Milne Library Makes History With National Award

Milne staff

Milne Library staff. Photo by Keith Walters '11.

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) named Milne Library at SUNY Geneseo the best in the country with its 2018 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the college category. Milne Library was recognized for its programming and outreach efforts that deliver outstanding services and resources to advance Geneseo’s mission.

In an ACRL newsletter story, Ann Campion Riley, chairperson of the 2018 Excellence in Academic Libraries Committee and vice provost and university librarian at the University of Missouri, noted that Milne’s “strong commitment to open access to scholarship and educational resources, their Summer Library Research Academy, and work with local high schools,” highlighted the strength of its programs as described in its application. The application provided comprehensive supporting information in five categories: Creativity, Innovation, and Leadership; Research Instruction Program; Outreach and Community Engagement; Experiential Learning; and Responsiveness to the Community.

According to Library Director Ben Rawlins, the award is the highest that an academic library can achieve. In winning the award, Geneseo becomes the first SUNY library to earn the award, and also the first member institution in COPLAC. 

“This award is well-deserved recognition for the great work that happens here at Geneseo,” he said. “It is a testament to the dedication, creativity, innovation and collaborative efforts of our staff to think creatively through initiatives like the IDS Project, SUNY OER Services, and the Library Instruction Leadership Academy. “

Milne Library also earned recognition for its innovative Access Opportunity Programs Summer Library Research Academy, which was recognized with the 2016 ALA Library Instruction Round Table Innovation in Instruction Award. Milne research and instruction librarians offer an intense but fun four-week course to introduce incoming first-year students to the rigors of Geneseo and familiarize them with library resources and services essential to developing students’ college-level research skills.

“To be named the best college library in the country reflects a remarkable level of passion and expertise,” said Provost Stacey Robertson. “Ben and the entire Milne team provide outstanding service and innovative programs to our students and library patrons. Their commitment is a driving factor behind the success of our students and faculty — and another reason for Geneseo’s reputation as a premier liberal arts college with excellent professional schools.”

Rawlins noted that a majority of library staff members were involved in the award nomination process, including librarians Brandon West, Dan Ross, Sherry Larson-Rhodes, and Alan Witt who edited and assembled the application materials. In addition, the application included multiple letters of support from faculty, staff, students and administrators at Geneseo and across SUNY. 

ACRL President Cheryl Middleton will present a plaque during a future award ceremony at Geneseo. Milne Library also will receive a $3,000 monetary award.

— By Tony Hoppa