What LMU Means to the Library

Today’s post was written by Rhonda Rosen, programming and exhibitions librarian.

“LMU” means a lot of different things to different people.

To faculty, it may mean a place to research, to create, and to teach. To staff, it may mean a place to work, to achieve, and to enhance their skill sets. To students, it may mean a place to expand their horizons.

For me, those initials have a very different meaning, all of which are embodied in the William H. Hannon Library’s mission statement:

The William H. Hannon Library fosters excellence in academic achievement through an array of distinctive services that enable learners to feed their curiosity, experience new worlds, develop their ideas, inform their decision-making, and inspire others. These services are driven by the library’s culture of collaboration and its attention to learner experience sustained by immersion in campus communities of practice. In its work, the library exemplifies principles of the Jesuit and Marymount traditions, supporting education of the whole person, meeting others where they are, promoting critical inquiry and reflection, and striving for continuous improvement.

Let’s begin with “L” which for me stands for “learning.” The act of learning is special to librarians and library staff, as everything we do–whether it be cataloging a book or shelving, or keeping all the databases running, or greeting our patrons–all leads to someone learning about something. We pride ourselves on pointing the way to learning and research through our many services. Need to find a publication, research study, or film? We have a wonderful library catalog that describes every item in our library–including books, e-books, articles in journals, dissertations, music, and video items.

We invite students to ask questions. We provide research assistance through various channels, as we know our patrons do not all learn the same way. For those who come into the library and want advice on how to find resources for their studies, we have the Information Commons desk, open all the hours that the library is open. We offer 24-hour online chat for those who cannot come to the library, or perhaps who are shy about asking for help. For those patrons who need more in-depth one-on-one research or research strategies, we offer research consultations with any of our librarians.

Next is “M” and at the library, I think about our “materials”, or our collections to be a bit more accurate. We have more than 600,000 books, and well over 600,000 electronic books. We subscribe to more than 60,000 journal subscriptions, and over 325 electronic databases covering every subject imaginable. We have a robust children’s collection that serves not only our students who are learning to draw or using a simple child’s tale to learn how to do a film adaption, but also our smallest Lions from the LMU Children’s Center, who come to hear our staff read to them. And their parents who work at LMU have found this collection to be a treasure trove for their children!

The library has so many other materials that you may not have heard about. Did you know that we have over 5,600 linear feet of archival collections stored in our basement vault? Ever seen Shakespeare’s first folio? Many of our students have had the opportunity to do so. Or perhaps they have been able to work with illustrated medieval manuscripts or read through a Civil War soldier’s diary. Our faculty work closely with our archives and special collections team to bring these artifacts to life and to make them accessible to our student researchers.

Lastly is “U.” I like this one to mean our “users.” We love to meet our students at the many programs we create throughout the year. We get to greet them at new student orientations, we welcome them at our Library Open House where we encourage them to meet the library staff and begin their journey with friendly faces. At Halloween, we love to scare them when we collaborate with Theatre Arts students in the annual Haunting of Hannon. We are always dazzled by the enthusiasm and talent of these young performers as they chill us to the bone with their unsettling, if not downright scary, performance throughout the nooks and crannies of the building. And, yes, you should think twice before you allow the tour guide to take you to the basement…

We collaborate with faculty to showcase their amazing research publication in our Faculty Pub(lications) Night series. We work with colleagues to teach students about misinformation and to start them on their journey as adults in our Digital Citizens Workshops. We created two awards, the Undergraduate Library Research Award and the Graduate Library Research Award, to recognize and reward our students whose research and creative use of the library’s collections produced an expert paper.

LMU means so much more than letters on the bluff, and I believe my colleagues in at the William H. Hannon Library will agree. We support the principles of the Jesuit and Marymount traditions, educating the whole person, meeting others where they are, promoting critical inquiry and reflection, and striving for continuous improvement.