An interview with John E. Ulmschneider, Dean and University Librarian
What are your top three points of pride in your library?
Achieving Association of Research Libraries (ARL) membership in 2018 demonstrated VCU’s maturation as one of the nation’s premiere urban research universities.
Recognition by Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) with the 2018 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award honored the quality of our programs and resources, and especially the extraordinary work of our faculty and staff.
How we work together as librarians and professionals is a point of pride at VCU Libraries. We value a highly collaborative culture within VCU Libraries.
What are the most popular spots in your library for your users?
With an annual gate count exceeding 2 million visitors, all our spaces are well-used and popular. Many days, every seat is in use.
The 300-seat Cabell Lecture Hall has become a nexus for the campus and greater community. In library spaces each year, VCU Libraries hosts or sponsors more than 300 events attended by more than 25,000 people.
Our 50-plus study rooms on both campuses are in high demand with some 100,000 reservations each year.
The Workshop, VCU Libraries’ creation and makerspace, has become a model for such spaces at university libraries. Inspired by The Workshop’s success, VCU is now creating similar capabilities at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences.
Which VIVA resource or service does your school value the most, and why?
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is an important VIVA resource that our clinicians, researchers and students use to stay up-to-date with a broad range of health sciences specialties. It is a crucial resource for clinical care and for teaching and research as well.
For 2019, we are excited about the new VIVA Faculty Textbook Portal. It addresses one of the greatest challenges in reducing textbook costs for students: allowing faculty members to find free and low-cost course materials relevant to their curriculum.