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KNOXVILLE — A recent study has ranked the University of Tennessee Libraries among the top research libraries in the nation.

The Association of Research Libraries ranked UT Libraries third in the Southeastern Conference, 27th out of 68 public research university libraries in the U.S. and Canada, and 45th among all 113 ARL-affiliated research institutions.

This is a significant rise for UT from the year before, when UT was 32nd among public research institutions and 53rd overall.

The report also noted that UT had the fifth largest increase in total expenditures, about 55 percent since the 1998-99 academic year.

“An excellent library is an essential component of a first-rate research university,” UT Knoxville Chancellor Loren Crabtree said. “At the University of Tennessee, we are proud to have one of our nation’s finest university libraries and we are committed to building and supporting this excellence at the core of our learning community.”

Eight SEC schools made the list, including Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, LSU, Auburn and Alabama.

The top five ARL libraries are Harvard, Yale, University of Toronto, University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-Los Angeles.

“We are very proud to be in the top 50 of this elite group,” UT Libraries Dean Barbara Dewey said. “Having the consistent support of the university is crucial to our success.”

ARL considers five key factors in compiling its rankings each year: total number of volumes held, gross number of volumes added, number of subscriptions to current journals, magazines, newspapers and other periodicals, total expenditures and the number of professional and support staff.

The University of Tennessee Libraries supports more than 20,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate students enrolled in 400 academic programs in 15 schools and colleges.

UT libraries offer reference and instructional services, public and cultural programs, technological and media resources, subject liaisons in a variety of disciplines, and promote information literacy.

For more information about the UT Libraries, visit http://www.lib.utk.edu