The Library Learning Center received a special honor in 1983. The Wisconsin Library Association gave its Clarence B. Lester "Library-of-the-Year" award to Stout's Library Learning Center during the WLA annual conference held in Appleton. Many of the Stout Library Learning Center staff were present to receive the award. The citation reads as follows:
For its outstanding service to students and faculty as an academic library in the University of Wisconsin system;
For it's continued support of excellence and its forward approach in the use of education technology;
For providing ease of access to information with the total integration of print and multimedia material;
For its commitment to interlibrary cooperation on the local, state and regional levels;
For developing a Rental Resource Service, in cooperation with the faculty, as an innovative approach to classroom instruction;
For its extensive use of automation in support of users' services, including the free use of microcomputers;
For its encouragement of the staff development and its professional leadership at the state, national and international level;
For the design of a new library learning center which incorporates the latest technology developments and offers outstanding innovation to its patrons;
For its quality service to the University, to the residents of Dunn County and to other Wisconsin citizens, the Wisconsin Library Association is proud to present the 1983 Clarence B. Lester Memorial Award to the Library Learning Center, University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Three years later, in 1986, the library received another honor when its director John J. Jax was named Librarian of the Year by the Wisconsin Library Association. Jax was specifically commended for advancing new technology at Stout's facility as well as for his international library activities in Algeria. The library received additional honors shortly after when it received the University of Wisconsin System's "Center of Excellence Award."
A major change in leadership for the library began when Dean David Barnard announced his retirement in 1987. Barnard, a member of the Stout faculty for 41 years, had been the first dean of the School of Learning Resources. Among his many accomplishments were the creation of the Teleproduction Center, organizing the Media Technology Conference, developing the Media Technology Department and Instructional Technology Services, and development of the university's graduate program in media technology. He also played a key role in the creation of the new library building. In 1984, he had been named "Administrator of the Year" by the Wisconsin Educational Media Association.
Following a nation-wide search, Dr. Harry Herbert was named as the new dean of the School of Learning Resources. Herbert had been on the staff at Stout since 1965. He received a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green University, a masters from Stout, and his Ed.D from Indiana University. Before becoming dean, Herbert had been director of Instructional Technology Services and assistant dean of Learning Resources.
Members of the library staff had to face a major crisis when fire broke out in Ray Hall in September of 1987: the home of Rental Resources. The fire, originating in one of the art department studios, raged for over an hour before firefighters brought it under control. Disaster recovery began immediately through the efforts of library staff members as well as from the campus community. Water damage to textbooks was the main problem faced by rental resources. Thanks to quick action, most of the books and resources were saved and total costs to the library were kept to under $9,000.
It was shortly after the fire that the library entered into the Consortium of Hospitality Research Information Services (CHRIS). In addition to Stout, charter consortial members were Cornell University, Purdue University, and the American Hotel and Motel Association. CHRIS was founded to develop both printed and electronic bibliographic database access to hotel, motel, restaurant, travel, convention, and related hospitality publications. The Stout library continued its participation in this program for eight years.
In 1989, the library installed its second on-line Public Catalog System (PubCat, LS2000). PubCat was the computer system used by most of the other universities in the University of Wisconsin System. One advantage of PubCat over ALIS was its ability to keyword search for a subject rather than finding a word that the computer is familiar with. This would continue to be the library's on-line system until the NOTIS upgrade in late 1993.
Following a reorganization of the university's governing structure, the School of Learning Resources was disbanded in 1990. The library became an independent unit with the director reporting directly to the provost's office. Dean Harry Herbert retired.
The fastest growing bodies of students at Stout in the early "Nineties" were those with disabilities. Even before the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the library was user friendly for the physically handicapped. In addition to being barrier-free, the Adaptive Technology Area of the library provided machines that allowed material to be magnified several times its normal size. Other devices, such as the Arkenstone and Kurzweil Readers, would scan written words and convert them into audible words. Through the years the library has received funding from several grants to help cover the costs of this equipment.