VCU Libraries: 3 million volumes strong


At a nationally premier research university, having a nationally premier library matters. I could not be more proud of VCU Libraries and the legacy of learning they have inspired for more than a century.

VCU Libraries are profoundly important to our emergence as one of America’s most-respected urban public research universities. Earlier this academic year, they were recognized as a member of the prestigious Association of Research Libraries on the strength of an internationally acclaimed collection. Research collections like ours “are at the heart of the research library,” the ARL wrote.

The research collection is remarkable and diverse. It is also vast.

VCU Libraries’ holdings have grown by one-third in less than a decade and tripled in just 25 years.

Recently, VCU Libraries acquired their 3 millionth volume, a milestone in the library’s collections and holdings. Fittingly, the 3 millionth volume was a book co-authored by one of our own internationally renowned faculty members, David X. Cifu from the VCU School of Medicine. His groundbreaking text, Rehabilitation After Traumatic Brain Injury, is based on years of research and leading-edge practice in the treatment of brain injury.

David’s work is also part of a VCU Libraries Collection of Distinction focused on Traumatic Brain Injury. Collections of distinction are an effort by VCU Libraries to highlight crucial and unique materials that exemplify the mission of the university and its programs. Indeed, we are world class in our work around traumatic brain injury, as I highlighted in the State of the University address in January.

Supporting established or emerging areas of research, these collections of distinction have received additional funding from VCU Libraries to strengthen knowledge in each of the identified areas, with the goal of elevating them to national and international stature. Collections of distinction foster and enhance innovative teaching and research by faculty and students exploring the wealth of resources in the VCU Libraries.

On April 3, VCU Libraries will celebrate the milestone addition of its 3 millionth volume. Details of this celebration can be found here.

For VCU, libraries are much more than books and journals. As the Argentine writer Carlos Maria Dominguez said, “To build up a library is to create life. It’s never just a random collection of books.”

Indeed that has been true for us.

When we opened the enlarged and refurbished Cabell Library, it immediately became the hub of the educational experience on our Monroe Park Campus for both students and their faculty mentors. It has hosted special events and symposia, important meetings, art exhibits, book sales, and ’round-the-clock study and engagement sessions. The Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences is the centerpiece of the MCV Campus, showing our institutional history and opening gateways into the future of health care.

I could not be more proud of VCU Libraries and the ways they move our research university forward. All 3 million volumes strong.