The Libraries have won the Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award, presented annually by the American Library Association to a library organization that exhibits meritorious achievement in creating new means of funding for a public or academic library.
The Libraries developed the Sustainability Fund to engage philanthropic support from faculty, students, alumni and friends who recognize the value of the rapidly growing field of sustainability studies. One of the award jurors noted that “The initiative is a strategic fundraising program serving as a model for other libraries.”
The Libraries partnered with the Annual Giving Office on the Second Ask campaign. Donors were contacted and requested to make one more gift to close out the fiscal year. Focusing on the Sustainability Fund, the Second Ask campaign raised more than $160,000 from 3,398 donors.
“The licensed resources funded by the Sustainability Fund will help reinforce the intersection of information literacy and eco-literacy in the curriculum,” said Carol Connare, director of Development and Communication at the Libraries. Along with the acquisition of vital print, electronic and media resources, the Sustainability Fund enlivens the Libraries with co-curricular activities such as speaker presentations, educational exhibits and film screenings. A graduate fellowship opportunity is also offered through Special Collections and Archives.
For faculty, the fund made possible a series of workshops that enabled them to form connections between their colleagues in disciplines across campus. During “Mapping Sustainability Education at UMass Amherst,” which took place in the Library’s Teaching Commons, 50 people, including faculty from 18 departments and staff from seven co-curricular offices, worked together to create a set of student learning outcomes for sustainability courses. An outgrowth of this collaboration is reflected in the new Sustainability Curriculum Initiative. “Faculty may apply for $1,000 mini-grants to integrate the use of licensed library resources in their existing sustainability courses and base assignments on Information Literacy standards,” said sustainability studies librarian Madeleine Charney.
The award will be presented at the ALA annual conference in Chicago in June.