Dinner in the Library 2015 Raises Record Amount to Support Evolving Library Needs

Posted On: November 10, 2015

On September 18, 2015, UC San Diego’s iconic Geisel Library was transformed into an elegant dining salon, amidst book collections and study spaces, for the more than 100 Library friends who gathered for the annual Library gala fundraiser to benefit the Library and hear Harvard Librarian Sarah Thomas. The event generated nearly $200,000, which will be used to support library collections and resources, services, and learning spaces.
Focused on the theme, “Building for the Future,” the event highlighted the many ways the Library is responding to the changing needs of UC San Diego’s world-class students. In his opening remarks, Chancellor Pradeep Khosla applauded the newly launched Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative (GLRI) a blueprint to transform and revitalize the interior public spaces of Geisel Library. The Initiative was launched in July 2015, as a result of a generous $3 million gift from Audrey Geisel, which will cover the costs of renovating the main (2nd floor) public spaces and entryway of Geisel Library. 
Dinner in the Library, now in its 12th year, included libations, a silent auction, an undergraduate student sharing his award winning research, and an exhibit of Special Collections’ materials from the Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages, in honor of Kenneth and Dorothy Hill.  Digitized materials from Mandeville Special Collections were also displayed on a computer monitor. The Hills, who were actively involved with the Library for many years, received—posthumously—the Geisel Citation for Library Philanthropy– for their stalwart and generous support of the Library. In 1974, the Hills, donated 500 rare volumes documenting Pacific exploration and discovery. These volumes served as the foundation for what has become one of the world’s finest collections of materials of its kind, The Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages. University Librarian Brian Schottlaender presented the citation to the Hill’s son, Johnathan Hill, who accepted on their behalf.

Joan and Irwin Jacobs with Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.

During dinner, guests heard from pioneering librarian, Sarah E. Thomas, Vice President for the Harvard Library, on how libraries are changing to meet evolving scholarly and public needs in new and often unexpected ways. Her talk, “Back to the Future with the Brave New Library,” included a discussion of her many efforts at Harvard and Oxford University, where she also served as head librarian, to introduce students and others to the Library’s riches and essential role in preserving knowledge. She recounted how in 2011, the Bodelian collaborated with Irwin and Joan Jacobs and Qualcomm to have the Library’s Magna Carta, one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy, tour the U.S.  She described the experience as “ …amazing, I think more people viewed and learned about the Magna Carta in a time span of just a few months than they have over the last eight centuries.”
While Thomas was not surprised by the increasing shift to use digital resources among students and faculty, she believes that there will always be something special about the “authentic, original item,” and is a proponent of active learning labs, hands-on field trips, and makerspaces.
“The more people can interact with and directly learn from materials, the more they will be able to appreciate and value them. If students are learning about 18th century navigation, they are going to understand life from that era better if they are exposed to the parchment paper that was used, and the quill pens that the Captain and his crew wrote with.”

The Audrey Geisel University Librarian Brian Schottlaender with featured speaker Sarah Thomas.

Thomas also discussed the steadily increasing volume of research that is now digital and must be properly stored and made accessible to other scholars, students, and the public. “Research data curation is an extremely important role for the academic library of today. We are preserving research and our cultural history but we are also accelerating the creation of new knowledge by playing this essential role.”
“We were thrilled to have Sarah Thomas with us to expound on the future of libraries in the digital age,” said University Librarian Brian Schottlaender. “Like many libraries across the nation—and around the globe—we see library facilities and resources being used just as much as in the past, but in different ways. It is critical that academic libraries like ours continue evolving and responding to meet the ever-changing needs of our students, scholars and researchers.
The reception preceding the Dinner included a silent auction, with the items up for bid ranging from a behind-the-scenes tour for eight of Birch Aquarium at the University’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, to San Diego Symphony tickets and a get-away trip to Palm Springs. The two big prize winners of the evening will be jetting off to our nation’s capital, where they will enjoy a private tour of the Smithsonian Libraries, Daughters of the American Revolution Library, and the Library of Congress.
Next year’s Dinner in the Library will be held on Friday, September 16, 2016.
Click here to view more photos from the 2015 event. Click here to watch Sarah Thomas’ talk, “Back to the Future with the Brave New Library,” which was recorded by UCTV for the Library Channel.

University Librarian’s Advisory Board (ULAB) members from left to right: Dr. Joel Dimsdale, Julianne Larsen, University Librarian Brian Schottlaender, Chair Karen Dow, Sabrina Martucci Johnson and Stanley Faer (Not pictured: John Berol, Dr. Stephen Stahl and Gordon Stanley)