September 28, 2017

Reading Room at new center named for retiring dean

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — President Mitch Daniels announced Thursday (Sept. 28) that the Reading Room in the new Thomas S. and Harvey D. Wilmeth Active Learning Center will be named after Dean of Libraries James L. Mullins, who played an integral role in envisioning and designing the new building.

The WALC, located in the heart of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, offers students a unique learning experience through active learning and integrated study rooms and library spaces. The reading room has been a traditional element of libraries since their inception.

“It is truly an honor to have the reading room named for me. I greatly value the commitment and role our libraries provide for the study and learning of Purdue’s students,” Mullins says. “The reading room is one place where those seeking a quiet place to study and think can come and be undisturbed.”

The Mullins Reading Room offers a place that students and faculty can consult materials held by Purdue Libraries, as well as work in a space designed to be conducive to thinking, reflection and writing. The room also offers a view of the Bell Tower and houses an authorized copy of the painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware.”

“Jim Mullins has dedicated his life to serving students and transforming and improving the way we educate them,” Daniels says. “It is truly fitting for his name to forever be a part of something as innovative as the Wilmeth Active Learning Center.”

Mullins, who also is Purdue’s Esther Ellis Norton Professor, is set to retire in December.

He came to Purdue in 2004 from MIT, where he was associate director for administration. Prior to MIT he held senior administrative positions at Indiana University and Villanova University. Mullins received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Iowa and his doctorate from Indiana University.

He has served in leadership roles within the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries and the International Federation of Library Associations. In 2016, Mullins received the prestigious Hugh A. Atkinson Award from the American Library Association in recognition of his outstanding leadership and his many contributions to research libraries. In 2017, he was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award in Information and Library Science by the School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University. During his tenure, Purdue University Libraries received the 2015 University Library Excellence Award by the Association of College and Research Libraries. 

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325, 

Source: Teresa Koltzenburg, 765-494-0069,

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