VOLUMe Fall 2017

Mullins Reading Room in the WALC
Libraries faculty and staff 2017
View of atrium from third floor of WALC


Purdue University President Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., hits the World’s Largest Drum as part of the WALC Dedication Ceremony

Steve Wilmeth (son of Thomas S. Wilmeth) and Sally Wilmeth (daughter of Harvey D. Wilmeth) pose with the World’s Largest Drum after the WALC Dedication Ceremony
Dean of Libraries James L. Mullins at the WALC Dedication Ceremony 

Located in the heart of the Purdue University campus, the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) was dedicated September 22, 2017. The building exemplifies Purdue’s commitment to undergraduate education, and the 1924 Heating and Power Plant (HPN), with its iconic smokestack, stood for nearly 90 years on the WALC site. HPN not only provided power and heat to the University community, but it also served as a laboratory for engineering students. Today, we would refer to that learning experience as “active learning.”



“Purdue University Libraries is singular in more ways than just its name.”

mission: Our mission is to advance the creation of knowledge for the global community through the provision, development, dissemination, curation, and preservation of research and scholarship; the collection and archiving of the historical record of the University; the teaching of information literacy; advocacy for informed learning and open access; the creation of dynamic physical and virtual learning environments; and research in library, archival, and information sciences.

We accomplish our mission through our core values and defining characteristics via a culture committed to:

– A learner and researcher focus;

– Diversity, equity, inclusiveness, and respect for all;

– Collaboration;

– Creativity, innovation, and risk taking;

– Equitable access to information; and 

– Responsible stewardship of University resources.

vision: Purdue University Libraries will be a national and international model for the 21st-century academic research library.

learning: We contribute to student success and lifelong learning through innovative educational practices. Our research-based information literacy programming empowers Purdue’s diverse communities of learners to use information critically to learn and to create new knowledge. Our learning spaces, both virtual and physical, align with evolving curricula and student learning needs.

scholarly communication: We enhance the spectrum of scholarly communication from discovery to delivery through the provision of information resources, services, research, partnerships, and national and international leadership. We advocate for change in scholarly communication to promote economic sustainability, effective use of copyright, and open access to knowledge for all.

engagement and emerging opportunities: We commit our resources and expertise in Library, Information, and Archival Sciences to advance the profession and contribute to the welfare and economic development of the citizens and state of Indiana, the nation, and the world.

Please share any comments, questions, and inquiries about Purdue Libraries and VOLUMe with Teresa Koltzenburg, Director of Strategic Communication: tkoltzen@purdue.edu | 765.494.0069 or James L.Mullins, Dean of Libraries: jmullins@purdue.edu.

VOLUMe | FALL 2017 | Volume, n. 1. A unit of written material assembled together and cataloged in a library. 2. A large amount; quantity. 3. Loudness. | VOLUMe—the title of the Purdue University Libraries publication—speaks to the central, critical role our Libraries play in applying the principles of library science to translate the wealth of data into the treasure of knowledge. Through the voices of Libraries’ thought leaders, VOLUMe articulates central themes of the Libraries’ new strategic plan to become a leading world-class 21st-century academic research library. | COVER | photos courtesy of Teresa Brown and Mark Simons | EDITOR | Teresa Koltzenburg | GRAPHIC DESIGNER | Lindsey Organ | COPY EDITOR | Katherine Purple | PHOTOGRAPHERS | Charles Jischke, Mark Simons, John A. Underwood, Purdue University Marketing and Media, Teresa Koltzenburg, Teresa Brown, Mark Shaurette, Elaine Bahler, Thinkstock.



Jay T. Akridge // Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity // Purdue University

If you wanted to find Dean of Libraries Jim Mullins during any lunch hour over the past year or so, it was always best to start with the benches under the Sycamore tree next to the construction site for the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC). Inevitably, he was there. Jim has been involved in every aspect of the WALC and, from concept to completion, this has been his labor of love. Our campus will be forever grateful to Dean Mullins for providing the vision, passion, and persistence that brought this dream to reality. In recognition of Dean Mullins’s advocacy for the Wilmeth Active Learning Center, President Daniels designated the signature library space in WALC as the James L. Mullins Reading Room, as he retires from Purdue at the end of 2017.

