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Alberto Santiago Martinez



This Chapter presents a case study of the library renovation and expansion project implemented at The Daniel Cosio Villegas library at El Colegio de México in Mexico City.  El Colegio de Mexico is a small institution in the south of Mexico City that is primarily a focused on the Social Sciences and Humanities at the graduate level.  The Daniel Cosío Villegas Library is one of the largest and notable Latin American collections in social sciences and humanities in the world.  Occupying 30% of the entire campus, the is library has always been given priority on in the decision-making on campus.  As such, the library took on the task of creating a project that would allow it to continue to be a cornerstone on campus and nationally.  The renovation & expansion of the library is a federally financed and collaborative enterprise whose aim is to provide Mexican libraries with a relevant 21st century model that will spearhead future projects across the country.  Given the research-intensive environment at El Colegio de México, the team which was entrusted with the project determined that the pairing of traditional services along with digital scholarship & digital humanities services will provide the academic community on campus with strategic and relevant library solutions so that they may continue to carry out the innovative research that has characterized our institution since its inception.   Also, the implementation of new digital tools and services will allow the library to continue with its mission to disseminate the community’s academic production into the future.  The reorganization of the library involved a process of organizational introspection  regarding previously held view of what a library is.  The end result is the creation of a plan that outlines a new organizational model, new hiring practices, workflows, the creation of a new cyberinfrastructure, evaluation of our services, and new library spaces.



The Daniel Cosío Villegas Library at El Colegio de Mexico has undertaken a project whereby it seeks reformulate itself in a holistic manner so that it support

digital scholarship on Campus.  The Campus itself is a small research institute that has an almost 1:1 ratio of students to professors and is focused on social sciences that humanities mainly at the graduate level.  Due to the level of notoriety that the professors have internationally, the library has always had to stay abreast of new developments and provide a high-level of support to its faculty in terms of services, and collection development.  For the this reason the Library now houses one of the most notable collections in Latin American Social Sciences and Humanities and is considered to be at the forefront of library processes and services in Latin America. 


Recently, the library has taken on a renovation and expansion project.  The project is funded nationally, and has the intent of setting a new model for Mexican libraries in the 21st century.  Given that library faculty participated with colleagues on a national level to create the Digital Humanities Network (Red HD) in Mexico, we had the privilege of gaining insight regarding trends in libraries globally such as Digital Humanities centers and which helped us through this process. 

In order to define the characteristics of this new library, we first began to identify and study innovative projects on an international level.  We also set out to

projects and research that that faculty was conducting on campus.  We became aware of digital humanities centers and innovation labs in various campuses.  We felt that given the size of our population and the strict focus on digital humanities and social sciences, we could apply this model holistically to the entire library services to create a natural workflow that paired digital scholarship with traditional library services.  We also are analyzing our current organizational model and hiring practices  in order to create a one that could support these new types of services.   One of the most significant changes in our hiring practices is seeking out personnel from other information science branches outside of librarianship as faculty.  This then led us to specify the types of hardware and software and finally the definition of the new library spaces.  The end result of this endeavor will be the creation of a new space that provides GIS support, a digitization laboratory, multimedia room, collaborative maker-spaces, as well as the creation of new digital services and collections.  In essence, we hope that these first few steps will lead us to make the library space as a whole a sort of digital scholarship lab rather than creating an individual unit.  This will be the first such library in Mexico and will surely undertake a series of modifications in strategy.  In experimenting with this new endeavor, we  hope to be able to formulate a model that other libraries can adopt.


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