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Message from the University Librarian


photo of Stephanie Davis-Kahl
Stephanie Davis-Kahl, MLS, Professor, University Librarian and University Copyright Officer

Welcome to The Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University!

Fall, 2023

Over the summer, the Ames Library faculty and staff prepared our self-study for our regular external review, which takes place every ten years. It’s a chance to look back and consider how the many changes within the library, on campus, and in our world have had an impact on the library, and gives us a chance to reflect on what we could do next. Our external reviewers, two leaders in the academic librarianship community, visit campus to speak with students, staff, faculty and administrators in October, and then they will develop their report summarizing what they learned, providing observations, feedback, and recommendations for the future. It’s been a deeply reflective experience and also an exciting one, and has highlighted for me our strengths and our potential. 

Our Intellectual Theme for the year, Power of Place, has special meaning to me as an academic librarian and as the University Librarian at IWU. Libraries in and of themselves are essential community spaces, ones where anyone can walk in and avail themselves of the abundance of resources. This was not always the case, however; libraries as an institution have their own history with exclusion and inequity. So when thinking about the power of the library as a place, I think about the library first as a powerful place, because all are welcome; students have options of different spaces to study, rest, reflect, collaborate, and create. It's also a powerful place because of the resources it contains: our collections in our stacks, in the Archives, and online provide a multitude of perspectives and voices that help us understand who we are as people and as a society. I also think of the library as a place of power, where students can walk in with questions and curiosity and connect with of any of us here at The Ames Library - librarians, library staff, Writing Center tutors, the Action Research Center, Information Technology Services. All of us are here to answer questions, to connect students to the resources they need to excel and thrive. The power of the library lies with its people: those who seek out expertise and those who share it.

I said it in 2020, and I'll say it again now: we are glad to be teaching and learning, here, together.

I continue to be grateful for the opportunity and the responsibility of leading The Ames Library. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly.

All the best,

Stephanie Davis-Kahl
University Librarian