It was out of a love for learning that two brothers–and Boilermaker engineers–named Thomas S. and Harvey D. Wilmeth supported Purdue University Libraries for many years. Always innovative, Tom Wilmeth helped fund the Libraries’ first electronic database. “I believe the essence of education,” he said, “is developing the ability to train and teach oneself to learn.” I couldn’t agree more.

Today, through the WALC, we have reimagined and reinvented libraries at Purdue. By combining a new paradigm for teaching and learning with six engineering and science libraries (now the Library of Engineering and Science), we have successfully created a flexible, collaborative-style learning/library facility. With 27 active-learning classrooms, each incorporating one of seven different room configurations, the WALC creates an ideal setting for fostering creativity, interaction, and retention. In addition, during the evening and weekends, active-learning classrooms become study spaces, making the entire building a 21st century library. In the following pages, you will learn how our students, faculty, and staff are being inspired by this unique learning environment.

The WALC is both a harbinger of our future and a guardian of our past. Those of us who have been around Purdue for many years—and hundreds of thousands of our alumni and guests—fondly remember the 1924 Power Plant and its iconic smokestack that once stood on the location of the WALC. With artifacts from the original building and subtle cues (the reception desk is the circumference of that old smokestack), campus history is carried forward. The history of our country is there, too, in the Mullins Reading Room, where we are honored to display an authorized copy of Emanuel Leutze’s dramatic 1851 painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” rendered by Robert Bruce Williams and on loan to Purdue from the Washington Crossing Foundation.

Something truly extraordinary happened at the start of our fall semester: literally from the moment the doors opened at this remarkable facility, it became the central hub for our campus. About 4,000 students visit the WALC every day, and exceptional teachers and talented Libraries faculty and administrative professionals are helping them explore, learn, and find what they need.

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll stop by the Wilmeth Active Learning Center to see it for yourself. If you happen to run into Dean Mullins, ask him to show you around. He’d be happy—and very proud—to tell you all about it.


As we started the planning process for the WALC and the Library of Engineering and Science (LoES), in addition to visualizing the designs for the traditional study spaces and access to computers and physical collections (e.g., books and technical documents), we envisioned creating a destination space. We pictured a space where students could find technologies and resources not available elsewhere on campus. Additionally, with the increased emphasis on data management across campus, we felt that having a high visibility “storefront” location—to highlight and make accessible the considerable talent and tools the Libraries have—would be imperative in order to help students and researchers find the expertise and equipment they would need to make sense out of their data. 

The current Data Visualization Experience Lab of Purdue (D-VELoP) took shape from this vision, informed by our previous experience in the Libraries consolidated into LoES. Formerly, geographic information services (GIS) services were housed in the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Library; the Guy Mellon Cyberchemistry Lab provided chemical information tools; the Engineering Library offered such Maker services as 3D printing; and, with the recent hiring of a bioinformatics information specialist, the Life Sciences Library offered bioinformatics expertise. From their experiences offering such robust resources in the formerly separate Libraries, the Libraries faculty in the LoES have accumulated significant expertise in working with scientific and geospatial data. Nevertheless, in these smaller libraries, we did not have the resources to create a large enough space to draw users in, and, particularly, to teach at an appropriate scale. 

We designed the D-VELoP suite on the third floor of WALC to address those needs. With an 18-station computer lab—each computer is loaded with visualization software programs and features high-resolution, larger format monitors—finally, we can provide hands-on instructional activities in a classroom environment.

Michael Fosmire // Head, Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Technology (PSET) Division // Professor // fosmire@purdue.edu

In our first semester (Fall 2017), Libraries Faculty Member Assistant Professor Nicole Kong taught an introductory graduate level course in GIS she created for the College of Liberal Arts. In addition, Libraries Assistant Professors Megan Sapp Nelson and Pete Pascuzzi co-taught the Libraries’ first LIBR-designated graduate course, “Data Management at the Bench,” in the D-VELoP computer lab. We also expanded our Maker footprint with the addition of three more 3D printers.

In the near future, D-VELoP will house a CNC (computer numerical control) router and VR (virtual reality) equipment that will complement our existing lending library of computing and electronics components and specialized cameras and scanners. A recent Libraries faculty hire, Assistant Professor Sarah Huber coordinates the Libraries’ Mobile Making workshops, which invite students to play with emerging technologies and think about how they can incorporate them into projects or personal passions. 

