Our Mission

Our mission is to empower and enrich the diverse university community and region by offering dynamic spaces, innovative services, curated collections, and cutting-edge technologies, all aimed at fostering scholarly, artistic, and career success.



Dean's Welcome

Dear Northern Illinois University Community,

As Dean it is a privilege to welcome you to the outstanding collections, people and services which make up the NIU University Libraries. Whether you are a newly arrived student, a senior member of the faculty, or a visitor from outside the University, we want to be your partner in the discovery and creation of knowledge.  

The Founders Memorial Library includes more than 310,000 square feet of collections, services and spaces dedicated to your success! Also on campus, the Faraday Library serves faculty and students in chemistry and physics while the Music Library supports the music department’s curriculum and performances. In total, our physical collections include more than 2.3 million volumes of books and journals, while our online and digital collections also include e-books, online journals, streaming video, databases and “the Huskie Commons,” NIU’s open access institutional repository. Our Library faculty include subject specialists who, in addition to teaching research methods,  serve as resources for all levels of research, from your first research paper to your dissertation. The Founders Library is also home to a curated collection of student, faculty, and purchased art, making it not only a research destination but also a cultural destination.

Located at the center of campus, the NIU Libraries also include several distinctive collections including:

  • the Donn V. Hart Southeast Asia Collection, with more than 100,000 books and objects of art
  • the Rare Books and Special Collections, with its extensive science fiction and fantasy literature
  • the Regional History Center & Archives, which includes the University Archives
  • unique digital collections, such as Civil War era newspapers, Lincoln materials, and 19th century pop culture from the Johannsen & LeBlanc collection.

In addition to our committed faculty and staff, the Libraries frequently partner with other departments to provide services such as the Digital Convergence Lab, the Writing Center, the Peer Assisted Learning Center, a Technology Service Desk, and of course, the popular Founders Café.

Whatever your information needs, we welcome you to the Huskie family and look forward to assisting you!


Fred D. Barnhart
Dean, NIU Libraries



University Libraries' Commitment to Diversity and Anti-Racism

University Libraries recognizes and affirms the essential dignity of all people by honoring and celebrating diversity, fostering inclusion, and actively working toward equity and social justice for students, faculty, staff, and members of our broader community. We support Northern Illinois University's (NIU) commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging[1] and endorse the American Library Association's core value of "[s]ocial responsibility and the public good."[2]

University Libraries strives to build an anti-racist organization which acknowledges that libraries have engaged in the oppression of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as other traditionally marginalized populations, and endeavors to dismantle broader systems of privilege and structures that uphold white supremacy in order to "co-create a community where all voices are heard, valued and respected."[3]

Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion cannot simply be articulated in a statement; it must be demonstrated in an institution’s policies, practices, and culture.

University Libraries commits to actively work on dismantling oppressive systems. What follows is an accounting of work completed or in progress:

  • Maintaining the Libraries' Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (LDEI) Committee
    • Progress: Committee started in 2020, currently running with membership from across the libraries. In 2023, it was renamed Libraries' Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (LEDI) Committee to emphasize our ongoing commitment to equity. 
    • Implemented a rotating co-chair position in 2023 to foster shared power. 
  • Recruiting and hiring marginalized faculty and staff  
    • Progress: A diversity statement for inclusion in job postings was presented to library administration in summer of 2023. The committee is completing a readiness assessment to address issues that impact hiring and retention of marginalized faculty and staff. 
  • Reviewing library policies through the lens of oppression  
    • Progress: Building and use policies were reviewed by a special task force in 2021 and were presented to library administration in January 2022. Administration has begun the process of implementing the resulting recommendations, including policy changes. While the work of the policy review is complete, the policy updates are in progress. 
  • Educating our faculty and staff regularly on DEI topics  
    • Progress: LDEI hosted two workshops in 2021 facilitated by ADEI and plans to continue with similar professional development in 2023-2024. 
  • Maintaining and growing collections by BIPOC authors and authors from other traditionally marginalized groups.  
    • Progress: In 2021 the library is engaged in a pilot diversity audit and used a DEI weeding pass for certain areas of the VHS collections.  
    • In 2022-2023, collection funds were awarded to library faculty and staff and were used to diversify particular collections including: children’s books, the student success collection, Asian poetry, and more. 
    • A rubric that includes marginalized groups as priority factors was added to the Libraries' digital collection development policy. 
  • Creating an inclusive environment through programming, exhibits, and inclusive marketing  
    • Progress: In 2021, the library hosted cultural programming by hosting the Mexican folk musical group Sones de México. 
    • In 2023, the library has continued to curate exhibits and displays that celebrate diversity including, but not limited to, displays for Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, African American History Month, Women's History Month, Pride Month, and National Disability Independence Day. 
  • Soliciting and responding to feedback from students, staff, faculty, and the community about issues related to DEI  


[1] FY 2022 University Goals https://www.niu.edu/president/_pdf/fy22-university-goals.pdf 

[2] American Library Association Strategic Direction https://www.ala.org/aboutala/sites/ala.org.aboutala/files/content/governance/StrategicPlan/Strategic%20Directions%202017_Update.pdf

[3] "Goal 4," AY 2021-22 (FY22) University Goals


Contact Us

Library Information
Founders Memorial Library
217 Normal Rd
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828
2024 LEAD award logo
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