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Friday, June 25, 2010

Futures and trends in academic libraries (with technology in mind)

Here are two academic-library-minded items that speak to (1) trends in current library activities and (2) 26 possible scenarios for academic libraries' future. As you might imagine, they both lean heavily on technology.

2010 top ten trends in academic libraries [College & Research Libraries News] lists one trend specifically noting technology ("Technology will continue to change services and required skills") and yet most of the remaining trends reflect changes in publishing and research methods, our conception of the library as place, librarian skill sets, budget demands, etc., are all impacted by technology.

'Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025,' a report from ACRL, posits 26 possible scenarios for where academic libraries will stand in 2025. It was written by David Staley, a historian at Ohio State University, and Kara Malefant of ACRL, and was based on a survey of ACRL members. The future could be rather dark for libraries in two of the scenarios, one in which libraries are all but extinct, and another where librarians no longer earn tenure (which is already true in a number of settings). Other alterations would have huge impacts, but have more positive outcomes. There is also a brief podcast on the 33 page report at the link above.

I am intrigued to study these suggested futures and ongoing trends to see how well they fit what we're doing in our library and how we're envisioning the future. It's interesting to learn from the perspectives of others.

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