Finally, our visualization wall allows anyone on campus to bring their data or other projects into a space where they can simultaneously see large and small structures in an interactive environment. Professor of Human-Environment Modeling Bryan Pijanowski, in Purdue’s College of Agriculture’s Forestry and Natural Resources Department, is helping us pilot the system by teaching his graduate seminar on soundscapes in this room. Pijanowski’s research indexing audio recordings by geography provides insights into the health and vibrancy of ecosystems and clues to changing habitats and behaviors due to urbanization, industrialization, and climate change. Our visualization wall allows for interrogation of large data sets, with audio components, providing an immersive environment for analyzing and presenting data to make discoveries about the world around us.

In D-VELoP, we have created the “destination space” we envisioned, and we will continue to explore, grow, and develop the suite and its resources—and ultimately Purdue students and faculty—to be in step with Purdue’s overall trajectory of “making things that move the world forward.”


Michael Fosmire (far right) // Head, PSET Division // Professor // Purdue University Libraries // fosmire@purdue.edu

Amanda Gill (middle right) // Operations Manager, PSET Division // Purdue University Libraries // gill3@purdue.edu

Vicki Killion (far left) // Head, HLS Division // Associate Professor // Purdue University Libraries // vkillion@purdue.edu

Monica Kirkwood (middle left) // Operations Manager, HLS Division // Purdue University Libraries // monicack@purdue.edu

There comes a “moment of truth” in every design project, whether it’s starting a business, creating a social media feed, launching a service…or, opening a new library. You take a deep breath, open the doors, and hope people show up. By that measure, the Library of Engineering and Science (LoES) in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center has been an unbelievable success.

Since we opened at the start of Fall 2017, from all the students using the space, the LoES is bursting at the seams—exactly as we hoped they would. From the computer labs, to the Mullins Reading Room, to the “ecotone”transition spaces lining classrooms, students grab every single seat to make the best use of their time in and around their courses, and, indeed, well into the night. 

The LoES cannot be separated from the rest of the Wilmeth Active Learning Center. Its spaces entwine with classrooms in an organic manner, so students may not even realize they are in the library or classroom (hint, if they are on the carpet, it’s library space). The design of LoES began with a participatory-design exercise with students, faculty, and Libraries staff, during which we observed students’ habits and asked them about their ideal learning environment—not their ideal library space, but their ideal learning environment. Based on these responses, we identified several key concepts that informed our vision for the LoES.

Natural light permeates the building, and internal windows connect students to the outside. One of the strongest comments from students had to do with the isolation they felt in many of our spaces, which were built in the interiors of buildings (and great during tornado warnings), but were not very inspiring for learning. We also identified several modes of study students engage in: teamwork, individual study, technology-assisted at times, and at other times, students desiring a space for complete concentration. There are times when students want to be together in a more social working environment, and others when they want to be “alone, together,” best represented by the Mullins Reading Room, where students can gain inspiration by working diligently alongside their peers.

We programmed computer banks conducive to both individual and group interactions, as well as study rooms equipped with large monitors. Finally, soft seating rimming many of the classroom areas provides a place for students to gather prior to class to prepare for a presentation or talk about a homework assignment imminently due. After a class, these seats enable students to meet in groups to create work plans, or to follow with their instructor about a difficult concept without having to fight the hundreds of students dashing between classes. 

Although we call it the Library of Engineering and Science, it is very much an interdisciplinary environment, open to the entire campus community. The WALC draws students from every major through the variety of courses taught in the building. From a service perspective, while we do house the most current and high-use engineering and science physical print books, and we have assembled a formidable amount of staff and Libraries faculty expertise in the literature of those disciplines, we also keep in mind that many of our users do not have that background, yet still have information needs we can meet. We also want to engage with non-science and engineering students, for example, with our Mobile Maker activities, to let them explore technologies and think about how they might use them in art, humanities, and the social sciences. 

