Library Mission and Direction

As our library continues a self-study of our mission/services/staffing/etc., I keep coming across interesting articles/reports that might be useful to reference later.

Most recently the Ithaka S+R group released a survey of academic library directors to “examine how the leaders of academic libraries are approaching systemic changes in their environment and the opportunities and constraints they face in leading their organizations.” The executive summary is worth a read. It reaffirms many of my observations such as electronic serials have almost entirely replaced print serials, staffing is shifting towards emerging technologies, and the importance of building print collections is waning but still considered important. The one thing that still surprises me  and is mentioned in the report is that with the emergence of information literacy many libraries have also taken on the role of instructional design/instruction. This topic could be a post all by itself, but for now… I see the connection but to do this successfully the librarians involved (or staff) almost certainly need to develop an entirely new set of skills in order to assist faculty with instructional design, especially if that instruction involves integrating new technologies into the classroom. Some of these skills include: educational technologies (web conferencing, hardware, movie making, presentation software, etc.), educational pedagogy, and most important the ability to investigate a new device or software and make recommendations on how best to use this new tool in someone’s class. I think libraries can do this, but it’s the last skill that will prove the most difficult to accomplish. But enough of that topic and back to the next point, supporting scholarship …

Our  library director recently shared an article by Simon Canick entitled “Library Services for the Self-Interested Law School: Enhancing the Visibility of Faculty Scholarship.”  Nothing in the article was surprising but it was an interesting argument for libraries at specialized and doctoral institutions to become engaged in faculty scholarship through publishing. It ties in nicely with the report from Ithaka S+R group because library directors at doctoral colleges have indicated these types of activities as a high priority. So establishing institutional repositories (ours is coming online this summer) and taking an active role in the library as publisher movement seem to be a common direction for doctoral libraries.  I doubt this is a passing fad and is something I will be following. Perhaps by watching some recordings on from the NY3R’s series on library as a publisher.