No. 300,000: Belk Library reaches milestone

Belk Library celebrated a milestone this month with the purchase of the university’s 300,000th volume, “Earth From Above,” a limited edition book that captures in dozens of colorful, detailed photos the different cultures and landscapes found around the globe.

The book by Yann Arthus-Bertrand will be available for the campus community to sign April 14 during College Coffee. “We think of it as a community effort, not only by the library staff, but from the university with all its support,” said Kate Hickey, dean and university librarian.

Left to right: Kate Hickey, Shaunta Alvarez, Randall Bowman, Jennifer Smith, and Judith Garcia served on a committee that selected three finalists for consideration as the 300,000th volume purchased by Belk Library.

The university typically purchases between 10,000 and 15,000 volumes each year, Hickey said, not counting audio books or DVDs. Administrators had been planning for the 300,000th volume for some time.

Library staff members voted on what book would mark the occasion. A committee winnowed the list to three finalists from which “Earth From Above” was selected. The university bought the autographed volume off

Two other books of photography, including a National Geographic volume, were among the other choices put to a vote. “Earth From Above” will be on display in the Belk Library Archives and Special Collections room on the second floor of the building.

“Since Elon talks so much about the importance of global studies, we felt it was a good idea to find something related to global issues,” said Randall Bowman, a reference librarian who was on the selection committee.

An open invitation to sign the book comes during National Library Week. “Worlds connect @ your library” serves as the theme for the April 12-18, 2009, weeklong celebration.

Elon students and employees are encouraged to visit the library and win a book of their choice simply by entering their name in a drawing. Two winners are selected each day, and at the end of the week, a grand prize drawing will be held, with the winner receiving a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble.

National Library Workers Day, a time to celebrate and show appreciation for people who work in libraries, takes place April 14 as well.

Members of the book selection committee included the following staff members:

Shaunta Alvarez
Randall Bowman
Judith Garcia
Kate Hickey
Jennifer Smith


Shaunta Alvarez stands with “Earth From Above,” which will be available for the Elon University community to sign at College Coffee on April 14.