Cornell University Library helps expand knowledge and fuel scholarship; it provides scholarly depth and breadth for current faculty and students. An essential resource for research and teaching, the library must maintain and consistently build its collections and services. The Library is as busy as ever and is a critical space where students come to focus their minds and engage in studies. It is also a place where librarians provide services that help make students successful and support the faculty’s world-class research. Support from alumni, parents and friends helps us to empower minds and provide future scholarship at Cornell.
Transforming Olin and Uris LibraryNaming a space in the Library is a wonderful way to leave a legacy at Cornell. These include classrooms as well as study, teaching and learning spaces. We are seeking partners to support renovations in Olin and Uris Library to ensure students have comfortable, quiet spaces for study and new state of the art teaching and learning spaces to enhance the student experience.
Students identified the cost of textbooks and course materials as one of their greatest challenges. To help address this problem, the Library has initiated a program that provides students with access to both physical and digital textbooks. Support of this initiative provides students with access to scholarly materials vital to their academic success while alleviating their financial burden.
Learn more about the textbook initiative »
In finding ways to enhance the student experience and increase the affordability of a world-class education, Cornell University Library listened to the voices of students themselves, who identified the cost of textbooks and course materials as one their greatest challenges. To help address this problem, the library initiated a pilot program in 2019, providing textbooks for students that could be borrowed for extended periods of time. The student response was overwhelmingly positive. When asked what this program meant to them, they responded:
"It means relieving me of the financial burden of buying or renting textbooks as well as ensuring that I have the correct copy of the book," Eleanor Anderson-Zych, Engineering 2023
"To me it means that all classes are more accessible because I don’t have to worry about if I can afford a course’s copy of the book," Alexis Knoebel, A&S 2021
Since then, the textbook initiative has expanded to include electronic textbooks that have become popular with students. During the academic year 2020–2021, for example, there were 96 uses per electronic textbook and 64 uses per hardcopy textbook.
To ensure this program continues in perpetuity, the library needs your assistance. Your support will give students access to scholarly materials vital for their academic success while lessening their financial burdens and increasing their peace of mind. Our overall goal for this priority is $1.5 million, which will be achieved through multiple gifts.
Endow Entrepreneur Librarian
As Cornell trains tomorrow’s industry leaders and creators of startups, the Library supports entrepreneurs through vital research services.
We are seeking a partner to endow an Entrepreneur Librarian position. This new position plays a critical role in managing entrepreneurship services and activities, while creating innovative research and learning experiences. The Entrepreneur Librarian will work closely with Cornell partners to identify needs and design offerings that bring the most value to Cornell’s entrepreneurship and startup communities.
Learn more about the endowed entreneur librarian »
Endow Entrepreneur Librarian
As Cornell trains tomorrow's industry leaders and creators of startups, Cornell University Library uses entrepreneurial approaches in order to work with entrepreneurs who range from undergraduate and graduate students to post docs and faculty as well as startups across both the Ithaca and Cornell Tech campuses.
We are seeking a partner to endow the Entrepreneur Librarian for $3 million. This position will negotiate and steward collection funds to ensure the Library has materials to support the success of these entrepreneurs. This position plays a critical role in managing entrepreneurship services and activities, while creating innovative research and learning experiences. The Entrepreneur Librarian will work closely with Cornell Tech, Entrepreneurship at Cornell, the Center for Regional and Economic Advancement at Cornell University, and the McGovern Center to identify needs and design offerings that bring value to Cornell’s entrepreneurship and startup communities.
The funding for this position will also provide support for Library resources ensuring students and faculty have access to data sources like PitchBook and Technavio Reports that identify funding opportunities and investigate dynamic market landscapes.
Students and faculty have found the Library to be an incredible asset for helping with research for their startup businesses and entrepreneurial activities. "As it is daunting to start researching an industry you know nothing about, and information on private startups is hard to come by, the librarians have helped us to figure out how to get our hands on valuable information," said Delia Hughes '14, MBA '20. Andrea Ippolito, Entrepreneurship lecturer in the College of Engineering and College of Business, recently used the Management Library's reference service to identify sources for microbiome personalization in support of her work. She was very pleased with her interaction and said, "Thank you so much! This is incredibly helpful!"
