The mission of the libraries at North Carolina Central University is to provide resources and services that support the University's educational, research, cultural and public service objectives.
The core values of the James E. Shepard Memorial Library are as follows:
- Support the University’s Strategic Plan (NCCU 2020)
- Provide quality service to all customers (both internal and external)
- Ensure that library staff members are knowledgeable of current trends in library resources and services
- Enhance the library users’ awareness of the library’s resources and services
Library resources at North Carolina Central University are located in the James E. Shepard Memorial Library, the Music Library, the Library of the School of Library and Information Sciences, and the Library of the School of Law. These libraries contain a total of over 850,000 volumes and subscribe to approximately 5,000 periodicals. Access to these collections is provided by an integrated online catalog and circulation system.
In 1994, NCCU became a member of the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN). TRLN is a cooperative comprised of libraries at Duke University, NCCU, UNC at Chapel Hill, and NC State University, with combined collections of over 10 million volumes. NCCU students and faculty can borrow directly from other TRLN institutions as well as from the remaining constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina System.
The James E. Shepard Memorial Library contains 500,597 volumes and 140,200 federal and state documents. Periodical subscriptions total 1,928. Several microform collections and an extensive inventory of full-text electronic databases are among the library's non-print resources. Some of the electronic databases are remotely accessible.
In 1950, the library acquired the Martin Collection of books and pamphlets on African American history, literature and culture. Many of the titles and editions found in the famous Schomburg Collection are duplicated in the outstanding Martin Collection. Textbooks, curriculum guides, and non-print items in the field of education are housed in the Curriculum Materials Center (CMC). Videocassettes and audiotapes are also part of the CMC collection.
The Music Library, located on the third floor of the Edwards Music Building, contains an excellent collection of instrumental and vocal music, orchestral scores and records, in addition to carefully selected books in the field of music. The Music Library is a branch of the Shepard Library.
Since its construction in 1950 at the center of the campus, the Shepard Library has served as the primary resource for teaching, research, and scholarship at NCCU. A major expansion of the building in 1976 increased the total number of square feet to 104,364. In 2001, Information Technology Services designated the Library as the location for the main student computer laboratory. Wireless technology provides internet access throughout the facility.
Although changes have occurred in the library environment with the appearance of new formats and emerging technologies, traditional values of helpful, supportive, individualized service remain firmly entrenched in the culture of the libraries at NCCU.