Collaborate with us on a featured collection!

Published May 24, 2023
Updated June 12, 2023

“Where are the books?” is a common question you might hear in the lobby of Hayden Library. It’s no surprise that as technology advances, the way libraries serve their communities adapts along with it. As many patrons increasingly rely on digital rather than print resources, academic research libraries have responded by adding more collaborative and quiet study spaces to support user needs. This typically means that space is taken away from print collections and assigned to other resources. Because students and researchers are spending less time heading to the stacks to fulfill their needs, what opportunities do print collections provide in an era where digital resources are often the first place people are looking?

Close up of books in the "Letters in Lavender" featured collection
Featured collection "Letters in Lavender" display in Hayden Library.

Lorrie McAllister, Associate University Librarian for Collection Services and Analysis, saw an opportunity to take on the challenge of how to develop dynamic and exciting print collections that support a variety of learning and scholarly activities. This is where the Future of Print initiative was born. With grant support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a project team spent three years developing methods for ASU Library to work with our stakeholders to implement a new vision for inclusive and engaging print collections. The featured collections program is one outcome of this initiative.

Featured collections are the product of collaborations between ASU Library stakeholders and our communities to create meaningful learning and engagement experiences using print resources. Collaborators may include faculty, staff, students and student organizations, or other community groups. The final product may be a print book collection, a featured display aligned with a heritage month or an online compilation of resources on an openly accessible platform such as a library guide. Regardless of its format, the purpose of each featured collection is to creatively use library spaces and resources to engage ASU communities.

We’ve had an exciting year of collaborations with featured collections. Our partnerships with student coalitions included the “Disability and Inclusion” collection with Accessibility Coalition and the “Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month” display with El Concilio and Community-Driven Archives. The Open Stacks team was incredibly happy to collaborate with ASU Library personnel, affiliated faculty, and the students themselves. Some highlights of the academic year include our partnership with the University Sustainability Practices department to create the “Every Day is Earth Day” and “Planting the Seeds of Sustainability” featured collections for Earth Month. To celebrate Black History Month, we partnered with Assistant Archivist for Black Collections, Jessica Salow, and a graduate student intern, Nicole Cowan, to create the “Black Voices” featured collection. More recently, “Letters in Lavender,” was developed in partnership with Mimmo Bonanni, Social Sciences Librarian, and Seren Nutt, User Services Specialist, to highlight LQBTQ+ authors. All of these featured collections are currently located in the Hayden Library and Noble Library on the Tempe campus!

The featured collection program would not be possible without community engagement. We are grateful to all of our collaborators this past year, and we look forward to many more! If you are interested in collaborating with our team, we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to me directly at to begin the conversation.

- Corie Cisco, Project Coordinator for Open Stacks