January 18, 2022

Brown University Library Opens New Center for Library Exploration and Research

From Brown University:

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all undergraduates visited the University’s Rockefeller and Sciences Libraries each year, along with three-quarters of graduate students and two-thirds of medical students. Students regularly cite the reading room in the John Hay Library as a favorite study spot. And in a typical year, Library staff provide thousands in the Brown community with research support through workshops, class sessions and one-on-one consultations.

But University Library leaders know it can play an even more essential role in research, teaching and learning, both at Brown and in the greater Providence community. Thanks to a generous gift from donors who wish to remain anonymous, Library staff will spend the next few years executing an ambitious vision to integrate the Library’s presence even more deeply into academic life at Brown.

With funding from the gift and hubs at the Rockefeller Library, John Hay Library and Sciences Library, a new Center for Library Exploration and Research promises to strengthen academic excellence, fuel innovative scholarship and extend the Library’s impact beyond campus, bringing research resources and collections to more adults and kids in the greater community.


University Librarian Joseph S. Meisel said the center will support scholarly inquiry at every stage of the research lifecycle. Two new endowed staff positions — a director of library exploration and research, and a staff member dedicated to community engagement — will, along with redefined staff roles and expanded partnerships, enable staff at each of the three Library facilities to provide more support for research, increase use of special collections, and guide undergraduates, as well as high school and middle school visitors, through the skills they need to conduct research.


“When libraries expand research support for scholars of all ages, from middle school students to tenured faculty, everybody wins,” Meisel said. “Faculty and graduate students are able to generate more rigorous, higher quality research. Undergraduates are able to build a stronger foundational knowledge of research techniques, which will help them excel at virtually any career they pursue. And young learners will build research skills that can help them excel in the classroom and prepare for college.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.