The Library’s Diversity Residencies Program is meant to foster and support the growth and development of recently graduated librarians from underrepresented groups.
An endowment will sustain the program in perpetuity and support two diversity residents every two years, providing them with opportunities to work in different library areas, explore new information technologies, and collaborate with peers.
Learn more about diversity residencies »
As Cornell University Library supports a diverse community of patrons, we also nurture the diversity of our own library staff. Part of Cornell’s overall efforts to strengthen inclusion and a sense of belonging among staff, faculty, and students, the library’s diversity residencies are meant to attract a talented pool of recently graduated librarians who come from underrepresented groups.
Your $2 million endowment gift will sustain the program in perpetuity and support two diversity residents every two years, providing them with opportunities to work in different library areas, explore new information technologies, and collaborate with peers. The residencies also build their work experience and strengthen their expertise in research, scholarship, and instruction, preparing them for successful careers in librarianship. In turn, during their terms, the diversity residents contribute their rich knowledge and perspectives to Cornell University Library and the entire Cornell University community.
"The Cornell University Library diversity residency was a great way to gain experience in a number of different areas of a world-class library as well as to use my skills and fresh perspective on exciting projects as an entry-level professional. I had opportunities to grow that I wouldn’t have had elsewhere, and the skills I learned serve me to this day." - Camille Andrews, Diversity Residency Program participant
"Mann Library’s Diversity Fellowship gave me numerous opportunities to learn and grow in the field of librarianship. This position allowed me to pursue my interests and develop both personally and professionally, I have grown my professional network and been able do work that that is important to me." - Selena Bryant, Diversity Residency Program participant and Teaching and Learning Librarian, Mann Library
Diversity Law Library Fellowship
The Diversity Law Library Fellowship seeks to provide opportunities for recently graduated law librarians from underrepresented groups. Fellows are mentored by Cornell law librarians, while contributing to the mission of the Library, Law School and University.
An endowment will support one fellowship for two years. This program ensures young professionals can develop their skills in a safe and accepting environment.
Learn more about the diversity law library fellowship »
Diversity Law Library Fellowship
As Cornell University Library supports a diverse community of patrons, we also nurture the diversity of our own library staff. Part of Cornell’s overall efforts to strengthen inclusion and a sense of belonging among staff, faculty, and students, the library diversity fellows are meant to attract a talented pool of recently graduated librarians who come from underrepresented groups.
The Diversity Law Library Fellowship is designed for recent graduates who want the opportunity to learn about academic libraries and acquire core competencies and skills in research, scholarship and instruction. The program allows the Library Fellow the unique opportunity to work in one to two departments or functional areas to explore new information technologies or user centered services, collaborate on projects, and to participate in challenging and rewarding work environment.
The Library seeks a partner to endow a Law Library Diversity Fellowship for $1.5 million that will support one fellowship for two years. This program ensures young professionals can develop their skills in a safe and accepting environment in perpetuity.
Endow the Cornell University Press Directorship
As the oldest university press in the nation, the Cornell University Press is dedicated to the publication of scholarship that is engaged, influential, and of lasting significance. The Press Director sets the strategic vision for the Press and oversees all publishing and distribution activities for a robust back list of 5,000 titles and an ambitious front list of nearly 200 books annually.
We are seeking a partner to endow this position, enabling the Press to continue their efforts to publish exceptional work from acclaimed scholars across the globe.
Learn more about the Cornell University Press directorship »
Endow the Cornell University Press Directorship
Cornell University Press shares the university’s mission to foster a culture of broad inquiry through its publications of high-quality scholarship that is carefully edited, thoughtfully designed and strategically marketed. Founded shortly after Cornell, the Press was established in 1869 and was the first American university press. It aligns its prestigious program with the university’s strengths in key academic disciplines, while commanding its own distinct editorial profile. Its deep roster of authors includes Anna Botsford Comstock, Linus Pauling, Harold Bloom, Carl Sagan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Frank Rhodes, among many others.
The Press is led by a director responsible for the strategic vision and overall operational success of departments in acquisitions, editorial, design, production, marketing, sales, finance, and royalties. The director oversees all publishing and distribution activities for a robust back list of more than 5,000 titles and a list of nearly 200 books annually while also managing a staff of approximately 40 publishing professionals.
