This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries Library Dean's Message

Library Dean's Message

Dear AU Libraries friends and donors:Dean Shali Zhang

The cycle of life at AU Libraries is in many ways as regular as the change of the tide. We just completed the week of midterms, the second busiest time of any semester. Students studied for midterm exams all over the library. They took advantage of the Innovation and Research Commons (I&RC) to borrow equipment and used the large-format and 3-D printers to bring life to their midterm projects.

We started early by participating in the “First 56” events designed to engage freshmen in their first two months of school. This is only the second year of this university-wide initiative, but already our participation has gone from a single event in 2022 to three events in 2023. We’re also giving students the additional study space they’ve been asking for, with six new group study rooms completed even before the start of the school year. And while the undergraduate students were well taken care of, we did not forget the graduate students. The highly successful Savvy Research Boot Camp returned with its workshops on becoming a better researcher. For the second year, AU Libraries invited international graduate students for a library orientation that introduced them to all the help we can give them.

Being a library of an R1 research institution also requires supporting faculty research, and AU Libraries has been developing a suite of research services geared primarily for graduate students and faculty research needs, including the expansion of both internal and external partnerships to support Auburn researchers. And supporting all of these initiatives are our collections. Collections, both electronic and physical media, continue to be the single largest budget item for AU Libraries. And choosing where to spend those limited funds where they will benefit researchers the most continues to be our greatest challenge. 

AU Libraries acquired its one millionth volume in 1979, 123 years after the school’s founding. Thirty-one years later, in 2010, the collection stood at three million volumes. Just 13 years later, the collection stands at more than 7.5 million volumes. The pace of knowledge accumulation is accelerating. And AU Libraries is rising to the challenge. With the support of our donors, we will continue to be a cornerstone of the AU research mission.

War Eagle!
Shali Zhang
Dean of Libraries

Last updated: 10/18/2023