ACRL Summit Report On Changing Role Of Academic Libraries Now Available

You may recall a post I wrote about the ACRL technology summit that I attended. I said that I would let ACRLog readers know when the final report from that summit was available for public consumption. Well, it’s now available. Here is some information about the summit and report from an ACRL press release:

ACRL has published an essay on the changing role of academic libraries that resulted from an invitational summit held on November 2 and 3, 2006, in Chicago. ACRL convened the summit to address how technologies, on the one hand, and the changing climate for teaching, learning, and scholarship, on the other, will likely recast the roles, responsibilities, and resources of academic libraries over the next decade.

The summit was conducted as an unscripted roundtable facilitated by Robert Zemsky of the Learning Alliance. The summit was attended by 30 leaders who both care about academic libraries and have the ability to look over the horizon in order to imagine an alternative future. The time together resulted in a discussion paper that is now available

The summit identified three essential actions libraries must take to achieve the necessary transformation and remain vital forces on campus in the years ahead..
• First, libraries must evolve from an institution perceived primarily as the domain of the book to an institution that users clearly perceive as providing pathways to high-quality information in a variety of media and information sources.
• Second, the culture of libraries and their staff must proceed beyond a mindset primarily of ownership and control to one that seeks to provide service and guidance in more useful ways.
• Third, libraries must assert their evolving roles in more active ways, both in the context of their institutions and in the increasingly competitive markets for information dissemination and retrieval.

Summit participants further suggested possible roles for ACRL:
• Convene and facilitate dialogues with leaders of key constituencies to consider the future of libraries in supporting the missions of higher education institutions.
• Contribute to national efforts to better understand elements of successful learning.
• Identify and monitor indices of change in the environment of libraries and information dissemination.
• Provide leadership in helping libraries and librarians make effective use of technology in supporting research and education.
• Provide national leadership in communicating the potential and performance of libraries in adopting new paradigms and meeting changing demands of institutions, faculty, and students.

ACRL seeks to continue the conversation about the changing roles for librarians, libraries, and ACRL. The first response, prepared by Julie Todaro, ACRL Vice-President/President-Elect, is posted with the essay. ACRL is greatly interested in receiving your comments about the Summit report. ACRLog has been designated as the official site for the submission of comments. So please read the report, give it some thought, and then return here to add your comments, thoughts, reflections and reactions to other comments.

4 thoughts on “ACRL Summit Report On Changing Role Of Academic Libraries Now Available

  1. Thank you for the work you all did in writing this provocative essay. There are many good questions and suggestions and some leading ones. Also, there are some interesting ideas. I would suggest that many of the ideas, challenges and solutions are not new and have actually existed for a while now. It seems I have been working on the “three essential actions” and balancing new and traditional roles for my whole short career of 10 years—but I suppose Mr. Dewey was working on balancing new with traditional roles as well. One observation: a lot of the drag on meeting new “demands” actually comes from senior leadership and faculty—so I am glad to see many of the suggestions within this essay cast as a leadership issues.

    Some questions:
    Why is there no mention of the role of metadata?

    Why not include some “frontline” librarians (i.e. actual working reference, catalog, and liaison librarians) on these tasks forces and within these summits? A few “frontline” could add some experience and insight to the current actual “demands” from students and faculty. You need more than leaders involved—you need performers.
    Best wishes, Scott

  2. Thank you so much for your thought provoking article. There is this old saying which say, ‘if you can not beat them! join them’. For a long time librarianship as a profession has tried to sell itself to the audiance and no one has understood it and now time has come for librarians to listen to the audiance what librarianship is all about. That is what makes librarians uncomfortable, “to be told what to do’ by the people they serve. They want to display their professionalism. The issue is not about showing anyone anything. But to know that success in academic libraries will only be achieved when people get what they want and not what librarians think they want.

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