The Library as Agora

At the William H. Hannon library, we often talk about the library as agora. It says so right in our mission and vision statement: “The library, as the heart of the campus, serves as a central marketplace for the acquisition of knowledge and the exchange of ideas.” We do this by providing inviting spaces for individual and collaborative pursuits, through robust and interdisciplinary collections, and with top-notch service. These aspects of library work should not be unknown to anyone who is familiar with the ten-year history of Hannon Library. Perhaps more surprising to some, we encourage intellectual and creative exploration through educational and cultural programming. The library hosts as many as 40 programs each year and invites 15-20 external exhibitions annually. These programs aim to highlight the diverse services and collections of the library and reinforce its role as an essential part of the student experience at Loyola Marymount University.

As the Head of Outreach & Communications for the library, it is my responsibility to enhance the library’s efforts in reaching and serving its diverse user populations by providing leadership and management of all our efforts to promote the library as the intellectual and cultural center of the campus community through programming, exhibitions, and orientations. Since I began at LMU four years ago, I have overseen the development and execution of 189 programs and events, the installation of more than 80 exhibitions, and worked with more than 40 unique partners. Some of our more high-impact programs include our Faculty Pub Night series, the Human Library, and the Long Night Against Procrastination. We have hosted poets and artists, storytelling programs, Wikipedia edit-a-thons, women’s voices, and career workshops, to name just a few others.

All of these events seek to further the library’s mission to be a space for intellectual and creative discovery by bringing together people and information. Therein lies the value of academic libraries, as they are now and as they always have been: as spaces for connection. As we move into this tenth year of the William H. Hannon Library, I hope you will join us in celebrating the role of the library in the campus community by attending one of our many events planned for the coming year. You can find a list on our Events website.

Books and information sources are nothing without people to utilize them. Libraries are nothing without the librarians and staff who make them. It is in the coming together of library staff, library users, and library collections that help make this whole enterprise of higher education worth its value. Join us this year in the agora.