The innovative blend of traditional library resources with new technologies at Carthage College's Hedberg Library make it a model academic library that serves an important role not only on campus, but also in the wider southeast Wisconsin community.
In 2002, Hedberg Library instantly became a leader in incorporating new technologies when it opened on the campus of the small liberal arts college in Kenosha. The library was among the first libraries in the state to implement the "Information Commons" approach, in which library, computer and media resources are housed together and Hedberg Library staff members, including students, are cross-trained in all three areas.
In addition to being more convenient for students, it utilizes library staff better, says Eugene Engeldinger, vice president for academic information services at Carthage College. "We can answer about 75 percent of all questions in one location," he says.
The library is also a leader in wireless technology. Hedberg was among the first to begin renting wireless laptops to students, and its Portable Wireless Electronic Classroom cart allows professors to bring the library into the classroom to help with instruction. These are just a couple of the many ways in which Hedberg Library shows its commitment to improving student learning and staff teaching abilities.
In addition to its educational aims, Hedberg Library also strives to improve the quality of life for both its collegiate clientele and the larger community. Hedberg is more than a library; it is in fact a social center. By incorporating a cyber café into its design, the library has become a welcoming place for both study and leisure.
However, Hedberg goes the extra mile to involve the greater non-college community. Anyone can either come to the library and use its resources or access its electronic materials from home. The library even hosts Family Fun Night, a continuously evolving program that gives individuals from Racine, Kenosha, and other surrounding communities the opportunity to participate in activities geared for families, including story time, simple video editing, guided searching of the Web and many other special events.
"Academic libraries usually do not take proactive steps to relate to local communities like public libraries," Engeldinger says. "But it's the library's contribution to what Carthage College does generally in the community."
Through its commitment to being an intellectual, technological, and social center for Carthage College and the surrounding communities, Hedberg Library represents the best that academic libraries have to offer.
For learn more about Carthage College Hedberg Library, go to http://www.carthage.edu/ais/.
The staff of Hedberg Library.