The Fairfield University DiMenna-Nyselius Library celebrates the acquisition of its 500,000th book

Image: Library book commemorationThe Fairfield University DiMenna-Nyselius Library celebrated a significant achievement - the acquisition of its 500,000th book, a milestone that coincided with National Library Week.

Fairfield University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. joined librarians, students, faculty and staff in the library to mark the occasion. He noted that the DiMenna-Nyselius Library is akin to the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola in that they comprise "the symbolic hearts of the University."

Many people, including past and present librarians and faculty, contributed to the development of the library's vast collection over the 60-year history of Fairfield University. While the library continues to purchase print books, it has recently adopted a new model and has added access to 150,000 electronic books. This new model reflects students' desire for electronic access as well as a more cost effective approach to material selection by the library in these challenging financial times.

The 500,000th book was a print book: "Botanica Magnifica: Portraits of the World's Most Extraordinary Flowers & Plants," (Abbeville Press Publishers, 2009), with text by John Kress and Marc Hachadourian and photography by Jonathan M. Singer. Appropriately enough, it is somewhat of a hybrid of print and electronic books in that its stunning photos are high-resolution digital images, not generated from film.

Joan Overfield, director of library services, said that the growth of e-books in the DiMenna-Nyselius Library's catalogue continues to have multiple benefits. "Even though the library was built to hold 450,000 books, it has now easily surpassed that number thanks to the growth of e-book acquisitions... Ultimately, today is about celebrating the great number of resources we have on hand for students, faculty and staff," she said.

About 30 percent of the library's collection is now comprised of e-books, which speaks to a trend among academic libraries nationwide to offer more e-books. The DiMenna-Nyselius Library acquired its first e-book just five years ago. Interestingly, 20 years ago, the library had 219,000 books.

Holding e-books in its 'virtual' stacks also means the library is always open, so that when a student or faculty member is in need of a resource at 3 a.m., it can be remotely accessed. It also allows Fairfield study abroad students to go to the library, albeit online, from Beijing to Siena.

Image: Fairfield University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. celebrates the acquisition of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library's 500,000th book with students and librarians, including Joan Overfield, director of library services. Photo by Keith Stetson.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726,

Posted on April 19, 2010

Vol. 42, No. 273

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