RIT Libraries Annual Report Highlights 2017 - 2018


The library has become the locus of community and knowledge making in my courses.

Community Empowerment through Wikipedia

RIT Libraries hosted the second annual Women on Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on March 24, 2018. Members of the RIT community and Rochester area improved the representation of 204 women on Wikipedia who are noted for their accomplishments in fields as varied as astronomy, medicine, animation, and sports.

Digitizing Rare Collections

RIT Archive Collections received a $60,000 grant from the Council of Library and Information Resources to digitize 61 videotapes that document the American Sign Language (ASL) poetry and literature movement in Rochester, NY from 1970 to 2011. After completion in December 2018, it will be the largest collection of publicly accessible ASL literature.

Open Access Publishing Expands Reach of RIT Scholarship

This year, RIT faculty, students, and staff contributed 474 works to ScholarWorks, the digital repository that maintains a permanent record of RIT's research, scholarly, and creative works. The repository is open access, meaning works are available in full at no cost, eliminating barriers like paywalls to expand the availability worldwide. RIT Libraries also published 86 new articles in 6 open access journals in fields as varied as packaging science and creative writing.


Our library provides a creative environment for learning. It is a space of constant discovery. One never leaves empty.

Enhancing Learning Experiences with Virtual Reality

A team of 3D digital design students led by Steven Galbraith, Curator of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection, and associate professor Shaun Foster created a proof of concept for the Virtual Cary Collection. In virtual reality, users can interact with 3D models of artifacts in ways that would not be possible with the physical artifact, such as taking it apart to see how it was constructed, traveling through time to see how it has aged over centuries, or changing environments to interact with the artifact in its original context.

Partnerships Facilitate Practical Experiences

Beyond a place to study and research, Wallace Library functions as a living laboratory where students can apply what they're learning in the classroom and solve real-world problems.

Design by Students, for Students

With guidance from assistant professor Mary Golden and input from library staff, interior design students Jordanae Smith, Siobhain Page, and Octavia Spelman re-envisioned two library spaces. The students not only gained invaluable experience designing for real people with real needs, but they also added an impressive project to their portfolio when their proposed redesign of the Writing Commons was implemented on the first floor.

Educating the Public

The library’s aquarium is a popular location for the campus community to meet, read, or relax, and it often elicits questions from visitors. Conservation biology students in visiting assistant professor Kaitlyn Stack Whitney's class created posters now on display around the aquarium educating visitors about its fish and coral.

Unearthing Stories from the Archives

Museum studies students in professor Juilee Decker's class gained hands-on experience curating two exhibits in Wallace Library. Working closely with archivists, the students researched aspects of university history then selected objects from the RIT Archives and designed an exhibition case to tell stories of the RIT community.

Creating Inspiring Spaces

Senior Olivia Noll and Professor Lorrie Frear partnered with library staff to craft inspirational public art for women’s history month. The library’s chalk wall became a life-size canvas for Noll to showcase the hand lettering techniques learned in Frear’s calligraphy course.


Wallace Library is a hub for the RIT community, tapping into our curiosity and joy in learning.

Fostering Understanding in a Diverse Community

To challenge stereotypes and build understanding through dialogue, RIT Libraries invited members of the community to share their personal experiences in a new event series called My Untold Story. In engaging, small group discussions, participants learned about community members' immigration experiences at the inaugural event in November and others' religious beliefs at the second event in April.

I never expected anyone to care about what I had to share, and the emotional response I received, during and after the event, has been very encouraging.

Abi Ramos McFiggins '02, former DREAMer

Promoting Early Childhood Literacy

November 2017 marked the tenth anniversary of the Giant Read. More than 40 RIT student-athletes and library staff traveled to School No. 5 to read with the entire first grade class. At the end of the event, each child — many of whom have few books at home — received a book to encourage further reading.

Redesigned Website Improves User Experience

RIT Libraries launched a new design of their website in January 2018 based on the results of usability studies conducted with students and faculty. The mobile responsive design, streamlined navigation, and rewritten content improve patrons' experience from any device and quickly connect them with library resources and staff.


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