Top 10 SDSU Library Stories 2023

Top 10 SDSU library stories of 2023

Each year, we look back on some of the most important projects we’ve pursued at the San Diego State University Library as well as some of the most significant contributions we’ve made both to the strategic goals of the university and to the day-to-day concerns of our community. 

Looking back at the first full year of our work on the library strategic plan and looking forward to even greater library contributions to the SDSU strategic plan, we are happy to share this review of a busy 2023.

To keep up to date on everything happening in (and around) the University Library, please visit the Library News and to learn more about the impact of philanthropy in the University Library, please visit our 2023 Impact Report.

[10] [TIE] Library Staff Member Wins SDSU Lifetime Achievement Award

Maureen Dotson receives award
Facilities Coordinator Maureen Dotson received the SDSU Staff Lifetime Achievement Award.
Facilities Coordinator Maureen Dotson was recognized for her extraordinary work managing and improving the physical spaces of the University Library with the San Diego State University Staff Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of one of the busiest facilities on campus – with thousands of students, staff, and faculty finding their way to the Love Library and the Library Addition each day during the academic year – Dotson has played a leadership role in collaborating with colleagues around campus to design new library spaces, including, most recently, the Africana Studies Collection and Latinx Resource Center. 


[10] [TIE] Esports Engagement Center Opens in the University Library

In Fall 2023, the University Library collaborated with colleagues from the Division of Information Technology and the Division of Student Affairs + Campus Diversity to open the first phase of the SDSU Esports Engagement Center. Building on the library’s existing collaboration with SA+CD to promote student health and wellness, the SDSU Esports Engagement Center program is distinguished by its promise to combine access to esports and gaming, curricular and co-curricular opportunities around esports, and “a team of coordinated care advisers and retention specialists.” In its initial month of operation, 700 students visited the Esports Engagement Center (even with limited hours) and we look forward to seeing this program continue to grow in 2024. 

[9] Africana Studies Collection Space Opens

Dean Walter at the Africana Studies Collection Grand Opening
Dean Walter at the Africana Studies Collection Grand Opening.
In collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Africana Studies, the Black Resource Center, and the Division of Student Affairs + Campus Diversity, the University Library opened a new Africana Studies Collection space in Spring 2023. With an advisory committee led by Outreach and Diversity Initiatives Librarian Gloria Rhodes and Assistant Professor of Africana Studies (and College of Arts and Letters Faculty Fellow in the University Library) Taharka Adé, the Africana Studies Collection space is meant to serve as a “gateway” for students and scholars into the array of materials – print, digital, and archival – that the University Library provides for the study of “the historical, cultural, and intellectual heritage of people of African descent.” The Africana Studies Collection space is also designed to serve as a nexus for curricular and co-curricular programming related to the Black experience at SDSU, including the Black Research Symposium, which will return to the library in Spring 2024.


[8] Data Workshop Series Promotes Campus Collaboration Around Research Data Services

As part of the SDSU drive to support a growing research program as well to meet the need for undergraduate and graduate students in all fields to become more “data literate,” 2023 saw increasing collaboration among the University Library, Division of Information Technology, and Division of Research and Innovation around the design and delivery of research data services. Offering a workshop series on “Finding and Using Data for Your Research” (funded by the National Library of Medicine under a cooperative agreement with the University of Washington), librarians including Health Sciences Librarian Margaret Henderson are working with colleagues to strengthen the foundations of the research data infrastructure at SDSU and to identify priorities for continuing investment at the university level to ensure that we are prepared to meet our strategic goal of attaining, and sustaining, our place as an “R1” research university.

[7] DH@CSU

DH logo
Through its Digital Humanities Center, the Library continued to provide leadership for digital humanities initiatives at SDSU and across the California State University in 2023. Building on the successful collaboration with San Jose State University on 2022’s Digital Humanities Research Institute, the SDSU Digital Humanities Initiative was awarded a grant by the Digital Ethnic Futures Consortium to build capacity across the CSU at the intersection of Digital Humanities and Ethnic Studies. The DH@CSU consortium includes 13 CSU campuses and, as Digital Humanities Librarian Pamella Lach noted, allows consortium leaders “to advocate for systemwide infrastructure to support and advance Digital Humanities and Digital Ethnic Studies,” including through the design and delivery of courses such as SDSU’s AFRAS 421: Black Urban Experience. The SDSU Digital Humanities Center has emerged in recent years as a national leader in teaching podcasting as a research method and as a medium for disseminating and engaging the public in humanities research, and this grant has helped to establish a foundation for similar leadership in the development of regional and national networks of scholars and students pursuing Digital Ethnic Studies.


