Kim Andersen will receive the 2019 WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award during a 1 p.m. reception Wednesday, May 15, in the Terrell Library Atrium.
Andersen is a clinical professor in the Honors College. The award recognizes a non-library faculty or staff member who has shown consistent support for the WSU Libraries.
Library faculty who have worked with Andersen through the Faculty Senate Library Committee describe him as a dedicated library user and supporter of the libraries.
“Professor Andersen has served as the chair of the Faculty Senate Library Committee for six years and served the committee for two years before becoming chair,” wrote WSU Libraries Dean Jay Starratt and Associate Dean Beth Blakesley in their nomination. “He has immersed himself in collections issues and has been a tireless champion for the libraries. He has been proactive in supporting our need for collections support, and he has helped raise the profile of the libraries through his thoughtful leadership of this committee.”
“Kim has visited the Faculty Senate on numerous occasions to help us gather support for increased funding,” Starratt and Blakesley added. “He met with the Graduate and Professional Student Association, and their voices have been an important factor in our obtaining additional support. He has also been a strong supporter of the libraries in other arenas, including the Honors College and College of Arts and Sciences.”
Access to scholarly research necessary
The dominating need for faculty, staff and students is access to academic journals in order to do their research, Andersen said, “and the cost for providing that access is enormous.”
WSU Libraries and other academic libraries around the United States and world face the daunting task of maintaining academic journal subscriptions amid rising inflation costs from publishers. The result is yearly cuts to journal packages and diminishing title offerings.
To prevent further cuts, the WSU administration designated $650,000 over two years to the WSU Libraries. Additionally, the Faculty Senate Library Committee is charged with supporting the libraries by reviewing proposals for new programs that may optimize library resources, Andersen said.
“It’s important that there is a formal committee that monitors the health of the libraries so they can continue to support faculty, staff and students in doing their research,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine a world-class university without a world-class library.”
Commanding a digital world
Another challenge for academic libraries is in providing digital resources for the university community, Andersen said.
“Books are not the sole communicators of knowledge,” he said. “Libraries must face and command this digital world. But it is also a wonderful thing. That dimension of the digital resource is something we cannot do without.”
Patrons can bring their own technology into the libraries to work, Andersen said. They can meet among the book stacks or in state-of-the-art study lounges. In this way, “a modern library must appeal to faculty, staff and students. It must have books, but it must also cater to their digital needs.”
Andersen said he has always used libraries, from his childhood in Denmark to the present.
“Whether I searched for specific topics for coursework or scholarship or sought books for leisure, the library has been like a dependable companion,” he said. “When I taught Danish language and Scandinavian literature, the Terrell Library Atrium on several occasions hosted traveling exhibits sponsored by the Danish government. For these reasons, and for many more, the library is an indispensable cultural center for our campus.”