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The Northwestern Libraries are comprised of the following organizational units. Learn about the services each one provides and find contact information below.

Academic Engagement

Academic Engagement connects the Libraries with our user communities to advance research, teaching, and learning at Northwestern. Our key functions include:
  • Leading the Libraries liaison program, a large team of subject, technical and collection specialists who interface with the campus.
  • Coordinating programs for students and faculty, including orientations, to connect them with the Libraries services, resources and expertise.
  • Creating programs with campus support units and services to strengthen student success.
  • Managing the Information Commons, a centralized point of service for research support, technology, and collaboration.

Contact Academic Engagement

Acquisitions and Metadata Services

Acquisitions and Metadata Services handles the establishment of library collections and creates, maintains, and shares metadata for library resources. This includes:

  • Acquiring and licensing the collections materials selected by the library subject specialists
  • Receiving, checking-in, claiming, and paying for library collections materials
  • Establishing and maintaining seamless access to online content
  • Initiating and fulfilling requests for collection analysis and assessment
  • Acquiring, creating, maintaining, and sharing metadata for library resources
  • Serving as a leader in cataloging, metadata, and library platform communities
  • Contributing to the development and implementation of metadata systems and standards at the national and international levels.

Contact Acquisitions and Metadata Services

Access Services

The Access Services Department delivers resources to users, wherever they may be, whether the resources are from the University Libraries collections or from collections of other libraries. The action philosophy of the department is "Get it For Them" or GIFT.

Key services for Access Services:

  • Circulation 
  • Course reserve
  • Multimedia and microform 
  • Print collection retrieval and shelving
  • Resource sharing and interlibrary loan

Contact Access Services

Assessment & Planning

Mission and Primary Activities: To develop and facilitate collaborative library assessment initiatives, planning, and project management processes that demonstrate the library’s success in meeting strategic goals and supporting the University strategic plan.

  • Provide leadership to promote the integration of assessment into all aspects of library services and operations.
  • Create a library assessment plan that can measure the success of library initiatives and incorporate that knowledge into strategic planning.
  • Develop new assessment tools and processes, in consultation with library leaders, to enable data-driven strategic decisions.
  • Provide guidance and support for strategic and budget planning, business analysis, project management and internal data stewardship.
  • Develop and maintain a project management template bank and provide support for its use.
  • Create communities of practice around project management, assessment and data ownership stewardship.

Contact Assessment & Planning

Business Operations Support (BOS)

The Business Operations Support (BOS) team is comprised of business, facilities, receiving and security functions.

We are committed to delivering exceptional customer service and providing a safe, welcoming and well-maintained environment to the University Libraries students, faculty, staff, patrons, vendors and other University constituents.

Key department functions:

  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • Budget planning, forecasting, and monitoring
  • Building safety
  • Dock management
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Grant management
  • Mail services
  • Oak Grove Library Center intake, retrieval and management
  • Purchasing
  • Shipping and receiving
  • Travel
  • Welcome desk staffing and procedures

Contact Business Operations Support:

Digital Products and Data Curation

Digital Products and Data Curation provides digitization services and support to Northwestern faculty and graduate students. It partners with Library and University departments to provide these services and to undertake special digitization projects that bring Northwestern's unique and rare collections to researchers around the world.

The department is also responsible for the development and administration of the Library's digital repository.

Contact Digital Products and Data Curation

Digital Scholarship & Research Data Management

Mission: To collaborate with faculty and students to enhance the impact and reach of their academic work through data science, web development, and digital humanities. The group’s intent is the advancement of knowledge by using a range of digital tools and methods to conduct research, teaching, and learning.

Department’s responsibility:

Digital Scholarship has the expertise to integrate scholarly methodologies with technological skills. We work with faculty and students interested in utilizing mixed methods for their research; for example, AI/ML, geospatial, text analysis, data mining and other data science techniques to collaborate on research. Our intent is on faculty and student collaboration that leads to digital-first scholarly resources, publications and grant funding. We collaborate with all Northwestern affiliated schools, labs, or departments on either campus.

Contact Digital Scholarship & Research Data Management

Distinctive Collections and Research Services

The Distinctive Collections and Research Services Department organizes and provides a suite of services to the Northwestern community, including:

  • Providing information on materials accessibility
  • Assisting patrons with both general and specialized research, including customized services for different disciplines and interdisciplinary groups
  • Guidance on copyright in scholarly research, publishing and teaching
  • Engage students and scholars with distinctive collections, including the Transportation and African Studies collections

Contact Research Services

Instruction & Curriculum Support (ICS)

Instruction & Curriculum Support (ICS) provides strategic direction and continuing education support for the teaching and learning activities of the Northwestern University Libraries.

Contact Instruction & Curriculum Support:

IT Infrastructure

The IT Infrastructure Department provides and supports the technological needs of library staff and our patrons. In addition to installing and implementing new services and systems, it supports and maintains servers, systems, workstations and applications through their technology life cycle. Key services include: 

  • Desktop support for library staff and patrons, including printing and application support
  • Purchasing, tracking and licensing of software
  • Training of Library staff and managing the Library IT Help Desk
  • Server administration and maintenance of Linux and Windows boxes, including patching, security, backup building new systems
  • Collaborating with NUIT, including complying with University IT policies, as well as other Technology Units across campus

Contact IT Infrastructure

Marketing & Communication

Marketing & Communication handles outreach for the library to Northwestern and off-campus audiences, including Footnotes magazine, the library website, social media accounts and various print publications.


McCormick Library of Special Collections and University Archives

The McCormick Library comprises a constellation of special, archival and other curated collections that bring together original, rare, and unique materials in traditional and digital formats—among them printed texts, manuscripts, photographs, film, recordings, and images—with strong collections of supporting published materials in specific subject areas.

Contact the McCormick Library

Organizational Development

Organizational Development implements the Library's human resources policies and programs, including recruitment, training, staff development, compensation, employee relations and records management. The Organizational Development staff serve as the primary source for the Library Administration in planning personnel policies and procedures and as the liaison to the University's Department of Human Resources.

Contact Organizational Development


The Preservation Department preserves library collections in all formats, including books, archival materials, audio, film and digital collections. The department's In-house and vendor-based preservation services include shelf preparation, commercial binding, mass deacidification, microfilming and digitization.

The department includes a conservation lab with conservators and technicians who perform a broad range of conservation treatments. In-house conservation services are aimed at preserving both general and special collections as well as providing support for a dynamic program of exhibits and outreach.

Contact Preservation