Organizational Member Spotlight – Texas A&M University

The Sterling C. Evans Library at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX joined ACRL in 1986 and has been an organizational member of ACRL for 32 years. We are proud to feature the Sterling C. Evans Library.

1. Describe your library in 3 words: Big, responsive, aspirational.

2. Describe ACRL in three words: Professional, collaborative, standards-reliant.

4. What does your library (as an organizational member) value about ACRL? Two things. First, there is the collaboration with colleagues in working on projects at a national scale reflecting the interest of libraries nationally rather than one’s local campus solely. Second, ACRL’s role in the development, support, and promotion of standards is vitally important and a unique contribution.

5. What value does your library contribute to your campus? A set of quality resources is the bedrock of our contribution, of course, but beyond that I think one of our most important contributions for students is providing that “third space” that is not the classroom and not the dorm but a place where they can go and focus on the projects and tasks for their academic success. For faculty, I think our most important role is to advance the conversation on the issues of scholarly communication. I think we are uniquely placed to advise faculty on how to make the scholarly communications system more effective, more timely, more robust and more affordable. We can also assist them with the advancement of their careers through academic profiling and promotion of their scholarly output.

6. In your own words: It’s an exciting time to be a librarian! We have a unique contribution to make on campus in issues such as scholarly identity, licensing, intellectual property, fair use, open access and open educational resources. I am also encouraged and excited by FOLIO. I believe this unique vendor/library partnership in the development of an open source, microservices-based library management system has the potential to be a game-changing development in how we apply and manage systems. FOLIO is a refreshing change in how we interact with vendors. With FOLIO, libraries are genuine partners in the development and direction of this critical software tool. In contrast, I am distressed at what I see as the ongoing deterioration of the relationship between academic/research libraries and commercial publishers. From my perspective, commercial, for-profit publishers such as Elsevier and Wiley seem tone-deaf and indifferent to the concerns we have with pricing and the desire to open channels of scholarly communication. The reluctance comes from resolute protection of entrenched practices that are based on technologies and practices now outmoded. We–libraries and publishers–need to work together to find new modes of distribution and development of economic models that will sustain and advance scholarly discourse. Regrettably, I see little evidence of such conversation and more evidence of protectionism by publishers and angry frustration for librarians in return. This results in a chasm bridged only by the necessary and increasingly tense interactions for purchasing and licensing of content.


Editor’s Note: Is your library an ACRL organizational member? Would you like to be featured in our Organizational Member Spotlight feature? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.