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University to become Association of Research Library member

University to become Association of Research Library member

University to become Association of Research Library member
December 08
10:32 2022

The university is the newest addition to the Association of Research Library, becoming its 128th member starting Jan. 1.

ARL members voted in October to invite the university’s libraries to the association after noting the university as a Tier One research university and Hispanic-Serving Institution.

ARL is a membership organization that includes public and private universities, federal government agencies and other large public institutions in the United States and Canada. They are devoted to developing a strong group of diverse research libraries across these countries.

“This has been a long time coming for the UNT Libraries,” university Dean of Libraries Diane Bruxvoort said. “This is a validation of all the work that we’ve done, that we are a library supporting a research community. We’re all doing a happy dance.”

ARL was formed in December 1932 when the university was a much smaller insitution. It was not until a year ago that the Libraries department decided it was time to go through the process of becoming a member.

There are six categories that the ARL membership committee looks at when deciding whether a university’s libraries would be a beneficial addition to the association. Some of the main categories are community service, collections, service to students, support for research and diversity, equity and inclusion.

By positive recommendation and a unanimous vote of 120 plus ARL members, beginning with ARL’s executive board, the university was welcomed as a library supporting a research community.

ARL status will provide the university with greater access to national projects, grant money and more research funding for the entire university.

“It’s like [when a] football team [goes up] to a new division — Well, we just skipped up about three divisions,” Bruxvoort said. “This is the big leagues for this library.”

Every year, ARL ranks the library members, and the university will begin as number 128. However, Bruxvoort believes the ranking will end up somewhere in the middle. This is appealing to those wishing for a career in academic libraries and will provide more opportunities to those already a part of the library faculty.

“I am so stoked about the libraries being recognized in this way for our world-class collections, services and employees,” university Associate Dean for Collection Management Sian Brannon said. “I’m especially excited about some of the committee and service opportunities the membership brings to our employees.”

Joining ARL has been on the library faculty’s radar for a few years now and took major efforts from the faculty to get to where they are now.

“The biggest thing I feel is that I’m super proud of the cumulative ongoing work of the library staff,” Brannon said. “It has taken a lot of people and resources to curate our research collections, hone our services to faculty and students and to advocate for our library over the years.”

This accomplishment is huge for the Libraries department, and others are excited to begin this next chapter as part of ARL. There will be a celebration for students and faculty to be a part of sometime in January.

“My colleagues in the Libraries have done so much amazing work to get us to this place,” university Director of Library Administrative Services Shaureece Park said.” I am excited to learn from our esteemed ARL colleagues.”

Featured Image: A row of books line a library shelf in Willis Library on Dec. 6, 2022. Photo by John Anderson

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Sidney Pearce

Sidney Pearce

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