Vanguard of Information

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The Eugenio María de Hostos Community College Library, one of three winners of the 2007 Association of College and Research Libraries' Excellence in Academic Libraries Award, is a visible and critical partner in the college's teaching and learning mission. Receiving the award in the community college category, the Hostos Library demonstrates excellence in a wide range of areas, including creativity and innovation in meeting the needs of its academic community; leadership in creating and implementing exemplary programs; and developing substantial and productive relationships with classroom faculty and students.

Located just blocks from Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx, Hostos Community College is part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest urban university. Founded on the work and contributions of Eugenio María de Hostos, a Puerto Rican educator, writer, and patriot who dedicated his life to education and justice, the mission of the college is to provide educational opportunities for first and second generation Hispanics, African Americans, and other residents of New York City who have encountered significant barriers to higher education. The College takes pride in its historical role in educating students from diverse ethnic, racial, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds and is nationally known for its bilingual approach to education, allowing Spanish-dominant students to begin courses in their native language while learning English.

The vision of the Hostos Library is that of a centralized empowerment zone focused on a student-centered, active learning environment. Over the spring and summer of 2007 the library worked with facilities and architectural planners to re-design the reference area into an Information Learning Commons (ILC). The new space accommodates twice as many workstations, more group study areas, comfortable seating, and two assistive technology workstations. The ILC makes digital library resources, learning software, technology, and tutoring support more available to students, enabling them to conduct research, obtain reference and tutorial assistance, write papers, create PowerPoint presentations, tabulate data, design web pages, and collaborate in small groups on multimedia projects. The library’s goal was to create an environment that better supports student learning and addresses student research and technology needs at point of use—and it is proving to be wildly successful with students.

In addition to providing exemplary services and resources for students, the library has claimed its role as a research and community resource for information by and about Eugenio María de Hostos. By establishing a unique collection for research and study on Hostos, they strive to provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and the surrounding communities from the Bronx and all of New York City to explore the rich threads that are brought together in the life experience and works of this extraordinary man.

The library’s mission statement articulates its vision well, declaring that no student should graduate from Hostos without understanding the ethical, legal, and socio-political issues surrounding information and knowledge and how it is produced. As vanguards of information, the library faculty supports an environment of free and critical thought to realize the goals of a bilingual, metropolitan, and multicultural community college.