A gift of $2 million will endow this position that will enable the Press to further forge partnerships with other public-facing organizations on campus and discover new ways for books to reach scholars and curious readers both locally and globally.
Endow the Wason Curator
The Wason Curator oversees the East Asia collections focusing on China, Japan and Korea. This position is instrumental in forging partnerships with peer libraries in North America, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. As a result of these partnerships, Cornell faculty and students have access to more than 70 databases from library partners.
We are seeking a partner to endow the Wason Collection Curator to further expand this renowned collection while strengthening efforts to catalogue and digitize its materials for greater discoverability and accessibility by researchers at Cornell and around the world.
Learn more about the endowed Wason Curator »
Endow the Wason Curator
The Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia is one of the oldest and most distinctive collections of its kind in North America. Bequeathed to Cornell in 1918, the collection has grown to 720,000 print volumes and 102 database subscriptions, with extensive holdings on China as well as Japan and Korea.
The Wason curator oversees these collections and is instrumental in forging partnerships with peer libraries in North America and Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. As a result, Cornell faculty and students have access to more than 70 databases from library partners. One such partnership provides the Library with access to 1.7 million scanned volumes—making it the only US library to be given permanent, free access to this important database.
We seek a partner to fund this position for $1.5 million. Endowing this position will empower the Wason Collection curator to further expand this renowned collection and strengthen efforts to catalogue and digitize its materials for greater discoverability and accessibility by researchers at Cornell and around the world. It will also enable the Library to expand its diverse forms of global content, such as negotiating access to data sets from East Asia countries.
Continuing to build our collections is paramount to the success of students and faculty at Cornell. Library collections determine the future of scholarship by providing access to up-to-the-minute research and the scholarly record of past generations.
We seek partners to establish collection endowments to support the Library’s ability to bolster its resources – both print and digital. These endowments will ensure librarians have the funding they need to pay for the scholarly materials in greatest demand by students and faculty.
Learn more about collection endowments »
Endow a Collection — $2 million goal (can be multiple gifts)
Cornell University Library’s collections remain at the very heart of what the Library provides for students and faculty: the resources on which academic research, teaching, and learning are based. In the digital age, online resources have become essential, even as print remains alive and well. All libraries are working against a pervasive myth that all information is online, and that everything online is free.
The truth is a lot of the information necessary for academic research is not online, and many of the heavily used e-resources can be very expensive. Some disciplines still rely almost exclusively on print publications. The most trustworthy online resources are licensed and can be expensive. Economic realities such as nearly six percent inflation rates in scholarly publishing and — in light of the global reach of Cornell research — the devaluation of the dollar mean that a world-class research collection is more costly to develop and maintain.
The Library plays a critical role in recruitment of faculty. New positions hired in every discipline rely on the Library’s ability to provide the content needed for research and teaching. We seek unrestricted collection endowments to ensure we meet the needs of current and future faculty.
An unrestricted collections endowment enables the Library to purchase collections of the greatest need and in any discipline and provide timely access. An endowment would ensure librarians have the funding they need to pay for publications — online and in print — that are in the greatest demand by students and faculty.
Anne Vitullo '77 established the C. Anne Vitullo '77 Collections Endowment as an unrestricted endowment because she understands the Library’s need for flexible funding that can be directed toward Cornell's greatest research needs, regardless of discipline.
Student Worker Position
Cornell University Library employs the second-largest number of students on campus, employing nearly 350 students annually. Student employees play an integral role in the success of the Library’s day to day operations, contributing an effort roughly that of 80 full-time employees.
We seek funding partners for student employee endowments to sustain this important program. Increasing the number of student employees provides opportunities for students to receive hands-on experience and develop marketable skills for future employment. In return, staff benefit from their support enabling them to manage other priorities.
Learn more about student worker positions »
Student Worker Positions
Cornell University Library employs nearly 350 students annually. Student library employees contribute an effort roughly equivalent to that of 80 full-time employees. They keep the libraries open until late at night, provide technical assistance to fellow students and faculty, and work with conservators to bind new volumes and build protective boxes to preserve fragile items in collections. Based on informal Library surveys, students have commented that working in the Library has improved their study and research skills, making them more productive and enhancing their educational experience.
