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AUA’s AGBU Papazian Library: 20 Years of Global Connection

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YEREVAN, ArmeniaThe AUA AGBU Papazian Library has the largest collection of English language books in the region, yet its impact and contributions to academia extend beyond AUA. The librarians at the AUA, Satenik Avakian, Tatevik Zargaryan, Hasmik Galstyan, and Araz Margossian (to name a few) work tirelessly to grow and modernize library services for faculty and students from AUA and across the country, thereby promoting learning and advancing education and research. Their collective efforts have contributed to the growth and evolution of the programs AUA offers. In that regard, the library has the lead responsibility for acquiring, housing, organizing, and logging books, while also considering suggestions from faculty and students regarding new acquisitions and services that would further enhance the AUA experience. 

To that end, the Library researches, identifies, and implements new technology, adopts new approaches, and embraces best practices to continuously support faculty and students in their endeavors. Case in point, next month, Araz Margossian will travel to Morocco to Al Akhawayn University to participate in the 20th conference of AMICAL (American International Consortium of Academic Libraries). At these meetings, Araz is set to network with other librarians attending the conference particularly elaborating on AUA’s growing oral history program, its endeavors and successes. 

Through a special partnership with the Zoryan Insitiute, AUA currently houses a part of the largest collection of interviews with Armenian Genocide survivors. Moreover, the Library also supports and preserves additional oral history created by students and other researchers. Attending such annual conferences affords yet another channel for AUA librarians to learn new best practices and technology that will help further streamline AUA Library services, as it would for other American University libraries. 

The AMICAL consortium is a membership of 30 American Universities from Europe, Middle-East, Asia, and Africa. Over the past 20 years the consortium has boosted the growth of member universities through various means of collaboration. By organizing the conference and creating an exclusive space for librarians to congregate and share ideas, and introduce new education enhancing software interfaces. Programs like Moodle, a learning management system that helps instructors to create course content and promote use of the platform as a portal for students to interact with their instructors and peers, as well as access OCLC (acronym derived from the founding Ohio College Library Center), the library cataloging portal that AUA uses. These are a few among the many tools that the AUA AGBU Papazian Library has introduced to facilitate student learning and sustain research efforts. 

AUA librarians are dedicated to supporting students by providing users with the tools they would need to maximize learning. Hence, they strive to stay up to date with the changing global educational trends and learn new technologies that support learning. Success in this domain, particularly within the context of AI (artificial intelligence), requires constant pursuit, timely modernization and adoption of  new technologies. The AUA librarians are able to realize such overarching objectives as a result of their active and sustained involvement with dozens of other American Universities that collaborate through AMICAL. 

Beyond embracing new technologies and best practices, the Library also conducts information literacy sessions. Through the AMICAL consortium librarians inform one another on various topics or issues, such as recognizing fake news, tracking the origin of cited sources and validating that they are reputable, reliable, and not misrepresented or plagiarized. By encouraging students to always seek the truth, the Library partners with faculty in educating students that peer reviewed, academic journals, and other reputable sources are more dependable in terms of containing factual information as opposed to what is found on the internet. 

This year marks the 20th year of AUA’s continued partnership with AMICAL and 20 years of collaboration with 30 other American University libraries — partnerships that have greatly benefited AUA. Since becoming a member of AMICAL, the AUA library has continuously grown drawing from the wealth of expertise available through other American University libraries and, in turn, AUA librarians have actively contributed their own expertise to the consortium. As the Library stays on this trajectory of development, it will continue to be a major player in education, not just for  AUA, but also for other universities around the world. 

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.