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Grant allows UIS to explore idea of Lincoln Library collections and services at Brookens Library

October 27, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - The University of Illinois at Springfield’s Brookens Library has received a $35,000 grant to study the feasibility of offering some services of Lincoln Library, Springfield’s public library, at the university’s library.

Related Links

Brookens Library Website
Lincoln Library Website

The Library Services and Technology Act grant will be used to conduct a feasibility analysis to assess how successful such a joint endeavor might be and to develop preliminary architectural plans for the combined facility.

According to Jane Treadwell, University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services at UIS, the idea of collections and services of a public library at UIS is new and exciting. Both Treadwell and Nancy Huntley, Director of the Lincoln Library, located in downtown Springfield, are convinced that locating some Lincoln Library services and collections at UIS would benefit both the public library and the university.

“The public library would concentrate on children’s programming, fiction, and other popular collections and could share some public service areas with Brookens,” said Treadwell. “The aim would be to create an intellectual commons, not only for the university, but also for the community as well.”

“Such a facility at UIS would provide the customers of both institutions with rewarding and enriching opportunities for lifelong learning,” Huntley said.

Treadwell said that in addition to UIS students, the facility would be open to all Lincoln Library patrons.  “They would find not only a small public library collection but also have access to the information and technology resources of UIS,” she said. “Each library would benefit from the particular strengths of the other, and the result would be a much richer mix of collections and services for our patrons.”

Treadwell noted that a side benefit of a joint-use facility is that Springfield residents who use it would become more aware of other cultural programming at the university.

The feasibility study will begin this fall and will be informed by strategic planning processes taking place at both libraries. Questions that need to be answered include: Who is the community to be served?  Which members of the community would likely support this idea? What concerns of the community would need to be addressed?  What range of services should be offered?

Cooperation between and among libraries has become a hallmark of the Illinois library scene.  For example, UIS has a reciprocal borrowing agreement with Lincoln Library to extend borrowing privileges to patrons of that library.  In return, Lincoln Library now offers borrowing privileges to members of the UIS community. Also, the Friends of Lincoln Library and the Friends of Brookens Library have co-sponsored fundraisers for the past three years.

There are several combined academic/public library facilities in the United States, the newest being the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in San Jose, California.  Just named “Library of the Year” by Library Journal, the ML King Jr. Library brings together the main location of the San Jose Public Library with the San Jose State University Library.

Brookens Library supports teaching and learning at UIS with a collection of over 521,000 books and journals; nearly 2,000 periodical subscriptions; 3,500 films and videotapes; and 1,800,000 microforms.  Library patrons may search the statewide ILLINET online system to find information about holdings and the availability of library materials both at UIS and at 64 other academic libraries throughout the state.

Lincoln Library has its main facility in downtown Springfield and branches in the north, west, and southeast sections of the city. In Fiscal Year 2004, patrons visited the library over 500,000 times with 150,000 visits taking place at the branch libraries.

For more information, please contact Jane Treadwell at 206-6597.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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