Skip to Main Content

History and Mission

History, mission, and other information about Alfred University Libraries. Includes information about the Herrick Memorial Library and the Samuel R. Scholes Library of Ceramics.

Mission and Vision

The Alfred University Libraries will be dynamic partners in advancing the University's teaching and research mission, providing the University community with the services, resources and facilities needed to support intellectual exploration and expansion of knowledge. The libraries will develop students' ability to use information critically, ethically and effectively in order to apply those skills for independent investigation and learning throughout their lives.

Strategic Plan

Alfred University's Promise: Helping students realize their purpose.

Alfred University Strategic Plan

How the Alfred University Libraries support the University-Wide Plan:

  1. Intersections: We will embrace our role as a transformational campus intersection by developing creative collaborations that extend across campus and beyond.
  2. Mentorship: We will contribute to lifelong student success and growth by empowering students, meeting each individual where they are, and equipping them to dynamically impact our world.
  3. Inclusion: We will embody our Commitment to Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression by taking action to demonstrate this commitment and expanding it to be more broadly inclusive to other marginalized identities. 


Two Library Buildings

The Alfred University Libraries include the two buildings, Herrick Memorial Library and the Samuel R. Scholes Library of Ceramics. Herrick Library supports undergraduate academic programs in the liberal art sand sciences, business, and performing arts, as well as graduate programs in college student development, literacy, school counseling, and mental health counseling. Scholes Library, whose collection focuses on art and engineering, supports the New York State College of Ceramics.

Campus Map:

Land Acknowledgment

Alfred University consciously and intentionally recognizes, acknowledges and honors that it sits on the traditional and ancestral lands of the Onöndowa’ga:’ or “Great Hill People.” With a proud and rich history, the Seneca Nation of Indians, also known as the Keeper of the Western Door, are the largest and westernmost of the Six Nations that constitute the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Nations, a democratic government that pre-dates the United States Constitution.

This territory is covered by The Dish with One Spoon Treaty of Peace and Friendship, a pledge to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. It is also covered by the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua, between the United States Government and the Six Nations Confederacy, which affirmed the rights and sovereignty of both the United States and the Haudenosaunee.

Today, Alfred NY, Allegany County and New York State at-large are still home to Seneca people who continue to assert their tribal sovereignty. They act as caretakers and stewards of this land while actively maintaining their culture, ceremonies and languages on this territory. By offering this land acknowledgement we reaffirm our commitment to working to hold Alfred University more accountable to the needs of the Seneca and of other First Nations peoples. We acknowledge our gratitude for the opportunity to work for and with First Nations people in this place, as we pay our respects to our Seneca Nation relatives on their lands.

Commitment to Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression

Alfred University Libraries stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and global movements responding to the systemic racism and anti-Black violence that recently claimed the lives of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and innumerable others. We recognize that this movement is intersectional and essential to dismantling oppression. We appreciate and endorse the statements of Alfred University and the American Library Association, which show support for all marginalized communities, especially the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community.

Affirming that Black Lives Matter engages with our Libraries’ value of supporting “intellectual and cultural diversity” and recommits us to the strategic goals of recruiting and retaining “a diverse and talented staff” and to developing “library programming that makes the libraries a center for intellectual discussion.” We recognize, however, that this is not enough.

The Libraries acknowledge that an ongoing history of oppression occurs not just in areas such as policing, housing, employment, and healthcare, but also in library services, where there are many examples of libraries being complacent or complicit in the oppression  of BIPOC. Alfred University Libraries do not claim immunity from complicity in this history of systemic racism.

Current events show us that unvoiced support for marginalized communities is only slightly better than no support at all, so we are actively adding our voice. However, this is only the first step. We also commit to “walking the walk” in order to create a more equitable, inclusive, and empowering environment, and a more just society. As a start, we will take the following concrete steps:

Creating a more inclusive environment:

  • Solicit feedback from students on “What would make you feel more welcome and/or comfortable in the Alfred University Libraries?” Partner with the Institute for Cultural Unity to ensure students from marginalized groups are aware that we are asking for their feedback.
  • Require all library personnel to participate in implicit bias and bystander intervention training (see Appendix).
  • Strongly encourage library personnel to participate in Psychological First-Aid (PFA) and Safe Zone training (see Appendix).
  • Evaluate the library search and hiring process to reduce bias and increase equity and to incorporate best-practices.
  • Integrate anti-racist and/or anti-oppression values and language into the AU Libraries Mission, Vision, and Values.

Creating more inclusive collections: 

  • Actively add the work of BIPOC scholars to library collections.
  • Add resources to support anti-oppression research and work to library collections.
  • Solicit suggestions from students on collecting library materials by and/or about BIPOC.
  • Whenever possible, ensure that library displays include works by marginalized creators/authors.
  • Expand collaboration with student groups for library displays and events.

Educating ourselves:

  • Begin a discussion group for library personnel focusing on works from a list of anti-racist resources or a list of anti-oppression readings focused on libraries and librarianship (see Appendix).
  • Create a resource guide focused on anti-oppression (see Appendix).

We commit to regularly evaluating our progress and continuing to build on this statement and commitment. We welcome input from our patrons and our community on additional steps we can take as we work toward improving ourselves as professionals and as the Alfred University Libraries.

August 2020
October 2021 Update
November 2022 Update

AppendixExample Trainings and Resources

To guide the implementation of the actionable steps in our commitment, Alfred University Libraries recommend these examples and resources to be used as appropriate.