Monday, 30 March 2009
The academic library of the future
The Chronicle of HIgher Education Review has an article titled "Humanists must plan their digital future" that discusses the future of academic libraries. It begins by talking about Stanford University and its "highly fraught" process of making decisions about campus libraries. A 2007 preliminary proposal to tear down the seismically unsafe Meyer Library and digitize and house off-campus most of its 600,000 volumes produced a cry of protest. Then last fall a faculty committee proposed its own plan for rethinking the library. The article's author writes a long and well-thought-out discussion of the issues facing academic libraries that she characterizes as "a national crisis". Her main argument is that as libraries are redesigned to make use of electronic resources it is important for scholars - the faculty who are using these resources - to realize that they must become involved in the process and the design.