2013 Holiday Newsletter to the Alumni of Loyola University Chicago
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Every December my family sends a newsletter to our friends and distant relatives through which we tell them our news and send them our love in paper form. In the same way, as the head librarian at Loyola University Chicago, I decided to make this month’s letter from the editor a holiday newsletter to our family of honored alumni. We certainly have a lot to talk about– it is shaping up to be quite an exciting year at the library!
We live in a world increasingly reliant on technology. When I began my undergraduate career in the early 2000s, laptops had just replaced desktops as the expected computer for incoming students. In fact I remember that there was spate of Dell laptops that year which tended to catch fire without warning due to a glitch in the cooling fan. What a way to begin your collegiate career! Now many of our undergraduates arrive with not only laptops but also tablets and smartphones.
But for every student who comes with a MacBook and an iPad, there is another who can only afford a used laptop. The library staff is committed to combating this digital divide. We believe that all students should have the same tools at their disposal, regardless of their financial background. So we are investing in fifty MacBook Pros and twenty iPads. These will be lent to Loyola students for three day periods. We will continue to lend digital recorders and cameras. However providing access to hardware is not enough. We are also training interested staff, graduate students and upper-level undergraduates to provide free software training to the student body beginning this spring semester. This training will take the form of small classes and one-on-one twenty minute training sessions (by appointment). In this way, all Loyola Ramblers will graduate with the technological skills to make their mark on the world.
As you know, all of Loyola is committed to the Jesuit ideal of community service; the library is no exception. With this in mind every Saturday next semester we will open our doors to the community. Anyone will be free to enter the library and utilize our services, whether they are a student at another university or a local resident. They can even apply for a community library card which will allow them to check out books! On these Saturdays specially trained librarians will be ready and waiting to help with voter registration, unemployment applications, homework (grade school through high school), cover letters and resumes, among other things. In short, the Loyola library will offer all the services of a public library within the environs of an elite academic library. We hope in doing so that the university at large will become a familiar and friendly presence in the Rogers Park neighborhood.
Both of these developments bring new challenges to the library. I’m sure that we will hit a few shaky points in the implementation of our new technology program! And as many of you know, the Rogers Park area is one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in Chicago. Over eighty languages are spoken in the surrounding blocks, and our neighbors’ financial background varies considerably. Many of our local residents are immigrants or first generation Americans. At first they may not feel comfortable coming to a private academic library. But we are determined to open our doors and assist the community in any way we can. We hope that in the future our new community ties will pave the way for greater cooperation. This can only benefit the neighborhood and our students.
Technology and community. These are the 2014 watchwords for the Loyola library system. With that in mind, I hope that you will keep us in your hearts this holiday season. Our library website provides much more information about these exciting new developments with a Paypal link for your donations. We hope you will remember your Loyola library in your holiday charitable contributions.
From your alma mater in snowy Chicago I wish you a very happy holiday! May your season be full of love, laughter and thankfulness.
Loyola University Chicago