Syracuse Blackstone LaunchPad wins first prize at Fast Pitch Competition


A new program at Syracuse University’s Bird Library won first prize at the Charleston Conference Library Fast Pitch Competition on November 4.  The national Innovation Award competition is for compelling ideas in academic library and information management.

Syracuse University Libraries pitched a new entrepreneurial resource collection developed by library staff, working with the Blackstone LaunchPad, an entrepreneurial resource center located in Bird Library.  The LaunchPad provides support for faculty, staff, students and alumni in areas related to startups, innovation and entrepreneurship.  It is one of the first in the country located in a library.  Supported by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, it is part of a network of 20 global LaunchPads at major universities across the United States and the United Kingdom.

A committee of professional judges selected “Final Four” contestants from a national field of applicants.  They pitched on the Charleston conference mainstage, with Syracuse University winning first prize. Scott Warren, Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship at Syracuse University Libraries, pitched.  Warren oversees collections and subject librarian services, and recently participated in the 2016-2017 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Leadership Fellows Program.

Warren developed the Fast Pitch proposal with Blackstone LaunchPad executive director Linda Dickerson Hartsock, as well as Syracuse University’s business, management and entrepreneurship librarian Stephanie McReynolds, and senior library staff.  The LaunchPad worked with Syracuse University faculty across many academic program areas to crowdsource a book collection that encompasses multi-disciplinary topics related to ideation, creativity, principles of entrepreneurship, design thinking and more.  It is a unique collection, beyond typical volumes typically found in a business school collection.  Making it more unique is that faculty across so many academic program areas participated in the curation process, providing stewardship and engagement with the project.

The new book collection will be installed in “book nodes” adjacent to the LaunchPad in Bird Library.  Library staff worked on the acquisition, cataloging and other service aspects associated with this unique physical collection.  Usage metrics will be tracked, and tied to LaunchPad metrics, providing data analysis of how it is augmenting a new service point in Bird Library. The collection has already been adopted as a suggested reading list by faculty teaching entrepreneurship and related subjects.  LaunchPad students are planning to start a book club around the collection, to continue the interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Charleston Conference is an annual international gathering of librarians, publishers, electronic resource managers, consultants, and vendors of library materials in Charleston, SC each November.

The 2016 Theme is “Roll with the Times, or the Times Roll Over You.”  The conference, which focuses on serial and book acquisition, began in 1980, and has grown from to more than 1,600 attendees annually.