[6] New “Solutions” for Affordable Learning

The University Library has collaborated since 2016 with campus partners including the Division of Information Technology, Center for Teaching and Learning, and SDSU Bookstore to provide students with access to textbooks and other learning materials at low or no cost as part of the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions initiative. 2023 was the first full year of a new partnership between the Library and the Bookstore to support “equitable access” to materials required for SDSU courses. By working together to acquire digital access to required course materials through the library, Scholarly Communications and Open Initiatives Librarian Kate Holvoet and her colleagues helped to save SDSU students close to $2,000,000 since Fall 2022 by providing them with 24/7 access to e-books; of that amount, more than $250,000 in student savings was made possible thanks to Equitable Access program fees made available by the bookstore to the library for e-book purchases. Few CSU campuses have achieved the direct impact on educational affordability through Affordable Learning Solutions that SDSU thanks to the successful collaboration by campus partners, and we look forward to seeing the direct benefit to students continue to increase in 2024.

[5] IDW Founders Collections Strengthens Comics Studies Program

IDW collection
2023 saw an extraordinary addition to SDSU’s world-class Comics and Graphic Arts Collection with the acquisition of the IDW Founders Collection, representing “[every] issue, every title, [from] every year,” during which IDW co-founders Ted Adams and Robbie Robbins led the award-winning publisher of comics, books, games, and more. The acquisition of the IDW Founders Collection, currently being processed for use through Special Collections and University Archives, represents part of the Library’s ongoing leadership, alongside the College of Arts and Letters, of the SDSU Center for Comics Studies. With continuing support for the Center from funders including the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and with library collections forming the foundation for the innovative work of SDSU students and faculty in this area, acquisitions such as the IDW Founders Collection are essential to the library role in supporting and enhancing the university’s distinctive academic programs. 


[4] Digital Collections Spur International Engagement with Mexican Libraries and Archives

digital collection postcard
With support from SDSU’s Aztec Identity Initiative and UCLA’s Modern Endangered Archives Program, the University Library has launched a new digital collections initiative in partnership with the SDSU Center for Regional Sustainability and community partners such as the Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura (Tijuana) and the Biblioteca de Investigación Juan de Córdova (Oaxaca). Representing our strategic commitments to building more diverse library collections and to contributing to the university’s distinctive character as a research university supporting transborder studies as well as international partnerships, these initial efforts demonstrate the potential for ongoing collaboration with libraries, archives, and museums in Mexico in 2024 (and beyond). 


[3] SDSU Student Read-Out for Banned Books Week

Banned book readout
Associated Students Vice President of University Affairs Ally Gallant shares The Kite Runner during the SDSU Student Banned Book Readout
2023 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of attempts to ban or substantially limit access to books in America’s libraries and schools and the University Library provided leadership at the local and state levels to protect “the freedom to learn, teach, and create new knowledge” as an essential feature of an SDSU education. During Banned Books Week 2023, the Library collaborated with Associated Students to hold a very successful “read-out” of books that have been banned in one of more libraries and also collaborated with its partners in the San Diego Circuit to support the proclamation of “Freedom to Read Day” in San Diego on October 2nd.


[2] Strategic Collaboration Grows Among San Diego Libraries

Over the past 25 years, the SDSU Library has collaborated with academic and public libraries throughout San Diego County on several initiatives, including resource sharing, disaster planning, and community-facing programs such as One Book, One San Diego. Over the past year, we have taken that tradition of collaboration to a new level with the development of shared research, instruction, and public programs focused on information issues including health misinformation, climate change, and sustainability. The San Diego Health Information Partnership, in particular, developed a highly successful series of programs around health information literacy, health misinformation, and building a network of health information providers in academic, public, and medical libraries. Look for this program to continue to expand into new areas of community-centered information concerns in 2024.

[1] Library Strategic Plan Launched

Library strategic plan cover
2023 was the first full year that the University Library pursued efforts associated with its new strategic plan, including expanding research services and collections, strengthening the design and delivery of library services supporting the SDSU Global Strategic Plan, and enhancing library collections and spaces to promote a more welcoming and inclusive environment as part of the Library Diversity Plan. Our strategic plan is designed to mirror the SDSU plan and to highlight opportunities for the library to make a distinctive contribution to the larger goals of the university and we have already seen this approach bearing fruit with new opportunities for collaboration with academic units, student affairs programs, and our colleagues in the Division of Research and Innovation. Several of the highlights included in this year’s “Top 10” reflect the goals and initiatives identified in our strategic plan and we look forward to more of the same in 2024!

Thank you for being part of the San Diego State University Library community in 2023! If you would like to know more about any of the stories above, please contact your liaison librarian. We look forward to working with you to write new stories in 2024!

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