Holy Cross Science Librarian Receives Innovation Award

‘Drawing on Walls’ program applauded for interactivity between science and the humanities

WORCESTER, Mass. – Barbara Merolli, science librarian at the College of the Holy Cross, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) (hyperlink: http://www.ala.org/acrl/) College Libraries Section (CLS) Innovation in College Librarianship Award for her work on the “Drawing on Walls” program.

The innovative program “Drawing on Walls” was a collaboration of close interaction between Merolli and visual arts visiting lecturer Marguerite White, which took place during Holy Cross’ 2015 spring semester. Students in White’s “Drawing on Walls” class used the blank walls of the O’Callahan Science Library to create their final projects. It was the latest in a series of projects Merolli had pursued to create collaborative initiatives with the academic departments to showcase student work as well as demonstrate to students that the sciences and humanities are extremely interactive with one another. “The world isn’t contained in separate silos,” Merolli says, “life is much richer when we explore, mix together, and appreciate many aspects of life, not just those we are most familiar with.” The project’s impact has not only brought brilliant life and color to the library, but has also increased the interest of non-traditional library users to visit and engage with the library as more than just a physical space.

Of the program, award Chair Leah Dunn, university librarian at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, says: “The committee was impressed with Merolli’s project for crossing disciplines and drawing undergraduate users into the science library in a way that was replicable across a number of different types of libraries.”

“Receiving this award shows a smaller library staff at a  smaller college can be on a par with the larger universities and colleges,” Merolli explains. “Working at the O’Callahan Science Library has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. The students are amazing, and the faculty are tremendously supportive of the library and me trying to make the it the best place possible for our students.”

Merolli received her M.A. in library and information science from the University of Rhode Island in 2005. She joined the Holy Cross community in 2008. Merolli will receive $1,000 and a plaque donated by CLS, to be presented during the CLS program at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. 

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The College of the Holy Cross (holycross.edu), located in Worcester, Massachusetts, is among the nation's leading liberal arts institutions. A highly selective, four-year, exclusively undergraduate college of 2,900 students, Holy Cross is renowned for offering a rigorous, personalized education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition.  Since its founding in 1843, Holy Cross has made a positive impact in society by graduating students who distinguish themselves as thoughtful leaders in business, professional and civic life.