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Excellence in the Stacks - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781843346654, 9781780633268

Excellence in the Stacks

1st Edition

Strategies, Practices and Reflections of Award-Winning Libraries

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Editors: Jacob Hill Susan Swords Steffen
Paperback ISBN: 9781843346654
eBook ISBN: 9781780633268
Imprint: Chandos Publishing
Published Date: 14th March 2013
Page Count: 198
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Table of Contents

  • List of figures and tables
  • Foreword
  • About the editors and contributors
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: Measuring the “excellence” of librarianship at Earlham College
    • Abstract:
    • Measuring “library excellence” through numbers: the MISO Survey
    • Questioning “library excellence”
  • Chapter 2: Graduate services at the Newman Library
    • Abstract:
    • Introduction
    • The national urban fellows: developing best practices through a target population
    • Newman Library’s credit courses
  • Chapter 3: The evolving liaison model at Mount Holyoke College
    • Abstract:
    • Situating the College and LITS
    • Separate departments and parallel liaisons: project-based collaborations
    • Merged department with parallel liaisons: collaboration on a daily basis
    • Merged department with single, blended liaisons: toward a (high-)performing team
  • Chapter 4: Fast-forward: the transformation of excellence
    • Abstract:
    • Back to basics
    • Making the argument
    • A paradigm is hard to change
    • Continuing challenges
    • Lessons learned?
  • Chapter 5: In unison with our communities and with each other: striving for excellence in college librarianship
    • Abstract:
    • Individual and organizational development
    • Partnerships and collaborations
    • Support for learning and teaching
  • Chapter 6: Looking outward: partnerships and outreach at Hollins University
    • Abstract:
    • Introduction
    • The challenges of today’s academic environment
    • The outward-looking library; or, why it is natural and beneficial to play well with others
    • About Hollins University and the Wyndham Robertson Library
    • Students: working as a team
    • The faculty: partnering by providing solutions
    • Administrative departments: find common interests
    • Conclusion: partnering across the campus
  • Chapter 7: The A.C. Buehler Library at Elmhurst College: handcrafted academic library services
    • Abstract:
    • A culture of information literacy
    • Engaging the campus
    • Librarians as faculty
    • Sustaining excellence through innovation
    • How the A.C. Buehler Library practices innovation
    • Nurturing librarians: Kyle Jones reflects on his pathway to the profession
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 8: Success through community: engagement at Grinnell College Libraries
    • Abstract:
    • A brief introduction to Grinnell College
    • Why focus on engagement?
    • Engaging students as teachers
    • Engaging students as curators
    • Engaging students through events
    • Engaging with diversity
    • Engaging students in library decision-making
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 9: Excellence at Champlain: spending Groundhog Day in the Kuhlthau model
    • Abstract:
    • An outlier
    • Making every book count
    • Embedding instruction in the liberal arts
    • Matching the mission
    • Fostering innovation and autonomy
    • Living with uncertainty
  • Afterword: academic library value and the college library
  • Index


Excellence in the Stacks details the philosophies, practices and innovations of award-winning libraries over the last ten years. It will inform the profession and highlight the themes and strategies these liberal-arts colleges share, and where they differ. Using the Association of Research and College Libraries Excellence in Academic Libraries Award standards as guidelines for exploring librarianship, this book gathers the perspectives of all types of librarians at all levels of employment. By highlighting winners’ holistic approaches it helps define and focus the energies of college libraries in their pursuit of outstanding service and increased valuation by their parent institution.

Key Features

  • Content drawn from submissions from ten years of ACRL award-winning libraries
  • Authors from varied roles (library directors to interning students) give readers a comprehensive snapshot, encompassing good practices from multiple levels of the profession
  • Overlying theme of institutional excellence applicable to all aspects of international librarianship, and is also relevant to other academic organizations which serve student populations


Library and IT professionals; Library science faculty and members of professional library organizations


No. of pages:
© Chandos Publishing 2013
14th March 2013
Chandos Publishing
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:


"The editors provide a summary at the end of the case studies, with conclusions discussing common themes and trying to answer questions such as what sets some libraries apart from others and what excellence actually means."--The Australian Library Journal,Vol. 63, No. 2, 2014

Ratings and Reviews

About the Editors

Jacob Hill

Jacob Hill is the reference and instruction librarian for the award-winning A.C. Buehler Library at Elmhurst College. He has recently presented and published content on plagiarism-detection software, mobile resource access, and reference desk communication applications. Jacob is currently investigating college/secondary education liaison program partnerships.

Susan Swords Steffen

Susan Swords Steffen is the director of the library at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. With over 30 years of experience in college libraries, she has spoken and written extensively about library innovation and has taught at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University as an adjunct faculty member.

Affiliations and Expertise

Elmhurst College, USA