Brown University, Robinson Hall (Old Library)
ARL executive director Elliott Shore has embarked on a "listening tour" of ARL member libraries. This is the ninth in a series of informal reports from his visits.
The week before Thanksgiving in the US, I had the pleasure of touring New England as their crisp fall was beginning to turn into winter. I visited five ARL libraries in five days, reprising in a slightly larger territory my first visit to Boston’s five ARL libraries. The concentration of fine institutions of higher education located within an easy drive of Boston is quite stunning—10 ARL libraries and many of the country’s finest liberal arts colleges populate this cradle of US American higher education. I started in Providence, Rhode Island, at Brown University, made my way north and west to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, then south to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, farther south to the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, and ended my trip at Yale University in New Haven. This trip was characterized by gorgeous campuses, finely and faithfully restored and expanded libraries, deep engagement with the intellectual life of venerable institutions, and the exuberance of the land-grant flagships of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Coming at a time when we are deeply engaged in the strategic thinking and design process, each of these libraries demonstrated ways forward in consonance with what we are finding throughout the community of ARL.