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The Library and the City

by Scott Walter 2/28/2014 11:57:00 AM
If you havScott Walter, University Librariane been at DePaul for any length of time, you know that we take pride in the fact that “the city is our classroom” and in the many academic programs that take advantage of the opportunities the city provides for teaching, learning, and research. The DePaul University Library has been a long-time partner to academic programs that, in the spirit of our strategic plan, aim “to deepen the university’s distinctive connection to the global city of Chicago.”

For example, many of you know that we contribute to the “Common Hour” instruction that takes place as part of first-year program’s “Chicago Quarter” courses (and are currently assessing the impact of that contribution as part of a research grant funded by the Association of College & Research Libraries). For classes conducting Chicago-centered research, librarians also provide specialized instruction and research consultations that promote more informed use of popular and scholarly sources documenting the life of the city. We also provide specialized service for those wishing to learn more about the city through our Chicago Collection and our Chicago Research Guide(s). We collect rare books, manuscripts, and other materials as part of our Chicago collections in the Department of Special Collections and Archives and are active partners in the Lincoln Park Community Research Initiative. Finally, and most recently, we have established active partnerships with colleagues at our nearest neighbor in the cultural heritage community as part of DePaul’s partnership with the Chicago History Museum.

But, these existing initiatives represent only one part of our commitment to “deepen” our connections with libraries, archives, and museums across the City of Chicago, and to ensure that DePaul faculty and students have access to the resources needed to live, work, and study in the city. DePaul faculty and students have access to the collections of a number of Chicago libraries through the I-Share program, and DePaul faculty have access to additional libraries through the OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program. DePaul is also a founding member of the Chicago Collections Consortium (CCC), a group of libraries, museums, and archival repositories dedicated “[to increasing] public and scholarly interest in, and study of, the Chicago region's diverse history and culture.” Finally, both individually and alongside CCC colleagues, the DePaul University Library has also been active in engaging the K-12 community in Chicago this year, including providing professional development opportunities for teachers at Gordon Tech High School and working with students and teachers from Walter Payton High School, Chicago Academy High School, George Westinghouse College Prep, and Solorio Academy High School as part of the Chicago Metro History Fair.

Teaching, learning, and research at DePaul is enhanced by our partnerships with individuals, groups, organizations, and companies around the city, and Chicago’s libraries, archives, and museums are some of our most important partners in ensuring that you have access to the resources and the expertise you need to do your work. Nascent programs like our partnership with the Chicago History Museum and, more broadly, with the members of the Chicago Collections Consortium, build on a distinctive commitment in the DePaul University Library to our role as an urban university library, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with you to see how we can help you to learn more about the city and to deepen your connection with the City of Chicago.

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