What does an academic library do?
A 2018 joint publication identified nine functional areas common to all academic libraries:
- Convene Campus Community: Provide spaces and facilitate programs for the community broadly or specific subpopulations to generate engagement, outreach, and inclusion.
- Enable Academic Success: Support instruction, facilitate learning, improve information literacy, and/or maximize retention, progression, graduation, and later life success.
- Facilitate Information Access: Enable discovery and usage of information resources of any format or ownership; provide for preservation of general collections.
- Foster Scholarship and Creation: Deliver expertise, assistance, tools, and services that support research and creative work.
- Include and Support Off-Campus Users: Provide equitable access for part-time students, distance and online learners, and other principally off-campus/non-campus/remote users.
- Preserve and Promote Unique Collections: Ensure the long-term stewardship of rare materials and special collections, and maximize their usage.
- Provide Study Space: Provide physical spaces for academic collaboration, quiet study, and technology-enhanced instruction and/or learning.
- Showcase Scholarly Expertise: Promote research excellence and subject matter expertise of scholars and other affiliates; includes repository activities for open access preprint materials.
- Transform Scholarly Publishing: Drive toward modernized formats, revamped business models, and reduced market concentration.
- Support student/faculty recruitment, retention, and development
- Promote student achievement and contribute to improving graduation rates
- Collaborate with faculty for successful teaching and research
What are some library challenges?
- Declining staff headcount; more work done by less trained and experienced staff
- Flat materials budgets, as prices continue to rise
- Aging facilities and infrastructure
- Pressure to innovate and adopt new technologies while still supporting legacy formats
- Lack of awareness/visibility among stakeholders
- Changing service expectations
i. Undergraduates: Mobile users expect personalized service, responsive design
ii. Graduates and Commuters: Focus on hours and virtual/off-campus access
iii. Faculty: Supporting innovative teaching and scholarship
Where are there library opportunities?
i. Talented, creative, energetic people
ii. Prime “real estate”
iii. Extensive collections
- Values that promote trust
ii. Freedom of expression
iii. Open and equal access
- Combining on-site and online