No matter what your study style may be, the library is a vital part of any University. The library acts as an academic thermometer and is usually synonymous with how it is regarded or ranked in comparison with other universities.
UM’s Otto G. Richter Library has significantly improved over the course a year. According to the Association of Research Libraries rankings, UM jumped from the 63rd to the 48th position out of more than 120 other libraries.
“Our rise in rankings is due to an increase in our materials budget for collections and electronic resources,” Jane Schillie, director of marketing and external relations, said. “We have significantly increased the number of e-journals we receive to accompany our print resources.”
The upgrade is another step on the way to making UM one of the top schools in the country, which will include additional improvements for the library. A five-story addition to the library has been designed that will alleviate the physical boundaries of this booming part of UM. The addition will begin with a campaign to raise $30 million, which will fund the construction. Construction dates remain unknown at this time, but students will be able to access the current library without interruption throughout the development period.
While the necessary money is being raised, the library will focus on the UM Imagebase project. Imagebase will be an online catalog of digitalized images from the School of Architecture, Department of Art and Art History, and the Lowe Art Museum.
Students and faculty will be able to search by categories and easily retrieve images that have previously been difficult to locate. Faculty will have the ability to create lectures that include images with ease and make them readily available for students to view outside of the classroom.
“Our ultimate goal is to create one central resource that will meet the needs of UM faculty, scholars, and students in the arts, humanities, and beyond,” Bill Walker, University librarian, said. “Research libraries, skilled at organizing print materials, are now equally at home in managing and distributing electronic information. The UM Imagebase enables the library to build upon its already impressive reputation in creating and managing digital resources.
“This puts us on a par with Princeton, Duke and Cornell,” Walker said.
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at