And the winner in the category for best college library in the nation is [pause while opening the envelope] the Van Wylen Library at Hope College.

A standing-room-only ceremony on Thursday, March 4, provided an opportunity to celebrate the Van Wylen Library's recent national recognition. Highlights included formal presentation of the library's 2004 "Excellence in Academic Libraries Award," music by a Hope student jazz combo and a reception.And a nod to the recent Academy Awards ceremony.

"No one will mistake me for Billy Crystal. This is not the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But in a sense this is the academic library's equivalent to the Academy Award," opened David Jensen, director of libraries at Hope, who served as master of ceremonies.

The library was named the national winner in the award's college category by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in February. During the March 4 ceremony, Tyrone Cannon, who is both the ACRL president and dean of university libraries at the University of San Francisco, presented the library with a plaque denoting the recognition. In addition, the library received a $3,000 gift from Rita Rosato, customer service manager of Blackwell's Book Services, which co-sponsors the award with ACRL.

"I have been so impressed in my short time here with the great facility that you have, the obvious support of the college, the president and the provost, and the fantastic library staff that I've had a chance to meet and interact with briefly today," Cannon said.

Concerning selection for the honor, he noted, "This is a very competitive process, and it is indeed similar to the Oscars. You should be very pleased and very proud that Hope College received the award this year for college excellence."

The award recognizes staff for programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institution. Criteria include creativity in meeting the needs of their academic community; leadership in creating exemplary programs that other libraries can emulate; and strong relationships with classroom faculty and students.

The association honors only one college library, one community college library and one university library each year.

The winners will also receive special recognition at the ACRL President's Program during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla., in June.