Library Loyalty - Inspire Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Library Loyalty

Library LoyaltyCarnegie Mellon University's founder, Andrew Carnegie, famously said: "My heart is in the work."

Over a century later, his words have become the university motto and still capture the passion and drive of CMU faculty and staff such as Gloriana St. Clair, the dean of University Libraries.

"I think you have to put your money where your heart is. That's what Andrew Carnegie told us," said St. Clair. "My heart is definitely with the library at Carnegie Mellon."

St. Clair is a member of the Order of the May, Andrew Carnegie Society and The Highlands Circle--donor recognition societies that honor her 12-plus years of consecutive giving, leadership annual giving and cumulative lifetime support. For her, being a member of these societies is a way to be together with other people who care deeply about university.

Since St. Clair became a University Librarian at CMU in 1998, she's dedicated her work to ensuring the libraries have a bright future. She's passionate about projects that help the libraries evolve and hopes that her own financial bequest to the university will provide extra resources to continue that work.

"I think libraries will exist in the future, but they'll be quite different," explained St. Clair. "I want to support the idea of connecting students with scholarly information."

Unlike books, it's difficult to archive the evolution of computer science. But St. Clair is up for the challenge. She's is currently working on a project that will help archive old computer programs so they can be used at any time.

St. Clair has also been an advocate of a digital future for librarianship. She has helped to lead the Million Book Project, which made more than 1.5 million books available for free online access. The project--which includes libraries and computer scientists in the United States, India and China - has also inspired other organizations, such as Google, to digitize books and move toward the goal of a "universal" library.

In addition, St. Clair works with students to ensure the evolution of Hunt Library is always meeting their needs. At the request of students, St. Clair helped create new group study areas, establish the Maggie Murph Cafe and develop seating that takes advantage of the unique layout and views of the library.

"That's what the students told us they wanted and they voted with their feet," explained St. Clair. "They're in here all the time. They care so much about the library."

St. Clair was also instrumental when the Hunt Foundation gifted Hunt Library a permanent outdoor lighting system. Now, she works with the students to determine what color the lights will glow on different holidays.

"It's just an enormously exciting time to be a librarian," said St. Clair "Everything is changing so rapidly."

Not only is St. Clair keeping up with the changing environment, she's ahead of the curve. That's one reason she was named the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2009.

"In many ways this award is the Nobel Prize for librarians," said St. Clair. "It was both humbling and exciting."

Just like St. Clair herself.

Related Links: Giving to the Library |  Hunt Library Light Show