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Library Collections Enhancement Initiative seeks new proposals

September 30, 2021 By Natasha Kassulke

The UW–Madison Libraries host the 11th-largest research collection in North America and serve over 4 million visitors a year.

The Library Collections Enhancement Initiative, an Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education program, builds on the strengths of these holdings, while also expanding campus research capacities with critical and emerging collections needs. After successfully supporting 12 projects in its first year, the initiative is now offering a second round of funding.

Abstracts briefly describing the proposed titles to be acquired are due by 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 13, with complete proposals due on Jan. 31, 2022.

“This initiative creates new avenues for discovery and, as we saw in the first round of the initiative, invests in research materials critical to a wide range of disciplines, making them accessible to students, scholars and the wider community,” says Florence Hsia, associate vice chancellor for research in the arts and humanities. “This kind of financial flexibility helps our libraries stay agile as the costs for journal subscriptions continue to rise.”

One project funded in the first round, “Creating an Indigenous Pedagogy Collection,” builds on the university’s commitment to the Ho-Chunk Nation to engage in deeper understanding of Indigenous histories and cultures through a unique collection focused on education and Ho-Chunk history, culture and sovereignty.

In addition to building collections in specific research areas, the funding extends the ability of UW–Madison scholars to conduct and broaden their research with rare and hard-to-find works.

For example, in another round one project, “An Enrichment Plan for French- and Italian-language Library Collections: Some Key Acquisitions,” Libraries is adding a copy the 1578 Venice edition of Alessandro Vellutello’s commentary on Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, important for its early Renaissance commentaries and its woodcut illustrations. The project also enables the purchase of a new collection of 240 contemporary French-language comics and graphic novels. The project strengthens UW–Madison’s Department of Special Collections’ holdings of medieval and early Renaissance commentaries while also expanding the Libraries’ resources for comics and visual culture studies.

A third project, “Mayan Language and Linguistics Collection Enhancement,” brings together literary works and recent scholarship from primarily Mayan-language authors and those published by important cultural, Indigenous language institutions in Mexico and Guatemala. Importantly, the focus is on Mayan cultures, politics, and languages —not just on history.

The Library Collections Enhancement Initiative is funded by a $250,000 investment from the OVCRGE with support from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Each proposal in the Library Collections Enhancement Initiative must be led by at least one faculty member in partnership with at least one librarian with relevant subject matter expertise. Team proposals and both interdisciplinary and subject-focused proposals are welcome. Continuing costs are not allowable under the program.

To learn more about the projects, visit the Initiative website.