Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Observations and Reflections

Like higher education generally, research libraries are working hard to adapt to a rapidly changing learning and research environment.  A recent article by the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee reviewed the 2012 top ten trends in academic libraries:

·         Communicating Value:  “Academic libraries must prove the value they provide to the academic enterprise”

·         Data Curation:  “Data curation challenges are increasing as standards for all types of data continue to evolve; more repositories, many of them cloud-based, will emerge; librarians and other information workers will collaborate with their research communities to facilitate this process”

·         Digital Preservation:  “As digital collections mature, concerns grow about the general lack of long-term planning for their preservation. No strategic leadership for establishing architecture, policy, or standards for creating, accessing, and preserving digital content is likely to emerge in the near term

·         Higher Education:  “Higher education institutions are entering a period of flux, and potentially even turmoil. Trends to watch for are the rise of online instruction and degree programs, globalization, and an increased skepticism of the “return on investment” in a college degree

·         Information Technology:  “Technology continues to drive much of the futuristic thinking within academic libraries

·         Mobile Environments:  “Mobile devices are changing the way information is delivered and accessed

·         Patron Driven E-Book Acquisition:  “Patron-Driven Acquisition (PDA) of e-books is poised to become the norm. For this to occur, licensing options and models for library lending of e-books must become more sustainable

·         Scholarly Communication:  “New scholarly communication and publishing models are developing at an ever-faster pace, requiring libraries to be actively involved or be left behind

·         Staffing:  “Academic libraries must develop the staff needed to meet new challenges through creative approaches to hiring new personnel and deploying/retraining existing staff

·         User Behavior and Expectations:  “Convenience affects all aspects of information seeking—the selection, accessibility, and use of sources

An important trend not listed is declining budgets for academic libraries.  We must find ways to meet the challenges listed above while still working to provide the collections needed for learning and research at a major research university.

The complete article can be found here:  June 2012 College & Research Libraries News vol. 73 no. 6 311-320

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