Intro - UL Message

Heard Libraries' 2023 Impact
Fourth-Quarter Report

I am pleased to share with you an overview of the exceptional year we have had at Vanderbilt Libraries, where we have collectively embraced the spirit of 'Dare to Grow.' The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries are entering a promising era as Vanderbilt University accelerates advancements in research, student learning, and global service, solidifying our position as a destination for growth, renewal, and the free expression of ideas.

Jon Shaw

Central Library view from Library Lawn

Aligned with the university's vision, our strategic plan builds upon the foundations of Discovery Vanderbilt, Destination Vanderbilt, and Opportunity Vanderbilt. These strategic initiatives, developed around research, instruction, and student opportunities, inform what we acquire, preserve, and make accessible as well as how we foster collaboration, adaptability, and innovation in our community.

Throughout the year, we have embarked on several system-wide initiatives aimed at enhancing integration with Vanderbilt’s schools and colleges, cultivating partnerships, and strengthening teaching, research, and learning. Undergirding these activities is a commitment to evaluating our work through the establishment of a system-wide assessment program, grounded in evidence-based practices and focused on outcomes. This initiative ensures that our efforts are aligned with the needs of our users and yield measurable impact.

We have been active partners in significant university events, including the sesquicentennial and capital campaign, where we worked together to support key university enterprises through events, exhibitions, and presentations. Our nascent fundraising program has achieved remarkable progress, with a newly endowed library position and Giving Day totals that doubled from the previous year. The esteemed Phil Schaap Collection, now housed in Special Collections, brings with its donation endowments totaling $1M, enabling us to provide access to this invaluable collection.

We offered 70 undergraduate students the opportunity for deep, experiential learning through the Buchanan Library Fellowship program, part of our core commitment to transforming student learning. These fellowships, comprising 17 immersive experiences, enabled students to create new knowledge across diverse fields, combating misinformation, using GIS to develop story maps, performing musical recitals inspired by the archives, and conducting new research on the transfer student experience.

We contributed to the core values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging through our partnership in the inaugural Banned Books Initiative. This trans-institutional collaboration inspired a series of talks, community engagement opportunities, and book clubs focusing on banned and challenged books. We also collaborated with various campus entities, including the Vanderbilt Office of EDI, the Office of LGBTQI Life, the Student Center for Social Justice & Identity, Peabody College Office of EDI, and the Divinity School, to foster an inclusive environment. Additionally, we hosted the Native Lawyers Project, funded through the University's Sesquicentennial Grant Program, which sheds light on the experiences of Cherokee and Chickasaw students who attended Vanderbilt in the late 19th century.

We participated in Write On!, a campus-wide initiative aimed at enhancing graduate and professional students' sense of belonging, academic success, and community through increased writing and research productivity. Additionally, our partnership with the College of Arts and Science has been instrumental in supporting the undergraduate curriculum revamp. We have provided expertise in data and information literacy learning outcomes as well as assignment design, and actively engaged faculty in exploring library teaching partnerships.

We established the Digital Lab, integrating the Digital Humanities Center into the libraries, along with the Digital Commons and Digital Scholarship & Communications, enhancing support for faculty-led digital research projects and expanding global reach. Our collaborations extend beyond the academic realm, as we worked with Dr. Seth Scholer to redevelop “Play Nicely,” a program teaching appropriate parenting strategies, using cutting-edge web technologies and design principles.

We led efforts to negotiate new agreements with publishers in the evolving landscape of research dissemination, anticipating the reporting requirements outlined by the Office of Science and Technology this year. This memo, expected to impact a significant portion of Vanderbilt's research output, necessitates the development of access plans and enhanced metadata standards for publicly funded research outputs and data. Workshops conducted across campus have informed our community about the memo's implications and facilitated their understanding and compliance.

Our specialized libraries have made remarkable contributions in their respective fields. The Law Library developed a comprehensive credit-bearing course on legal research for non-attorneys, while the Eskind Biomedical Library collaborated with the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health to enhance health sciences information literacy for medical professionals. The Divinity Library integrated fully into the Doctor of Ministry program, providing invaluable support for student writing, research, and instruction during on-campus intensives. The Management Library organized a successful entrepreneurship workshop series involving librarians from across the system, and the Wilson Music Library led acquisition efforts for the National Museum of African American Music collaboration. The Peabody Library conducted a faculty needs assessment survey to gauge faculty needs around collections and instruction, and the Stevenson Science & Engineering Library continued to expand its library instruction program for engineering and science students.

We have significantly ramped up our digitization efforts, making collections such as the Delia Zapata Olivella and Manuel Zapata Olivella collections, as well as the Vanderbilt Hustler, digitally accessible. We have also sent several high-demand collections for digitization, including the V.O. Key papers in the Heard Papers, the John Seigenthaler Papers, James Sasser’s ambassador papers, Nahum N. Glatzer materials, Walter Sullivan reel-to-reels, Flannery O'Connor letters, McTyeire-Baskerville Papers, John James Tigert IV Collection, William Lofland Dudley Papers, Vanderbilt Magazine, and Vanderbilt course catalogs.

Our archivists at the Vanderbilt Television News Archive undertook significant metadata and video preservation efforts, reviewing and verifying records for holdings related to the 9/11 attacks and the Senate hearings on Watergate. These projects ensure the accessibility and preservation of historically significant materials for researchers and future generations. Furthermore, the VTNA team prepared the collection for computational analysis, aligning with the goals of the McGee Center for Narrative Analysis.

In conclusion, this year has been marked by numerous achievements and significant progress across the Vanderbilt Libraries. We remain committed to our mission of serving as a catalyst for intellectual discovery, a provider of innovative services, and a hub for collaboration and learning. We extend our gratitude to the entire Vanderbilt community for their support and partnership in our endeavors, and we eagerly look forward to the future as we continue to evolve and grow together.

Jon Shaw
University Librarian
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Vandy Self-Portaits, Indigenous student life, and 'All That Glitters' on display

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2022-2023: By the Numbers

Collections digitized by the libraries – a total of 425,496,600 MB

New e-books purchased and made accessible to the Vanderbilt Community

Total number of journals and databases available to Vanderbilt scholars

Views of Vanderbilt Television News Archives

Television news and commercials added

Added by the libraries

Peak head count in the Central and Divinity Library on Dec. 7, 2022

Peak space usage in Science & Engineering Library on Dec. 12, 2022

Total in-person library visits