With a reduction in the Library workforce, student employees have become even more critical to assist with essential work and help reduce staff workload. Increasing the number of student employees provides opportunities for students to receive hands-on experience while "earning as they learn" and developing marketable skills that will benefit them after they graduate. In return, staff benefit from their support enabling them to manage other priorities.
We seek funding partners for student employee endowments to sustain this important program that provides students with work experience while also improving their study and research skills. Our overall goal for this priority is $500,000 and we anticipate achieving this through multiple endowments.
"Working at the Library has taught me multiple life skills such as time management, courtesy, and self-sufficiency. On my work shifts, I get the opportunity to interact with students from different colleges, and class years, and also teaching and support staff. Even though some interactions last seconds, it's always heartwarming when patrons are grateful for our work," Linda Nduhiu, CIS, 2022.
Technology Excellence Fund
New technologies enhance the student experience by arming them with tools to promote creativity and fuel academic success. Faculty also rely on new technologies to assist with their instruction and research.
The Library seeks a partner to endow a Technology Excellence Fund, which enables the Library to focus on adopting innovative technologies to enrich scholarship at Cornell.
Learn more about the Technology Excellence Fund »
Technology Excellence Fund
Cornell University Library needs to remain at the forefront of technology to provide students and faculty with the latest advances to augment teaching and learning. Enhancing the student experience is a top priority and new technologies can arm them with tools to promote creativity and fuel academic success. New technologies will also assist faculty with teaching and research.
Students and faculty are more visually oriented and are increasingly reading on devices and making use of device-based tools to enhance their productivity. In turn, they expect services to be supported through visual technology. Social network experiences create the desire and expectation to engage with communities, Cornell included, through direct interaction. Maker spaces are enabling learners to literally construct knowledge through hands-on design, fabrication and iterative problem solving. Additionally, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) enhance teaching and learning by immersing users in recreated, remote or even hypothetical environments as small as a molecule or as large as a universe allowing learners to experience "reality" from multiple perspectives. Currently, the Library budget does not allow it to meet these desires of both students and faculty.
The Library seeks a partner to endow a technology fund enabling it to focus on a plethora of innovative technologies to expand and enhance the teaching environment for faculty while delivering unique methodologies for research and exploration exiting student curiosity and enriching their scholarship. Our overall goal for this priority is $1 million and we anticipate achieving this through multiple endowments.
Dr. Isa Zimmerman ’60 and her husband, Dr. George Zimmerman chose to establish the Isa K. and George O. Zimmerman Fund for Technology Excellence through their estate because they felt the Library could provide technological access for all students. "We felt the Library could use our funds to make a difference for the students through technological advances," said Isa.
Remote Learning Fund
To better serve Cornell scholars remotely, the Library needs updated equipment, more staff resources, and software for ease of finding and accessing digital materials.
We are seeking a partner to establish a Remote Learning Fund to assist the Library with delivering access to digital collections and providing critical research assistance to students and faculty from a distance.
Learn more about the Remote Learning Fund »
Remote Learning Fund
When Cornell University pivoted to remote learning in 2020, the Library responded quickly providing critical services and resources to students and faculty.
"Since I arrived at Cornell, our librarians have consistently offered invaluable expertise in finding and gaining access to resources for my teaching and research. During lockdown and social distancing their assistance has become even more crucial,: said Rebekah Maggor, professor in Performing and Media Arts. "They helped me navigate the extensive and expanded digital resources available, scanned chapters for me, and provided quick responses to so many questions. I honestly don’t know how I could have continued my research without their help."
To better serve Cornell scholars in this new environment, the Library needs updated equipment, more staff resources, and software for ease of finding and accessing digital materials. Establishing a Remote Learning Fund will assist the Library with becoming even more efficient with delivering access to digital collections and providing critical research assistance to students and faculty. Our overall goal for this priority is $1 million, which we anticipate achieving through multiple gifts.
Cornell University Library Annual Fund
The annual fund provides the University Librarian with the flexibility to fund the Library’s greatest needs. Your gift to the Library helps us acquire new materials, revitalize spaces, provide research support, employ students, and respond to ever-changing needs. A gift to the Library supports students and faculty across campus in all disciplines.
Support the Annual Fund for the Library
For more information, please contact:
Michelle Houle Hitz ‘98
Director of Development, Library Alumni Affairs and Development
130 E. Seneca Street, Suite 400
Ithaca, NY 14850