In tandem with the physical Library of Engineering and Science, our consolidation of Libraries faculty from six different locations, and two divisions—Health and Life Sciences (HLS) and Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSET)—into one space has also led to many collaborations and exchange of good ideas. Perhaps the most salient has been the development of a two-credit course, “Data Management at the Bench”  (LIBR 595), the Libraries’ first offering under our own course designation. The course, co-taught by Megan Sapp Nelson (PSET) and Pete Pascuzzi (HLS), would have been significantly more difficult if they had still been in the Hampton Civil Engineering and Lilly Halls on opposite ends of the campus. We built the Libraries staff and faculty wings of the LoES to take advantage of proximity, with comfortably furnished common spaces encouraging Libraries faculty, and our visitors, to sit down and have a conversation that leads to an idea that leads to a collaboration that leads to a project. 

For students, to faculty and staff, we designed the LoES to have a place for everyone to be their most productive—whether quiet, noisy,together or alone, and outfitted with technology or distraction-free.  When we opened, we fully expected to find spaces that students flocked to or avoided, prepared to make changes as needed to adapt to their needs. What we have found is that, typically, every seat is filled.  Every nook we designed into the building, the students have found and occupied consistently.  While we will continue to monitor utilization of the LoES and tweak as needed, we feel confident that we have addressed student needs in the LoES/WALC design and implementation. 


(L to R): Michael Cheesman, Derek Staley, and Tim Krueckeberg (all of Turner Construction), and Rustin Meister

Senior Project Manager, Wilmeth Active Learning Center // Purdue University

If you have ever been involved in a home remodel, or even the construction of a new home, you understand there are a number of factors to consider and many decisions to make—perhaps many more than you ever envisioned. In principle, building the new Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) was a bit like building a new home, but the scope, complexity, and magnitude of such a project is undoubtedly overwhelming without a team to manage it. That is where we came in.

Planning and design for the WALC took more than a year and served as the foundation for this project. Our role involved working closely with architects and engineers to ensure key stakeholder and end-user input was captured. At the same time, we had to stay on budget and schedule and maintain alignment with the academic program. Collaborating with the design team and Dean Mullins, we worked to incorporate the 1924 Power Plant (HPN) artifacts into the design and to ensure the WALC’s exterior architecture complemented its historic surroundings; these were only a few of the hundreds of design details that had to be considered. 

Construction makes design a reality. Job site safety is always the first priority on every project. Keeping pedestrians safe during the demolition of the 1924 Power Plant and the Engineering Administration Building (ENAD) involved weeks of careful planning with the demolition contractor. Construction of the WALC took nearly two years, and involved extensive onsite coordination with the contractors to maintain the overall scope, schedule, and budget of the project. On peak days, the WALC saw roughly 160 workers on site. It consists of more than 11,000 cubic yards of concrete (that is more than 1,000 concrete trucks!) and 800 tons of concrete reinforcing steel (equal to the weight of over five blue whales!).  

The WALC has been operational for only a short period of time. In that short time, we have already witnessed what a positive effect it has had on students, faculty, and staff. Given its initial success, it is clear the WALC will have a lasting impact on this campus, and we are grateful to have been a part of it. 



As a full-time Purdue staff member and a part-time Purdue student, I find that the WALC is the ideal place to have class. I can grab lunch at Au Bon Pain, sit and eat in one of the many common areas, then go upstairs to class. This allows me to optimize my time and minimizes the disruption to my workday, helping me to get the most out of the student portion of my day.

What’s more is that the WALC is a welcoming, exciting, and vibrant building. There are people everywhere! In front of the building, the tables and benches are filled with students doing homework, working together, eating lunch, and catching up with friends. Even on rainy days, you can be outside because about half of the seating area is protected underneath the Mullins Reading Room. Inside the building, it is open, airy, and just as filled with people. Computer labs aren’t tucked away behind doors either; there are many computer terminals in the atrium, right next to the reference desk, aligning the path to your next class.

Caitlin J. Adams //Business Systems Analyst // University Development Office // Purdue Research Foundation // cjadams@prf.org

Once you’re in class, there’s something engaging about knowing that your room is set up differently than the room next door–that your professor chose to have class in this room because it will facilitate the needs of the class.

Every learning activity in my SYS 400 “Science and Technology Policy” course is team-based. We work on a semester-long project as a team and our classroom time centers on discussion. There are monitors one very wall of the room, so we can sit facing each other, ready to talk, but still see the day’s discussion questions or other materials displayed.

