I’ve just re-read the top 10 trends for academic libraries identified by the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee and published in: June 2012 College & Research Libraries News vol. 73 no. 6 311-320.
This document is the framework for the just released 2013 ACRL Environmental Scan. It is interesting to compare these two to see how the focus is changing.
For those who missed it or don’t have access to the archives of ACRL News, I’ve summarized below the top trends from the report (Please note that these top trends are not listed in order of importance but alphabetically):
Academic libraries must prove the value they provide to the academic enterprise. Librarians must be able to convert the general feelings of goodwill towards the library to effective communication to all stakeholders that clearly articulate its value to the academic community.
Data curation challenges are increasing as standards for all types of data continue to evolve; more repositories, many of them cloud-based, has to emerge; librarians and other information workers need to collaborate with their research communities to facilitate this process.
As digital collections mature, concerns grow about the general lack of long-term planning for their preservation. Local digital collections are at risk when the individual institution lacks a comprehensive preservation plan.
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.
Technology continues to drive much of the futuristic thinking within academic libraries. The key trends driving educational technology are equally applicable to academic libraries: people’s desire for information and access to social media and networks anytime/anywhere; acceptance and adoption of cloud-based technologies; more value placed on collaboration; ; and a new emphasis on challenge-based and active learning.
Mobile devices are changing the way information is delivered and accessed. An increasing number of libraries provide services and content delivery to mobile devices.
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. PDA is an inevitable trend for libraries under pressure to prove that their expenditures are in line with their value.
New scholarly communication and publishing models are developing at an ever-faster pace, requiring libraries to be actively involved or be left behind.
Academic libraries must develop the staff needed to meet new challenges through creative approaches to hiring new personnel and deploying or retraining existing staff.
User behaviors and expectations
Convenience affects all aspects of information seeking—the selection, accessibility, and use of sources. Libraries usually are not the first source for finding information. When queried, respondents describe the library as “hard to use,” “the last resort,” and “inconvenient.”
The ACRL asks the community for feedback and provides a venue to get involved and contribute to the ongoing discussion on the trends in academic libraries by participating in OnPoint Discussion at: www.ala.org/acrl/conferences/onpoint.
The following visualization was adapted from PewInternet.com, of a keynote address for the 2013 State University of New York Librarians Association Annual Conference.
There is an interesting discussion going on right now on big data and how it is used in academia. I found Dave Feinleib’s of Forbers magazine visualization of landscape of Big Data an interesting point of reference from the technological side of the spectrum.
In the other hand, John Sunyer’s lengthy review, “Big data meets the Bard”, in the Financial Times for 15 June, http://tinyurl.com/mzrjwll presents the point of view of acadmics who are proponents of using digital data in humanities. It is based on Sunyer’s interviews with Franco Moretti, Matt Jockers and Melissa Terras. Franco Moretti is perhaps the most known for his push to digitize and use digital texts in humanities. I hope some of it may be useful as an argument for Open Access at your universities.
I was going to meet my daughter for a cup of coffee at Tim Horton’s on on my lunch break. I was late because, unexpectedly, at the last minute, I had to assist a frustrated patron trying to check the Internet with his laptop at our library.
The academic library where I work does not offer wifi access to anyone but the university students and it takes anywhere between 5-10 minutes for a person walking into our library to play with the wires attached to the registration computer before they can scan their ID and get a daily pass that allows them to access the Internet on one of two computer stations that are open to the public. Trying to get the computer pass is always a frustrating experience. After several years of assisting people with using this machine, I still have no clue what is the best way to scan the personal ID, so it would cooperate and issue the pass.
When I was paying for my coffee at the counter at Tim’s, I spotted the sign advertising free Internet access. They partnered with Bell to do it in order to bring in more customers and level with competitors, such as Second Cup, that already offer wifi. I should have sent my patron to Tim Hortons … Yes, they would get the Internet access quickly there and it is a 5 minute walk from my library… They could get a cup of coffee too…. They could search the Internet and drink coffee in a public space… My patron would do better at Tim’s… and they should, and justly so, be called Tim Horton’s patrons, not mine….
Most libraries would not allow people bring Tim Horton’s coffee into the library, nor would they allow a coffee shop inside the library…. At the same time, libraries claim to be the institutions that help to close the digital divide by providing the Internet access to those who cannot afford it. Coffee shops are closing it while we use this argument and develop our collections….
The (British) Guardian has just published an interesting investigation into the several attempts to control the Internet – see it at:
To me this is investigation is the perfect case for the libraries as it shows that the decentralized design of the Internet can be tamed by the commercial powers of the few. This indicates clearly that that the Internet even at this early stage is not a safe storage for all the human knowledge, as many enthusiasts claim, but that there is a vital need to have the records of our culture stored in various formats in multiple decentralized locations. If we fail to convince now the people around us that such places that are publicly funded and provide free access to knowledge and information are still necessary, the Fahrenheit 451 scenario is not too far removed from reality. Indeed, it is a huge professional responsibility on all of us to prove through our work and inventiveness that libraries are the institutions that can fulfill this mission.
I came across the new Standards for Libraries in Higher Education (SLHE) drastically revised by the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Board of Directors this past October. The new standards aim to provide a roadmap that will assist academic libraries in responding effectively to the growing pressure to demonstrate their value through evidence based means.
“These standards differ from previous version[last revised in 2004] by articulating expectations for library contributions to institutional effectiveness […] They also differ structurally from the previous version by providing a comprehensive framework using an outcomes-based approach, with evidence collected in ways most appropriate for each institution.” – said University of Nevada-Las Vegas Dean of University Libraries Patricia Iannuzzi, who chaired the SLHE task force. They are based on the following nine principles:
Institutional Effectiveness: Libraries define, develop, and measure outcomes that contribute to institutional effectiveness and apply findings for purposes of continuous improvement.
Professional Values: Libraries advance professional values of intellectual freedom, intellectual property rights and values, user privacy and confidentiality, collaboration, and user-centered service.
Educational Role: Libraries partner in the educational mission of the institution to develop and support information-literate learners who can discover, access, and use information effectively for academic success, research, and lifelong learning.
Discovery: Libraries enable users to discover information in all formats through effective use of technology and organization of knowledge.
Collections: Libraries provide access to collections sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, format, and currency to support the research and teaching missions of the institution.
Space: Libraries are the intellectual commons where users interact with ideas in both physical and virtual environments to expand learning and facilitate the creation of new knowledge.
Management/Administration: Libraries engage in continuous planning and assessment to inform resource allocation and to meet their mission effectively and efficiently.
Personnel: Libraries provide sufficient number and quality of personnel to ensure excellence and to function successfully in an environment of continuous change.
External Relations: Libraries engage the campus and broader community through multiple strategies in order to advocate, educate, and promote their value. (See the document to read more).
I came across this sweet and uplifting video that actually gives some good and sound advice what libraries need to do to ensure their relevance in the future:
Enjoy and have faith that we can do it!