Programming in Practice at Olin Library

Submitted by Maggie Foster

The sky is blue and as the breeze carries the sounds of a Saturday football game in progress, the bell tower above chimes the noon hour. You rush in through the heavy glass doors of Olin Library, greeted with hushed tones and packed tables, but that’s okay, because you were only coming in to grab something off the “New and Noteworthy” shelf, just past the Reference Desk. When you return later in the week, it will be for the library workshop on “Using Excel with Research Data: Macros”. As you proceed to check-out, you see Reference Specialists hard at work, responding to users in person, and online, through the Ask a Librarian service.

As a global leader in sustainability and climate change research, Cornell University embraces engagement from all of its departments. At Cornell, the library is “an indispensable partner in study, teaching, and research.” They offer organized instruction to the university faculty, staff, and students. Services include embedded librarians in classroom instruction, workshops, and For-Credit courses taught by librarians. The Library Liaison Program “encourages collaborative work among library staff and other university departments, and connects Cornell's academic departments and programs to the library through individual, designated librarians…This program situates the library in university-wide initiatives and promotes awareness of library resources and services.”

Recognizing that college students have grown up in the Google era, the sustainable measures put in place by the university librarians ensures that Cornell students develop important skills in library research and information management. Understanding that students may not be able to go to them at the library, programming, outreach, and facility operations bring the library to them. Innovative, customizable, and effective instruction have led to librarians becoming embedded in the classroom, successfully ensuring that they remain vital, visible, and viable to the Cornell University community.

For more information on research programming in practice at Olin Library, contact Tony Cosgrave at

Photo of Olin Library entrance.

"Ask a Librarian" flier with a dog typing on a keyboard.



The Sustainability Spotlight is a weekly series that highlights community-driven, environmentally sound, and economically responsible programs and projects in libraries and other organizations. You can find more projects in the Sustainability Spotlight Archive or visit NYLA's Sustainability Initiative to learn more about how you can get started with sustainability in your library.