SLU’s Pius Library named Missouri Library of the Year
Newswise – The Pius XII Memorial Library at Saint Louis University was named Missouri Library of the Year for its distinguished achievements in service. The Missouri Library Association (MLA) will honor SLU at an awards ceremony at the MLA Annual Conference on Wednesday, September 29.
Martha Allen, associate dean of user services and professor at SLU’s Pius Library, said the recognition is due to the response of faculty and library staff to the unique challenges brought on by the pandemic. In March 2020, when a city-wide warrant forced most buildings on SLU’s campus to close, Allen said the Pius Library remained open and began the transition to online services.
“The Pius Library was not only open to business, but had the longest hours of operation of any university or public library in the state of Missouri,” Allen said.
For patrons unable to physically visit the library, Patron Services staff implemented a robust contactless pick-up service available seven days a week. Collections Management Services coordinated the acquisition of essential online resources and library teachers provided online instruction and support, Allen added. Library staff worked with SLU’s Facilities Management Department to create a safe space for staff, faculty and students to reopen the facilities on Monday August 3, 2020 for the 2020-2021 academic year.
The updates included the creation and distribution of signage throughout the building as well as the removal of tables, over 800 chairs and over 40 sofas to create socially remote study areas. Allen said they also added thirty individual study rooms to the reservation system, which generated approximately 26,000 bookings during the academic year.
“Over the past 18 months, the dual nature of libraries, both virtual and physical, has become more important than ever,” Allen said. “The virtual library was essential to the academic success of our students. The physical library was essential to the emotional well-being of many students by providing a sanctuary of normalcy during an abnormal time. ”
The Pie Library is the largest of the University’s three libraries. The library’s print and digital resources include approximately 1.7 million volumes, including 30,000 rare books. The Pius Library also has a unique research collection of over 37,000 microfilmed manuscripts from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in the Vatican Cinematheque of the Knights of Columbus.
“It wasn’t always easy, but we never lost the faith that we would spend the year together as a team,” Allen said. “This teamwork has allowed us to provide extraordinary service to our customers during an extraordinary time.”
About Saint-Louis University
Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions in the country. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the premier university west of the Mississippi River, SLU provides more than 12,000 students with a rigorous and transformative whole-person education. At the heart of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-oriented mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better and fairer place.