NO.61 FALL 2002

The Library Associates

Join more than 6,000 other friends, book lovers, alumni, and faculty who recognize that the influence of a great research library reaches beyond the university it serves to the many communities of which it is a part.

Library Associates receive complimentary copies of the quarterly newsletter Bene Legere, as well as invitations to special occasions at the Library. For more information on the Library Associates program, please write or telephone: The Library Development Office, Room 131 Doe Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000; telephone (510) 642-9377. Or, check our website.


New Library Prize to be Awarded for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Projects

"At Berkeley we’re redefining undergraduate education-using our unique strengths as a research university to enrich the academic experience for undergraduates. One of our faculty’s most important teaching partners is the University Library. Its staff and resources help students develop the critical thinking and technological abilities necessary to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information."

-Christina Maslach

Vice-Provost, Undergraduate Education

The Challenge

Student success is a paramount concern for institutions of higher education. Educators in all disciplines work to ensure that students have the skills they need for continuous learning throughout their college and professional careers. Today, progressive academic institutions strive to create learning environments where inquiry is the norm, problem solving is the focus, and critical thinking is part of the process. Leading national research universities in particular are taking advantage of their unique strengths to link undergraduate education to the research agenda.

UC Berkeley’s Library is a major research center of international prominence. The Library, ranking third among academic libraries in the United States, has a collection that includes over 9 million volumes, 81,000 current serial titles, 21,000 videos and DVDs, and access to more than 200 electronic databases and 7000 e-journals. The Library includes the Doe/Moffitt Libraries, The Bancroft Library, the East Asian Library and 20 subject specialty libraries.

The size and complexity of the Library, combined with the quantity of information available through the Library and via the Internet, represent enormous potential for the intellectual growth of undergraduate students. But abundance of information alone guarantees neither better research projects nor better educated students. Indeed, the ability to negotiate our increasingly complex information environment requires a complementary set of critical thinking and technological abilities necessary to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information-competencies that the higher education community has begun to codify and incorporate into the college curriculum.

The Prize

Recognizing that the University Library frequently functions as a research “laboratory,” particularly in the humanities and the social sciences, the Library has created the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research. This prize recognizes excellence in undergraduate research projects that incorporate the use of Library collections, and that demonstrate sophisticated information literacy skills on the part of the undergraduate researcher. While the campus offers a variety of prizes for research, the Library Prize is different: the focus is on the research process more than on the final product, to demonstrate the student’s library research skills and ability to select, incorporate and synthesize the results of their research.

Up to six prizes will be awarded annually: three for lower division and three for upper division students. A panel of six librarians and faculty will serve as judges for the applications, which will be accepted at the end of each spring semester. Cash prizes will be given at a reception hosted by the Library, and Library exhibit space will highlight projects from award winners. Winners and their faculty sponsors will be commemorated with brass plaques located near the new exhibit cases in Doe Library. In addition, a website for the prize will describe the application procedure, provide the forms needed to apply, and list the winners.

The Library Prize for Undergraduate Research will provide a very public means to recognize and reinforce undergraduate research skills and the Library’s role in shaping and directing students’ research learning activities. For more information, contact Lynn Jones, Teaching Library, (510) 643-9958 or ljones@library.berkeley.edu.

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Originally published Fall 2002. Server manager: contact