An award-winning recipe of creativity, strong relationships and a focus on student success and learning has helped the Pierce College Library earn the distinction as the best community college library in the United States.
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) honored the Pierce College Library with its 2005 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award, which recognizes the staff of a community college, college, and university library for programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institution.
Join us in celebrating the library’s achievement on Friday, April 15 at 8 a.m in the Fort Steilacoom Library. A continental breakfast will be provided, followed by remarks and an awards ceremony at 8:45 a.m.
h3. What does it take to be the best?
Pierce College, only the 6th community college library in the country to receive this distinguished award, earned it by meeting the standards of excellence set forth by ACRL. The Pierce College Library was recognized as a national leader in outcomes assessment focused on student learning. With libraries at Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom, the library embraces a service model of “1 library in 2 places.” The library has 23 staff members, and a combined total of 140,000 volumes in both locations.
“Pierce College librarians and staff work as a team with faculty in achieving the five core abilities of a Pierce education, particularly information literacy which enables students to achieve personal, academic and workplace goals,” says Helen Spalding, chair of the 2005 Excellence in Academic Libraries Selection Committee. “Pierce College Library is the only community college library in the nation to support an INTEL Computer Clubhouse, by leading an innovative collaboration with the local school district and city government to provide Computer Clubhouse members, age 10-18, with an opportunity to explore their creativity and learn how to learn.”
h3. A learner-centered library, engaged faculty
Pierce’s five core abilities are critical thinking and problem solving, effective communication, information competency, multiculturalism, and responsibility.
Debra Gilchrist, Pierce’s dean of library and media services, says that Pierce College Library is one of the few libraries to have taken service quality and the academic mission to a new level by creating a learner-centered library. This means that learning outcomes drive everything. All services and programs are planned to enhance student success, and library faculty do more than deal with books — they teach.
“For all of our staff, the goal is not just to serve, but also to enhance learning, and to creatively apply and integrate instructional practices and student learning,” Gilchrist says.
The library’s philosophy is that inquiry is central to education. In helping students to value their own questions, as well as to effectively access, evaluate, and apply information, the library prepares students for a lifetime of learning. The library’s staff and faculty members work together to provide excellent assistance and research opportunities for over 3,000 students per week.
“The library faculty are everywhere — they serve on the assessment team, as student advisors, work with Phi Theta Kappa (the community college honor society), with SLAM (Student Literary Arts Magazine), and conduct workshops through student services,” says Gilchrist.
“We are proud of the commitment our library faculty and staff have made to supporting quality instruction across the curriculum and for their special talents in promoting information competency,” says Dr. Michele Johnson, president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. “They are a wonderful team of professionals led by an exemplary leader, Deb Gilchrist, who sets the vision and inspires others to reach our outcomes.”
Pierce College District Chancellor Steve Wall says, “The approach of Deb Gilchrist and the rest of the library faculty and staff to ensure that our library is a teaching library and is fully integrated into our instructional programs has been a very important accomplishment.”
h3. ACRL and the Excellence in Academic Libraries award
This year’s other recipients are the Mount Holyoke College Library, South Hadley, Mass.; and the University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va. Each winning library will receive $3,000 and a plaque, to be presented at an award ceremony held on each recipient’s campus. The winners also will receive special recognition at the ACRL President’s Program during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference on June 27 in Chicago.
ACRL is a division of the American Library Association, representing 12,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.
h3. Find out for yourself….
Discover the resources of our award-winning library for yourself by visiting the library’s Web site or the libraries at Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup today!