?Illuminating a Treasure?: Marian Library earns ALA accolade

Illuminating a Treasure: The Marian Library at the University of Dayton won the association’s top honor for advocacy and fundraising materials in the association’s PR Xchange awards competition.

“These awards are very competitive,” said Katy Kelly, associate professor and communications and outreach librarian in the University Libraries. “The competition attracted 391 submissions, so it’s a great honor.”

Kelly, who managed the project, will accept the award during the ALA annual conference and exhibition in Chicago June 25.

“This was not an easy task,” said writer Maureen Schlangen, e-scholarship and communications manager in the University Libraries. “An image piece runs a little contrary to the culture of humility and simplicity in the Marian Library and in the Marianist family in general. When you visit the Marian Library, no one there will boast outright about it being the best Marian collection in existence outside the Vatican. But their patrons will boast. So if you look closely, all of the quotations in this piece are from the researchers and students who use the library.”

Equally challenging was the task of choosing the images that would best display the library’s diverse collections.

“Devotion to Mary varies so widely from one culture to the next, and it’s all beautiful in its own way,” said Marian Library graphic designer and website manager Ann Zlotnik. “With this piece, we tried to showcase the breadth and depth of our materials and expertise — scholarship, history, works of art, liturgy, sacramental items, ephemera — and the many ways people use it.”

The object of the piece was partly to call attention to the quality of the expertise and collections, but also to introduce a vision for the future and to invite input and involvement, said Kathleen Webb, dean of the University Libraries.

“We believe the time has come to illuminate this important educational, devotional and artistic asset and to give it a space befitting its noble purpose,” the piece says. “Our vision is to provide the Marian Library and International Marian Research Institute with a fitting space that will not just preserve fragile and rare texts and objects, but also facilitate browsing, research, dialogue, exhibition, instruction and reflection. Such a space would celebrate the Blessed Mother’s place in our cultural and religious history … and future.”


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