Typically, we sit in pods with our teams, making it easy to get to know each other early in the semester. Class discussion starts in each of our teams then opens up to the class as a whole.

By the time we had our first project meeting outside class, my team members and I were already comfortable with each other and we were able to start work immediately because we already had practice discussing things as a team.

I think the room itself is actively improving the class and my education. What more could you ask for from a building or a classroom?

The classrooms in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) enable students to engage with one another and the course material in new and exciting ways.

During the Fall 2017 semester, my “Introduction to Patient-Centered Care,” the introductory pharmacy practice course for first-professional year students, has been in the “Boiler Up” classroom (room 1018)  in the WALC. In essence, this course is their first exposure to the knowledge and skills—such as patient assessment, patient communication, and medication therapy management—necessary to become a pharmacist. Though active learning was emphasized in this course prior to being placed in WALC, it was difficult to assist students in these activities in a large, traditional classroom setting.

Kimberly S. Plake //Associate Professor of  Pharmacy Practice // Department of Pharmacy Practice // Purdue University // kplake@purdue.edu

In the Boiler Up room, students sit at tables of six, allowing group work to take place with ease. When looking up information pertaining to medications and disease states, students can easily find data using their tablets and laptops. The tables in the room not only give students the necessary space for their computer use, but the accompanying electric outlets also allow them to use these tools for an extended time.

Students actively work through patient cases while instructors can move through the room easily and answer student questions. When participating in a role-play or communication activity, students simulate a patient interaction, practicing their skills in a “safe” environment prior to using them in practice. Debriefs with instructors regarding active-learning exercises regularly take place, enabling students to reflect on their learning and provide feedback to instructors.

The classroom spaces in the WALC allow instructors to design their courses creatively without having to consider the limitations of the space. With 150 students per class, it was difficult to keep students engaged and on task. In this team-taught course, instructors are now developing new activities that they would not have considered attempting in a traditional classroom. As a result, students are deeply engaged in their learning and the application of their knowledge and skills.

I have to admit that the construction itself for the new Wilmeth Active Learning Center was a little annoying last year, but it is really exciting to have another area in the middle of campus to study. I think both the architecture and the overall design of the building, with the furniture and study areas, are well done.

Raymond Peck (Los Altos, CA) // Sophomore, Civil Engineering // Purdue University One

One of my favorite parts of the new building is the Mullins Reading Room, because it is focused on individual quiet study. I also really like that some of the chairs are set off by themselves around the perimeter of the room. The tables in the Reading Room, too, are well lit, and the proportions of the furniture in this room were well thought out and make it possible for students to focus without the distraction of being uncomfortable.

This semester, I have also used some of the computers located near the Library of Engineering and Science information desk on the second floor, and I like the fact that the monitors articulate, which really helps when I am working at the computer and working with my textbooks at the same time. The computer desks also have a lot of space, so you can spread out your materials, which has been helpful to me while studying.

The Wilmeth Active Learning Center is a great addition to the Purdue campus! I have the privilege of teaching on the third floor Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Walking in the building on those days for my class, I find that the students are a-buzz with energy, and the building is always crowded.

Dennis Savaiano // Virginia C. Meredith Professor and Director, North Central Nutrition Education Center // Department of Nutrition Science // Purdue University

The entire ambiance of the WALC evokes high-tech learning—exactly the future of Purdue. The flexible classroom has allowed us seamless transition between discussion and presentation components of the course. The multitude of windows and resulting light seems to keep the students engaged, even at an early morning hour.

Congratulations to Jim Mullins for having the vision and persistence to make a magnificent modern, useful learning space happen in the very middle of the Purdue campus. It is a great legacy for a great dean and a new crown jewel and centerpiece for the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette.

Dealing with the construction site where the Wilmeth Active Learning Center now sets has been frustrating the last few years. Because of all the fenced off areas, it took me longer to get to my classes. But when the building opened this year, the ambiance of campus improved so much! I feel like I started to see people congregating outside around this building and the surrounding buildings.

Damisola Balogun (Fort Wayne, IN) // Senior, Industrial Engineering // Purdue University

I use the WALC a lot for studying. I do not use it as much during the day because it is really busy because of classes. But, if I can find a spot, I will study in the Reading Room. I love the natural light all the windows provide in that room. It is a good studying environment.

