Campaign for the 21st Century
The Campaign for the Twenty-First Century enabled the University Libraries to make great strides toward increasing and maintaining the collections and materials needed to support the research interests of world-class faculty and students. Perhaps even more importantly, the Campaign fostered an increased awareness of the Libraries’ needs with donors who understand that the University’s ability to educate Arkansas’ next generation is directly tied to a growing, technologically-advanced library system.
When the Campaign began, the resources held by the University Libraries lagged behind those of their peers. Holdings, particularly those supporting the graduate and honors programs, did not match the depth and scope of nationally competitive peer research universities. In addition, innovative changes in technology and information retrieval systems created an immediate and ongoing challenge, given the Libraries’ limited budget.
A key goal of the University Libraries is to build a more competitive library system. The Campaign's success, measured in private gift support and endowments, propelled the Libraries well on their way toward achieving that goal. The Libraries have acquired numerous books, new electronic resources, and an upgraded electronic and technical infrastructure. With the added funds from donors, the Libraries focused on increasing collections that support the Honors College and graduate and undergraduate programs across all fields and disciplines.
Private gift support has enabled the University Libraries to offer a more comprehensive program of visiting authors, as well as displays of art work by local and national artists. This program was designed to support the Libraries’ initiative to create an aesthetically pleasing environment conducive to the pursuit of intellectual study and cultural enrichment.
The Campaign also generated contributions to library endowments, both to general funds and to specific programs such as the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, and to collections acquisitions. It also fostered gift collections in almost every academic field and department. The Houston Nutt Annual Fund drive kicked off in 2004 to highlight a focus of the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century on the Libraries' needs. Of the 4,900 households who made a contribution to this effort, more than 87 percent were first-time donors to the Libraries, demonstrating the success of the campaign’s goal to increase awareness of library needs with donors.