September 2004 -


An Award That Speaks Volumes: UW Libraries System Is Best in Nation

The University of Washington Libraries system was recognized as the best university research library in the country when it received the 2004 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in February. Presented by the Association of College and Research Libraries and sponsored by Blackwell's Book Services, the award is the highest honor an academic library system can receive.

Mary Reichel, chair of the selection committee for the award, says she was impressed by the innovation demonstrated by UW Libraries. "It is truly leading the way for all academic libraries as the library of the 21st century," she says.

Eligible library systems were judged on three criteria:

  • Creativity and innovation in meeting the needs of the community
  • Leadership in creating model programs that other universities emulate
  • Substantial and productive relationship with faculty and students
UW Libraries is a network of 25 libraries serving three campuses. The libraries have more than 12 million volumes-both cataloged and in microfilm format-as well as several million items that can be accessed in other formats. The Association of Research Libraries ranks UW Libraries as the 14th largest university system in the nation. The award gave special recognition for the UWired program, which connects both students and faculty with technological options for finding information. Past recipients of the university library award include Loyola University of New Orleans in 2003, Cornell University in 2002, and the University of Arizona in 2001.

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