More often, though, I come to the WALC around or after 6:30p.m. By that time, it has died down a little bit and the classrooms are openedup as study spaces.

I have studied in other classrooms in the building, but [room 1018] (one of the “Boiler Up” classrooms) is probably one of my favorite classrooms in this building. Maybe it is because I have class in here and I am more used to this room, but I do really like the size of the desks in here, which provide a lot of space to spread out if you need to.


When it became certain the 1924 Power Plant (HPN) would be demolished to make way for the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC), a group of individuals came together to decide what could be saved as artifacts from HPN that could help tell its story and celebrate the memories so many Boilermakers had of the iconic smokestack. On a very cold day in February 2014, the group toured HPN and identified parts of the structure (grating, flue doors, pipes, bricks, decorative trim) that could be re-purposed into the structure of the WALC. In addition, the group selected various pieces of equipment from HPN, including a turbine, control valves and gauges, and the ash cart that removed the cinders from the boilers and soot from the smokestack. These items were chosen to tell the story of the operations of HPN and the men who worked there, as well as the educational role it played for many Purdue engineering students.  

As the architects from BSA Life Structures designed the WALC, wall cases were planned that would display the artifacts, which would allow visitors to learn about the role of the 1924 Power Plant at Purdue. To ensure a coherent story and clarification of the items, a museum display professional from Museum Croft stewarded the location of the items in the cases as well as the narrative, all available through an audio tour that can be accessed via a smartphone. (The audio tour can be reached by dialing 765-245 3595. Of course, this can be dialed up from any location, but it is most meaningful to be in the WALC to have the artifact or photograph in front of you. The audio tour also challenges the listener to create her/his own story using the artifacts, thereby, becoming an active learner in the WALC.)

The walls of the WALC are also rich with reproductions of historic photographs of the Purdue University campus, including an aerial view of the campus from 1924, the year the Wilmeth brothers were students at Purdue. Several photographs show engineering students learning the operations of the 1924 Power Plant from a professor, as well as images depicting the workers who made the plant operate. 

A Purdue Icon: Creation, Life and Legacy

A Purdue Icon was published in August 2017 by Purdue University Press as part of its Founders Series, to convey, in seven essays, the significance of the 1924 Power Plant. The book highlights the growth of the industrial age during the late 19th century and the extraordinary growth and demand for electrical power, which necessitated the construction and continual expansion in the generation of heat and power, and ultimately cooling for Purdue. The book also discusses the design of the 1924 Power Plant and its significance as a statement of modernity in the 1920s; however, it also discusses the need for expansion beyond what the 1924 Power Plant could generate and ultimately its retirement in the 1980s.

The demolition of its smokestack was completed in the early 1990s, with the razing of the entire structure following in 2014.

The final essay discusses the planning and design of the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) on the site of the 1924 Power Plant. The WALC merits its central location as the vibrant heart of the Purdue campus on the very site of an earlier active learning center, the 1924 Power Plan. 

Purdue Icon: Creation, Life, and Legacy is available through Purdue University Press //  www.thepress.purdue.edu/titles/format/9781557537829

James L. Mullins // Dean of Libraries and Esther Ellis Norton Professor 2004 – 2017 // Purdue University Libraries



As we approach the 150th anniversary of Purdue University, it is the perfect time to commit to preserving its history. The mission of the Archives and Special Collections is to preserve and share the documents and artifacts that tell the remarkable story of how Purdue grew from a small land grant university on the banks of the Wabash River into the world-class research institution it is today.

Much has been achieved over the last 20 years to preserve Purdue’s history, and our collections are robust and meaningful. Scholars worldwide conduct research using our collections, and we regularly teach students about Purdue history using the archival collections. Yet, there is no place at Purdue for visitors and the Purdue community to actively engage with Purdue’s history and to learn about how it has grown over time and the ways Purdue alumni, faculty, and staff have impacted the world.

Sammie L. Morris // University Archivist and Head, Archives and Special Collections Division // Professor // Purdue University Libraries // morris18@purdue.edu

It is at this important moment in the history of the University that we turn our eyes to the mission of engagement. As Harry Truman famously said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” As we celebrate the success of the archival work done to collect and care for Purdue’s history, we believe now is the time to connect that history in a more meaningful way to students, scholars, alumni and the public.

