Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Someone recently asked me about my vision for the college library of the future. Here goes.

I would want a library that:
  • is service-oriented and rock-solid reliable. This never goes out of style.
  • is agile. The information environment is in constant flux, and an academic library needs to be flexible enough to quickly accommodate new trends in scholarly communication and research and communicate those trends to their local community.
  • provide spaces conducive to creativity, knowledge sharing, and contemplation. The library space should retain traditional elements associated with access to printed materials and quiet contemplation and also more collaborative spaces that facilitate the transfer of tacit knowledge between people.
  • raises expectations for research conducted by students. By working closely with students and faculty and by strategically developing collections and services, the library should enable really strong student research.
  • has character. The library should generally have a friendly and interesting vibe as evidenced by the general feeling in the space and the attitude of the staff.
  • is a strategic asset for the parent institution. Rather than simply being a generic set of resources and services on par with peer institutions, the library should help distinguish the institution from its peers though unique collections, opportunities for student research, excellent service, etc.
  • involves students in a pervasive sort of way. Students should take part in all the cool things that go on at the library as patrons, researchers, employees, practicum participants, etc.
  • acts as a laboratory. Even in the electronic age, the library should be a place where creativity, experimentation, and discovery takes place through encountering sources, using technology, or bringing together people to co-create.
  • has a creative, motivated, staff dedicated to the library and the broader institution.
Hopefully that about covers it.

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