A Messy Future? Changing Roles of Academic and Research Libraries

Via Joyce Valenza’s blog:

Wow – but this bit of serendipitous synchronicity makes it all make wonderful sense.


Changing Roles of Academic and Research Libraries

Making Sense of a Messy Future

There are three essential actions libraries must take to achieve the necessary transformation and remain vital forces on campus in the years ahead:

First, libraries must evolve from institutions perceived primarily as the domain of the book to institutions that users clearly perceive as providing pathways to high-quality information in a variety of media and information sources.

Second, the culture of libraries and their staff must proceed beyond a mindset primarily of ownership and control to one that seeks to provide service and guidance in more useful ways, helping users find and use information that may be available through a range of providers, including libraries themselves, in electronic format.

Third, libraries must assert their evolving roles in more active ways, both in the context of their institutions and in the increasingly competitive markets for information dissemination and retrieval. Libraries must descend from what many have regarded as an increasingly isolated perch of presumed privilege and enter the contentious race to advance in the market for information services—what one participant in our roundtable termed “taking it to the streets.”

All right, in the proverbial nutshell:

Let Go of Control
Be Visible

Anyone working in an academic library, planning for the future of one or studying to be an university or college librarian should give this essay a close read.