The inaugural (1958) Grand Prix go-cart race (proceeds go to scholarships) at Purdue University, (see www.purduegrandprix.org/foundation/history)

A stand-alone Archives and Special Collection building would create a destination point for experiencing Purdue history. This building would serve as an engagement center where anyone—students, faculty, alumni, K-12, external scholars, and the public—could come to learn about Purdue’s rich heritage. The building would be designed to excite and educate visitors about Purdue’s past and its many innovations and accomplishments over time. An Archives and Special Collections building, with attractive, interactive displays and gallery spaces, will attract visitors eager to learn about Purdue and how it has moved the world forward.

Cover of the game day program for the 1893 football game between Purdue and DePauw held Thursday, Noveber 30, 1893, in Indianapolis. Purdue wont the game 42-18

A state-of-the-art Archives and Special Collections building will allow us to continue supporting research, while adding in additional spaces for teaching and learning with enhanced engagement opportunities through museum-like gallery spaces. This building will house the historical documents, photos, films, artifacts, and publications that tell the story of Purdue. In addition to the University Archives, the new building will store the manuscripts and personal papers of noteworthy Purdue alumni and faculty, the Susan Bulkeley Butler Women’s Archives, the Barron Hilton Flight and Space Exploration Archives, the Betsy Gordon Psychoactive Substances Research Collection, and the Libraries distinctive collections of rare books. Emerging technologies will be integrated into the building, to connect these valuable collections to the world and bring history to life. 

Please be on the look-out for upcoming announcements about the kick off of the Campaign for the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Research and Engagement Center. This campaign is not just about protecting history for generations to come, but also actively engaging with it today. We hope you will join us in this exciting endeavor to build a new Archives and Special Collections building that highlights Purdue’s history and the ways Purdue has impacted the world.

For more information, please contact Kathryn Dilworth, Director of Advancement, Purdue Libraries and Purdue University Press, at KFDilworth@prf.org or (765) 494-2806.

This image is from one of the first pages of the 1889 Debris Yearbook produced by students. The image captures present-day Memorial Mall, with University Hall, the only structure remaining since the time the image was taken. Debris was published by students annually from 1889-2008

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James L. Mullins // Dean of Libraries and Esther Ellis Norton Professor 2004 – 2017 // Purdue University Libraries

It is never easy to have something you have enjoyed doing for so many years come to an end, however, all things do. It has been a remarkable thirteen and a half years. Purdue University has been my “perfect storm,” not in the traditional, negative connotation, but rather in a positive manner—the coming together of opportunities that enabled Libraries to further define and refine its role within Purdue University and make its mark in the profession.

When I arrived, Purdue Libraries, as all research libraries were in the early 21st century, was on the cusp of making the final transition from a print dominated world to a digital one. Processes and practices important in the past were becoming obsolete. As the world moved more toward a digital environment, Libraries had to make that transition, as well, to take advantage of new modes of scholarly communication to enable Libraries to most effectively benefit students and faculty alike.

No single person, not even a dean, can chart or determine the vision for an organization such as Purdue Libraries. It is a joint endeavor. During my time at Purdue, I have had remarkable colleagues within the Libraries administration, its faculty and staff who have made the Purdue Libraries one of the most innovative and creative research libraries in the United States, and some would say, the world. The support given to Purdue Libraries by the University administration and Purdue Trustees has been key to allowing Libraries to achieve the same level of recognition within the research library community that Purdue University has in the academic arena. As one long-time supporter of the Libraries, former Purdue Trustee John Hardin would say, “You can’t have a great university without a great library.” No truer statement has ever been made.

Finally, I want to note with great appreciation the work of the Dean’s Advisory Council comprised of Purdue alumni and friends whose support throughout these years has meant so much. Under the leadership of Larry Hiler, the DAC made commitments to raise funds and support initiatives within Libraries that have helped make it a national and world leader in innovation and creativity.

I depart at the end of 2017 knowing that Purdue Libraries is poised for its next level of greatness through the leadership of the next Dean of Libraries of Purdue University.

Hail Purdue and Boiler Up!