The library in 2020 will be a tale of two academic research libraries: one flourishing in the best of times and one languishing in the worst of times.
In this work of fiction, in 2012, our two research libraries were both situated in tier-one research institutions established over 175 years ago, steeped in tradition yet vying for the attention of students who are increasingly opting for an online, global education over a residential university experience. Both libraries are housed in iconic spaces traditionally defined by the depth and scale of their collections. Deep traditions add weight to the challenges of transforming these libraries to meet the needs of 21st-century researchers and learners. Adding to this challenge are the complexities and elusiveness of achieving transformational change.
The library looked ahead to 2020 and then looked back to 2005. How had teaching changed? How had research changed? How had technology, content, publishing, and social platforms changed? How had academic research libraries changed? Were they keeping pace within the broader environment? Within the university?
Three years ago, I wrote here that “libraries are so valuable that they attract voracious new competition with every technological advance” (see “Libraries, Ebooks, and Competition,” LJ 8/10, p. 22–23). At the time, I was thinking about Google, Apple, Amazon, and Wikipedia as the gluttonous innovators aiming to be hired for the jobs that libraries had been doing. I imagined Facebook and Twitter to be the sort of competitors most likely to be attracted by the flame of library value. But it’s the new guys that surprise you. To review the last three years of change in the library world, I’d like to focus on some of the start-ups that have newly occupied digital niches in the reading ecosystem. It’s these competitors that libraries will need to understand and integrate with to remain relevant. In order of maturity, from already exploded to just emerging: goodreads, wattpad, readmill, sipx, Zola Books.
In a 2010 interview with The Book Page, Neil Gaiman neatly set out the case for libraries and librarians in the 21st century; the remarks are even more relevant today, as libraries fight for a fair deal from publisher for ebooks, and with...
Because today’s librarians must be experts in dealing with both physical and digital information, we have identified the Top 5 skills every librarian must have, or develop, in order to succeed now and into the future.
Over its ten storeys, the Library of Birmingham houses an art gallery, a children’s area, a multimedia centre, two cafés, a music library, a performance space, a theatre, a restaurant, terraces with herb gardens and more.
Ellyssa Kroski, Director of Information Technology at the New York Law Institute and the blogger for OEDb’s iLibrarian, as well as a writer, educator, and international conference speaker, develope...
Fliss Clooney's insight:
68 Essential Resources for eBooks in Libraries
eBooks are a constant topic in library news today. If you’re just getting caught up or striving to keep current, here are 68 resources that will put you in-the-know and help you make an informed decision about implementing eBooks in your library.
British Library enlists robots for new low oxygen newspaper archive Wired.co.uk This article was taken from the September 2013 issue of Wired magazine. The British Library has 750 million pages of newsprint spanning 300 years, and although it digitises some four million pages a year, it'll be 188 years at that pace before the whole collection is accessible on an iPad. To keep the news rags of a bygone era in circulation, the library has built a storage facility in Yorkshire with a microclimate specially created for ageing newspapers: low oxygen to prevent fires, low humidity to prevent rot. But low oxygen also means no people. Once the collection moves in 2014, humans will be locked out and requested papers will be delivered by a robotic shelving system.