Last week I attended a gathering of approximately 30 representatives of academic libraries, higher education institutions, higher education associations and technology vendors – and at least two search engines – brought together for an ACRL Summit on Technology and Change. ACRL brought this group together to have a wide-ranging discussion, roundtable style, to help in determining how ACRL might best develop strategies to help its members adapt to technological change – and use new technologies to benefit their user communities.
The conversation seemed to fall into two categories. One focused on challenges confronting academic libraries – and the role technology plays in creating the challenges. The other one focused on what academic libraries need to do to both get their messages out to the user community, and how librarians could make themselves indispensable to their communities. As the discussion bounced back and forth between these two topics, a number of themes emerged:
There was far too much wide-ranging discussion for me to capture it all. While it was a great meeting of the minds, at the end of the day we needed to come back to our reason for being there – identifying some concrete things that ACRL could do to advance the cause of academic librarianship. In particular that meant addressing how ACRL can help their members leverage technology to make the academic library indispensable to the user community. Three things that ACRL has the potential to do emerged:
A position paper will be produced to report all of the ideas and suggestions that were developed at this summit. When ACRLog learns of its availability, we will share it here.