Penn State University Libraries have placed among the best research libraries recently, something that Lisa Germansaid is partially due to online digital collaborations with other Big Ten universities.
The rankings, which were published in the 2013 edition of the Almanac of Higher Education by the Association of Research Libraries, placed Penn State Libraries as eighth in the country.
“The rankings are based on expenditures so they really are a reflection of the value that Penn State puts in its library and it really shows excellence,” German, associate dean for collections, information and access services, said.
German also said she attributed the success of the library to the extensive collaborations with other Big Tenschools, noting that students and faculty have access to more than three million books digitally between the schools, and can borrow books from any Big Ten school library through the interlibrary loan system.
Research libraries are generally associated with universities who have a large research component in its mission and have extensive research collections, Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications Barbara I. Dewey said.
“Having a library of this caliber helps Penn State recruit the best faculty and researchers, as well as students,” Dewey said.
German said maintaining an extensive research library is a key component in keeping faculty and students happy, as faculty know their scholarship will be supported and students know they will have all the resources they need.
Many students have reacted positively to ranking.
“I think it’s great our library is one of the top in the country,” Kelsey Lewis said. “I’m glad to see it get some recognition.”
Lewis (junior-biology) added that positive press for the school has given some students optimism that the university would recover its image following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.
“I think people are glad that the world is hearing about the good side of Penn State rather than just football and scandals,” she said. “We’re so much more than that.”
The library is continuing to expand, as Penn State Libraries work to make its resources available internationally for students of the World Campus, German said. There are also efforts to improve library collections and accessibility to electronic materials, she added.
“It’s takes a great library to make a great university,” Dewey said. “The core of our strength is in our librarians and staff and their commitment to excellent service.”
Other schools in the top 10 include Harvard, Yale, Toronto, Columbia, Michigan, UC-Berkley, New York University, Princeton and Cornell.
Sarah Caskie can be reached at (814) 865-1828.