Since opening in 1890, the Illinois State University libraries have been the heart and soul of academic endeavors on campus. Generations of students have studied, conducted research, written papers, talked with friends, and pondered the mysteries of the universe in our libraries. However, today's Milner Library is not what it was even 10 years ago.
The familiar facility of yesteryear with card catalogs, quiet reading rooms, and "no food and drink" policies is long gone. In its place, Milner Library offers innovative, high-tech spaces and support services reflective of learning and teaching in the 21st century.
Technologies have dramatically changed how students learn and how they use the library. Students borrow fewer books and ask fewer reference questions than they did a decade ago, and they find much of their information online. In response to these changes—and anticipating more advances to come—Milner Library is becoming a multi-faceted environment providing new and enhanced services and resources for a new generation of Redbirds.
While providing research materials remains front and center to its operations, the library is increasingly a place where students come to practice what they have learned from textbooks and lectures. With more than 260 research databases and many new technologies to complement coursework, Milner Library is rapidly becoming a one-stop learning facility that functions as a learning laboratory outside the classroom. Students work individually, but also collaboratively to analyze, create, and innovate in ways common to the modern workplace.
For the library to remain a center of campus-wide learning, with all the necessary tools and staff expertise, requires significant upgrades and investment. Presentation practice rooms, group study space, a multimedia production center, and state-of-the-art interactive learning classrooms are crucial to transforming Milner Library.
Each of these initiatives requires funding beyond the library's annual budget. Through Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State, we seek to raise funds to firmly establish Milner as a campus center for collaborative learning and research. Only with your support can the library provide an array of support services that meet the needs of all students, today and in the future.
Redbirds Rising will enable the University to achieve three critical outcomes: supporting student and faculty scholarship, educating globally aware and socially engaged leaders, and sparking continuous creativity and innovation. To advance these priorities, we offer multiple ways to support Milner Library within our key funding categories:
The library's strength reflects an institution's overall level of educational excellence. Milner is a microcosm of how ISU teaches and learns. Students expect to find basic resources and tools that support their research and reflect the changing information universe. Milner must also foster an environment where scholarly work is produced collaboratively by groups of students, as well as by individuals. This transition to a new type of library bolsters learning and empowers graduates. Creation of an endowed fund for the acquisition of popular textbooks and other resources will directly help students by defraying the cost of purchasing or renting these materials for individual use.
While traditional classrooms remain central to academic pursuits, Milner can increasingly provide space for innovative, out-of-classroom experiences that are enriched with advanced technology. Integrating digital tools into curricula and projects will challenge and prepare students from all majors for their future careers. Through technology-enhanced spaces, Milner Library will provide unique learning opportunities not available elsewhere on campus. As the heart of campus, Milner Library will make them available to the entire campus community.
Emerging technologies that have no campus home could be centralized in Milner. Examples are data management, digital humanities, music mixing, advanced audiovisual media production and virtual reality. Other programs and services currently segmented across campus could unite in the library for student convenience. These include writing and technology support, tutoring, course study groups, and disciplinary expertise.
To make the most of changing times, the library must be able to respond quickly when opportunities arise that can benefit our students and faculty while enhancing our overall reputation for academic excellence. Generous, ongoing support for the library's annual fund and other unrestricted resources can provide the flexibility needed to turn rapid change to our advantage.
A library that keeps pace with evolving methods of teaching and learning across disciplines reflects the University's core values and is central to preparing the next generation of confident leaders. You can help Milner keep pace with emerging technologies, services, and resources crucial to the success of our students today and well into the future. Join us in supporting The Campaign for Illinois State.
Milner Library has existed for more than a century as the campus hub that reinforces the scholarly work of students and faculty across all colleges. As technology continually impacts academic endeavors, the library has evolved from a traditional repository for books and journals to a center that broadly supports interactive learning and research.
The priorities described here represent only a small sampling of funding opportunities in every department and program within Milner Library. For more information about how you can support the library’s campaign priorities, contact:
Executive Director, Annual Fund