As the keeper of the University’s vast record of knowledge, Eugene McDermott Library is charged with making that record available for learning and research every single day. We do this in a dynamic environment, where both the record of knowledge and our means of disseminating it are constantly evolving.
In an increasingly online world, many users no longer regard the library as a “place” but rather as another node in the information universe. Digitization of collections makes an unprecedented degree of access possible, 24/7. A growing percentage of library “visits” are online, rather than in person. Over the past generation, virtually everything about learning, accessing and storing information has changed—and Eugene McDermott Library is committed to being at the forefront.
Anticipating tomorrow’s needs
Just because information is online does not mean it’s free. The best and most relevant information required by a research university is quite expensive to acquire and license. We also have taken steps to establish a much-needed permanent University Archive, which will entail expenditures to digitize information as well as to construct real-world displays and storage, and to fund staffing to care for archival materials. A related effort is Treasures, a new, growing collection of University-specific materials, such as personal papers of long-time faculty members.
Even as digital demand has increased, a simultaneous shift to group learning has boosted the Library’s value as a gathering place. Our 12 study rooms are continuously booked. We have renovated our facilities, but we have more work ahead of us in enhancing the learning environment to meet—and anticipate—the needs of the University community. To provide leadership for this effort, especially during times of transition, we seek an endowed chair for the dean of libraries, which would help attract top candidates.
Invest in the future
McDermott Library is poised to be a state-of-the-discipline library, serving the needs of 21st-century students and aligning with the science and technology focus of UT Dallas. With your support, we can seize the opportunities that will shape our future.