Wisconsin Library Association recognizes Parkside as Library of the Year

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THOMAS BEYER-BOWDEN | beyer015@rangers.uwp.edu

The Wisconsin Library Association (WLA)  has recognized our on-campus library as 2017’s Library of the Year for distinguished achievement in service.  The award is given out in recognition of library services, space design, staff development and community outreach. One of the library’s greatest accomplishments–and a primary reason for winning the award–has been the Big Read program, which has drawn thousands of participants and was cited specifically by the WLA as a very strong case of community outreach.

The Big Read, a big deal for UW-Parkside

The library has won two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for the Big Read program to distribute books to the community. Firstly, with Fahrenheit 451 in 2014 and now with Station Eleven this February. For the current Big Read on Station Eleven, Anna Stadick, director of the UW-Parkside Library, spoke about what was planned. She said that “There will be speakers, discussions, films, outdoor survival training, social events, perhaps a trail race AND the author, Emily St. John Mandel, will speak on campus on February 15.”

Dramatic Improvements and more on the way

David Gehring, the library’s Access Manager, believes another factor that made the award possible is the “staff and the overall look of the library itself.” He said that “The staff to a person is dedicated, energetic, knowledgeable, and willing to help out whenever and wherever needed,” and added that “The library itself has undergone a dramatic transformation all for the better in the last seven years taking down unnecessary doorways, walls, moving furniture around, opening up more space for art work, removing some high shelving to allow for more light, and creating a very appealing and open environment and a place where people want to go rather than feeling they have to go.” Ms. Stadick added that “We continuously think about how we reach out to students, and try to improve their in-library and online experience. Librarians have created online tutorials to help students learn to use resources, check out books or technology, research topics and cite them. We started the reserve-a librarian project, in which any student can set up an appointment with a librarian for free individual help in researching assignments.”

The library also has several new projects underway to make it an even better environment. A presentation practice room is being installed that will allow students to project anything on the wall of a study room and record themselves giving a presentation, making it easy to create podcasts and practice class presentations. Additionally, a Family Literacy Lab has been added to the second floor to give parents with infants a quiet place to feed, change and care for their children. Ms. Stadick is looking into a way to make it possible to serve coffee to students in the library semester round and a new tech assistant has been hired to assist students in the library with any tech questions they might have.

What the librarians want you to know

If one is interested in using the library’s many resources but cannot find anything on the topic, Jennie E. Callas, the Head of Reference & Instruction, wants to remind you to ask the librarians for help: “You’re not bothering or interrupting us; it’s what we’re here for!” For students who are working in groups Laura Briskie, the Research Help and Instruction Librarian, wants to remind you: “It can be difficult to pick a date, time, and location to meet outside of class. Our online room reservation tool, and the rooms themselves, make it easier to meet again so energy can be spent on the assignment or project rather than on logistics.” The library is a great place to collaborate as a group or focus individually without the distractions that home life or dorm life may present.


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