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John M. Olin Library, Cornell's main library for the humanities and social sciences, is 50 years old. On Monday, Feb. 6, 1961, the library opened its doors for the first time after seven years of planning and a $5.7 million construction price tag. The "Libe“Libe," as Uris Library was known then, had served the campus for 70 years, but the collection had long outgrown the space, with books stacked in the clock tower. The Libe was closed and would reopen in 1962 as the undergraduate library.  As the first library in the country to be purpose-built as a research facility, Cornell's President Deane W. Malott considered Olin the single greatest accomplishment of his tenure (1951 to 1963). "We “We have built many other buildings on this campus," he wrote, "and “and we will build many more, but none is or will be so important to the university's university’s capabilities or so descriptive of its character as this one." Although there were critics of the new building, dubbed a "vulgar modernization" “vulgar modernization” by the former dean of architecture, it became extremely popular, with  35-40% of the university community entering its doors on the heaviest days of use.  Food and drink were forbidden, but smoking was allowed, a practice that now seems all the more incredible given that the library had no sprinkler system. Today, we are in the midst of a project to provide life safety systems throughout the 240,000 sq. foot building. In the past fifty years much has changed.  Gone are the days of sports coats and ties on men and  a massive card catalog that was the first thing to be saved in the event of a disaster.  Gone, too, are closed stacks, pneumatic tubes, and punch cards. But Olin remains a vital place for research and study, with between 3,000 and 11,000 visitors a day at peak academic times. During Cornell Reunion weekend of June 2011, we celebrated Olin Library's Library’s 50th anniversary with a fabulous exhibit (see http://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/olinat50)

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Engineering Library

The Engineering Library's Library’s transition is well underway to become Cornell's Cornell’s second virtual library joining the Physical Sciences Library that lead the way last year. These libraries work collaboratively with the Mathematics library to support the engineering, mathematical, and physical sciences.  The process to fully realize dynamic virtual libraries is still under development but much progress has been made.
 
The 2010 Recommendations of the Advisory Committee to Re-envision the Engineering Library called for enhancing the electronic collection, providing effective study space and computer access, and reconsidering the role of librarians.  In the last two years through a number of devices including reallocation from operations savings, the budget for materials has been augmented and the online collection strengthened considerably.  The librarians are engaged in building the vision and structure for the virtual library, working with many groups to take advantage of larger discovery and access projects and to build custom specialized discovery tools for the needs of the researchers.  These efforts are leveraging off work started by the Physical Sciences Library.
 
By the end of June, the physical collection will have been relocated from Carpenter Hall with the majority moving into 24-hr access storage. About 25,000 monographs that have circulated in the last five years will remain on central campus.  The library's library’s former main reading room is now open 24/7 with key card access as a study area and computer lab to anyone with a current Cornell ID.  The Librarians will remain in their Carpenter offices and continue to assist users as in the past, enhancing their outreach efforts, and building and stewarding the substantial and growing electronic collection.    
 
Details, updates and background are available on the Engineering Library's Library’s website <http://engineering.library.cornell.edu/node/6791>.

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We continue to collaborate with Google in digitizing CUL's collections. To recap, the partnership supports the Library's Library’s long-standing commitment to make its collections broadly available and the university's university’s goal to increase the impact of Cornell beyond campus boundaries. So far, we have digitized approximately 300,000 books including materials from Mann, Entomology, Lee Library (Geneva), Adelson (Ornithology),  Engineering, Math, Physical Sciences, and Vet. We recently began a new phase of digitization to include materials from ILR, JGSM, and Hotel libraries. 

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Through this new formal arrangement, Cornell's Cornell’s two Southeast Asia librarians will work with faculty and students at Columbia, offering in-depth reference services. They will also work directly with Columbia's Columbia’s librarians, providing advice on collection development and selecting materials. Cornell will provide improved access to materials in multiple languages, including Burmese, Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Malaysian, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese. Columbia will continue to maintain and enhance its English language resource collection.See the press release at http://staffweb.library.cornell.edu/node/2208

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We signed a contract with the Internet Archive for their Archive-It service (http://archive-it.org). Archive-It allows us to crawl and capture snapshots of web sites, which are then both made publicly available through the Internet Archive's Archive’s Wayback Machine (http://archive.org) and also delivered to the Library as part of our permanent digital archive. We will be using this service in several ways: first, to capture and preserve on a regular basis the cornell.edu web space, including resources such as the Cornell Chronicle, course catalogs and descriptions, and research sites; second, to work with faculty to identify and capture external websites that are important to current and future scholarship; third, to capture immediately both Cornell and outside web sites that are of interest and at risk due to loss of funding or other changes. As part of our 2CUL effort with Columbia University, we will be using the service to jointly identify and capture resources for scholars at both institutions. The cost of the service is being split by CIT and CUL, and our initial $8,000 contract runs through June 2012.

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Charge The Library Task Force on Alumni Outreach will investigate the current state of and recommend future directions for the library's library’s service-related outreach to alumni.  Over the next year, the Task Force will:  

  • recommend policies and means for communicating with alumni about access to collections and services.  This includes access to print collections and databases (free and licensed);  reference services (including research-on-demand, Ask-a-Librarian, and tools for managing research, including RefWorks); document delivery;  CIT's  CIT’s alumni-related policies;
  • review other university library websites to determine best practices and make recommendations for enhancing the current "Library “Library Services for Alumni" Alumni” web pages, http://alumni.library.cornell.edu/askalibrarian.html;
  • craft guidelines for adding content to & maintaining the "Library “Library Services for Alumni" Alumni” web pages
  • other service-related issues that arise in the coming year that might have a direct impact on services for Cornell alumni.

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The third book in the series Signale: Modern German Letters, Cultures, and Thought (jointly published by Cornell University Library and Cornell University Press in electronic and print formats) was published in February (see http://signale.cornell.edu/newbooks.html); the next title is expected out in July and two are in the queue for fall 2011. Signale titles are now available for purchase from the Google eBookstore and in Amazon Kindle editions. Beginning in 2012, Signale books will be among the Cornell titles available in JSTOR's JSTOR’s new books program (see http://about.jstor.org/news-events/announcement-archive/books-jstor-grows). Signale's editor, Peter Uwe Hohendahl, a senior Cornell faculty member in German Studies and Comparative Literature, is the recipient of a three-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support publication in the series through 2012 and to develop and implement a plan for its economic sustainability (see http://communications.library.cornell.edu/news/signale-launch).

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CUL has agreed to join the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org , with Mary Ochs, Mann Library, as Cornell's Cornell’s lead.  BHL is a "consortium “consortium of 12 natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global 'biodiversity commons' "‘biodiversity commons’ “. The initial focus for Cornell will be digitizing titles from the Entomology Library rare collection and contributing to BHL.  160 volumes are already digitized and ready to be added.

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