Ithaka S+R is conducting a study on the relationship between academic libraries and campus museums, looking specifically at how they are governed and structured. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are in the process of inviting forty universities to participate, and over the Fall will interview the directors of both their museum and library in order to learn more about how these campus units operate in relation to the university and to one another.  

We are looking to include a diverse group of organizations in this study, comprising museums and libraries of different sizes from both public and private universities. To approximate the size of the organization we are relying on the budget and the total number of students. Through the interviews, we hope to learn about differences in funding structures and budget allocation, faculty status of staff, reporting relationships, approaches to serving constituencies, and techniques for measuring impact. We are especially interested in uncovering whether these units have found opportunities to collaborate. Are there examples of past successes? What are the primary barriers to collaboration? What can other institutions learn from the results of their peers’ experiments? 

We are grateful to the excellent group of advisors guiding this work: 

  • Sharon Corwin – Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby College Museum of Art and Chief Curator, Colby College Museum 
  • Trevor Dawes – Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian, University of Delaware 
  • Gretchen Dietrich – Executive Director, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah
  • Charles Eckman – Dean and University Librarian, University of Miami
  • Tracy Fitzpatrick – Director, Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase
  • Susan Gibbons – Stephen F. Gates ’68 University Librarian, Deputy Provost, Collections & Scholarly Communication Yale University
  • Loretta Parham – CEO & Director, Atlantic University Center Woodruff Library
  • Saralyn Reece – Marilyn Stokstad Director, Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas University

We expect to publish our findings in 2020 and hope that this work enables these collecting and educational organizations to find new ways to work together.