that will strengthen and advance University Libraries.
“We raise funds for our library system continuously, but this will be a special message about some important initiatives that will make our libraries even more valuable to students and faculty,” says Amy Tully, WSU Foundation director of development.
- The creation of a new collaboration space in Ablah Library for digital research and scholarship. Open to all WSU faculty and students, this space will support various colleges as they expand their educational and research efforts in the areas of digital humanities, data management, and GIS (geographic information systems).
“The new digital research commons allows faculty and students to bring their research to life,” says Kathy Downes, dean of University Libraries. “It also has wide-ranging applications across disciplines. Beyond the field sciences, knowledge of GIS is a high-demand skill in countless career paths. It provides students in any field a strategic edge in the job market.”
- Another digital initiative is ensuring the history of Wichita State continues to be preserved. Wichita State’s history and records are now created and stored in digital format. To provide long-term access to these vital historical records, new archival techniques and infrastructures must be implemented along with the hiring of a new digital archivist to grow and manage the archives.
- New funds also are needed to acquire the library resources necessary to support the growth taking place throughout the university’s academic programs. For example, Wichita State recently created a master’s program in data sciences and analytics. Additional funds will enable the University Libraries to purchase the scholarly collections needed to support the program’s growth and the success of its students and faculty.
The successful campaign Cramer Reed led 25 years ago gave University Libraries new resources needed to change with the times and build library services and collections so crucial to today’s students. Wichita State now has more than 6 million books, journals, maps, manuscripts, rare items, documents, and media in its library collections. Over 4 million of these items are in digital formats and available to local and distance students alike. Services are provided not only in-person at three campus locations but to students and faculty around the world.
“The libraries at WSU must continuously evolve to meet the needs of students and faculty,” Downes says. “To fully succeed, we must not only provide the scholarly resources and spaces required by today’s students and faculty but also anticipate and build to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”
Wichita State supporters have long recognized the importance of University Libraries. Look for special email messages and other communications encouraging your continued support during this appeal to keep our library system responsive and vibrant.