Organizational Member Spotlight – Illinois Institute of Technology

IIT Paul V. Galvin Library

IIT Paul V. Galvin LibraryThe Illinois Institute of Technology Paul V. Galvin Library in Chicago, Illinois, joined ACRL in 1986 and has been an organizational member of ACRL for 32 years. We are proud to feature the IIT Paul V. Galvin Library for the month of October 2016.

1. Describe your library in 3 words: Innovative, responsive, useful.

2. Describe ACRL in three words: Professional, development, community.

4. What does your library (as an organizational member) value about ACRL? We value ACRL’s active support of academic librarians’ efforts in advocacy, information literacy and student learning, scholarly communication issues, and the value of academic libraries.

5. What value does your library contribute to your campus? We actively seek to provide value to our campus’ research and teaching missions, and are recognized for our welcoming and collaborative contributions across the University. We have continually evolved to anticipate patron needs, expand services, hone our collections, and ensure preservation, storage and access to valuable materials in a variety of formats. We provide both physical and virtual collaborative spaces in accordance with changing patterns of usage, and we seek to promote creativity, innovation and learning, and enhance interaction among our students, researchers, scholars and faculty across academic disciplines.

6. In your own words: In 1890, when advanced education was often reserved for society’s elite, Chicago minister Frank Wakely Gunsaulus delivered what came to be known as the “Million Dollar Sermon.” From the pulpit of his South Side church, near the site Illinois Institute of Technology now occupies, Gunsaulus said that with a million dollars he could build a school where students of all backgrounds could prepare for meaningful roles in a changing industrial society. Inspired by Gunsaulus’ vision, Philip Danforth Armour, Sr. (1832-1901) gave $1 million to found the Armour Institute. Illinois Tech was created in 1940 by the merger of Armour Institute and Lewis Institute. Located on the west side of Chicago, Lewis Institute, established in 1895 by the estate of hardware merchant and investor Allen C. Lewis, offered liberal arts as well as science and engineering courses for both men and women. At separate meetings held by their respective boards on Oct. 26, 1939, the trustees of Armour and Lewis voted to merge the two colleges.[i]

The main library, the Paul V. Galvin Library, was originally designed by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to match the iconic style of Mies Van Der Rohe’s campus design. The James S. Kemper Library also housed the independent John Crerar Library until it moved to the University of Chicago in 1985, prompting the renaming and renovation of the building. Illinois Institute of Technology also has individual libraries supporting the Chicago-Kent College of Law, the College of Architecture, the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, and the Institute of Food Safety and Health.

Academic Libraries have changed and adapted over time to meet the needs of their stakeholders, and we at the Illinois Institute of Technology Libraries embrace this time of opportunity and uncertainty. We seek to directly support faculty research and teaching efforts, serve as an unconditional ally to students, be a respected and desirable partner in collaborations and programs across campus, and build upon our success as a valuable hub of activity and consistent contributor to the mission of higher education.

[i] Adopted from IIT’s official page: “The Sermon and the Institute,” last accessed 10/5/2016.

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 for more information.