Libraries and research have always gone hand in hand. At Illinois State, Milner Library has long been at the heart of research, and as trends in higher education have transformed how students learn and faculty teach, Milner has transformed too.

This year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the opening of the current Milner Library building. Over these past four decades, we have seen our library go from a quiet building full of books, easy to locate only with the assistance of a librarian and a card catalog, to a place where students bring their own laptops to work on group projects, and most research is done online using electronic databases to search thousands of books, journal articles, and other resources.

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Offering researchers the resources and help they need with their projects has remained a key part of Milner’s mission. However, librarians increasingly spend time outside of Milner creating partnerships and expanding Milner’s visibility across campus.

There are the instructional sessions we hold in classrooms to teach students how to take advantage of our resources. As the ways students learn and research have evolved, nontextual resources like Kanopy, a streaming video database, have risen in popularity and fill the gap when traditional research materials like books and journal articles are not helping.

Milner also supports graduate students. In collaboration with the Graduate School, we offer workshops on using source management systems, dissertation-formatting, and selecting journals for publishing research.

Milner Library as viewed from the southwest side of College Ave.
Milner Library

Faculty librarians work with professors across campus to help them in their teaching. We offer instructional sessions targeting the needs of each course and crafting assignments that take advantage of library resources. We also assist in literature reviews for in-depth research projects and provide a place to share research through Illinois State’s institutional repository, ISU ReD.

Milner Library will be showcasing all of the ways libraries are transforming in honor of our 40th anniversary.

On April 13, our annual Bryant Jackson Lecture will again be a part of the daylong Summit on Changing Academic Libraries. This year’s lecture will feature Roger Schonfeld, from Ithaka S+R, presenting on “The Library’s Academic Support Role in a Time of Educational Transformation.”

In the fall semester, Milner will host a digital and in-person exhibit displaying a photographic time line of the history of libraries at Illinois State, from 1857 to the present. This exhibit will be the centerpiece of a reunion for former library staff, student workers, and library science program graduates during Homecoming 2017.

The work we are doing to support campus needs will improve in the coming months with the completion of repairs to Milner Plaza and the renovation to the library’s first floor. Milner Library, while 40 years old, isn’t over the hill—we are just beginning a new chapter on campus!