VCU elected 125th member of Association of Research Libraries

October 12, 2017

At its Fall 2017 Association Meeting held October 3–4 in Washington, DC, the membership of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) voted to invite Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Libraries to join as the 125th member, effective January 1, 2018. John E. Ulmschneider, university librarian, accepted the invitation.

“We are delighted by this invitation to membership by ARL and its recognition of our work as a major research library system,” said Ulmschneider. “VCU Libraries looks forward to helping create the future of research libraries and research librarianship in partnership with ARL and its members. We welcome the professional growth opportunities offered by ARL membership to the talented library faculty and staff who have brought the VCU Libraries to this point. We have much to learn from the ARL community and I am confident we also have much to contribute to the work of ARL.”

VCU president, Michael Rao, stated, “Membership in the Association of Research Libraries is an immense honor and advances VCU’s mission as a major urban research university. We look forward to joining with this distinguished community of research libraries from across the US and Canada.”

VCU Provost Gail Hacket lauded the ARL decision, noting  "We are proud of VCU Libraries and its commitment to the engagement of our faculty, staff, students and the greater community in innovative teaching, learning and research. This membership is a testament to the great work of our library community toward our institutional mission of excellence."

The vote to approve VCU’s membership followed a review of the university library that considered both qualitative and quantitative documentation and a site visit. The rigorous review process included an examination of the breadth and depth of collections, uniqueness of research resources, services to the library’s community, potential contributions to scholarship, and leadership in the library and information science profession. The review committee noted in particular the sustained growth of the institution and its support for the library.

ARL membership represents a significant milestone in the emergence of Virginia Commonwealth University as one of the country’s leading research institutions, explains Ulmschneider.

“The rigorous membership process establishes VCU’s libraries as among the best in the nation, a distinction shared with only 114 major research universities in the U.S. and Canada.  We are proud to join the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech as the state’s only ARL members, a recognition that distinguishes VCU as one of the Commonwealth’s strongest and most accomplished research universities.”

“The Association of Research Libraries welcomes Virginia Commonwealth University as the 125th member of ARL,” said Mary Ann Mavrinac, president of ARL and vice provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly dean of the University of Rochester Libraries. “The Association looks forward to collaboratively shaping the future of the research enterprise with VCU Libraries.”  


About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at

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