Profile: Ebling Library at UW-Madison

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Ebling merged the staff and collections of three campus libraries into one when it opened in June 2004.  As early as a year before, it was being touted as deserving a place “among the most technologically sophisticated [libraries] in the country” in a magazine the university’s medical school send to its alumni.  It has since lived up to its billing, earning the 2004 Library of the Year award from the Wisconsin Health Sciences Library Association, and Wisconsin’s South Central Library System 2005 Award for Innovative Library Service.

The 50,000 square-foot library houses nearly 400,000 print volumes, 3,000 journal subscriptions, 43 public access computer workstations, 16 group study rooms, seating for 350, and wireless computer access throughout.  Electronic access to databases and journals is rapidly replacing print and some licenses are currently being negotiated for online journal access only (dropping the print altogether.)  Historical and special collections of materials dating back to the 1600’s are heavily used and are rapidly being enhanced by web access to digitized versions.

A staff of 40 serves primarily University affiliated folks, and, in keeping with the Wisconsin Idea, they also serve the health science information needs of people around the state.  Outreach activities target Wisconsin public libraries, healthcare practitioners of all types, K-12 programs, and community groups.  Ebling has a particularly strong liaison program that integrates librarians and library services with the university health sciences schools, departments, centers and programs.  Librarians teach information seekers to find and evaluate the healthcare literature through course-integrated instruction, mentoring, community involvement, and a commitment to lifelong learning.

To find out more about the Ebling Library visit

The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation

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