I’m not sure there is a need for another ACRL Task Force that will examine “the place of academic libraries in the larger world of higher education”, but I’ll withhold my judgement until I read the final report. The name of this new group is Positioning the 21st Century Library in the Competitive Academy: Why We Canâ€™t Wait. I agree, we shouldn’t wait. What we need are strategies and ideas for how to create academic libraries that are indispensible to the campus community. We need libraries that are highly integrated into and tightly connected to what happens in the classroom, both physical and virtual. We need solidly concrete WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) factors that sell faculty on collaboration with librarians. We need buildings that are designed to invite the user community in, and then transparently connect them with librarians and resources. We need sticky ideas that profoundly resonate with administrators and faculty and clearly communicate our sometimes too vague initiatives. Will this Task Force give us what we need? Are these the issues the Task Force will be examining?
According to the press release the “Issues to be addressed by the task force include identifying challenges related to the position of academic libraries on campus, recommending short- and long-term aggressive activities in which ACRL members can engage to strengthen that position and recommending short- and long-term proactive programmatic initiatives ACRL can undertake to support members addressing these challenges.” Based on that an answer to my questions is hardly evident. But the Task Force has some of our profession’s best and brightest working on the issues. This distinguished group includes:
Elizabeth Henry, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Brad Baker, Northeastern Illinois University
Jim Neal, Columbia University
Bonnie Postlethwaite, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Hannelor Rader, University of Louisville
Donna Reed, Portland Community College
Sherrie Schmidt, Arizona State University
Janice Simmons-Welburn, Marquette University
Betsy Wilson, University of Washington
Ann Wolpert, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
You’re probably as interested to see what this group will come up with as we are here at ACRLog. As soon as we can get a copy of the final report (maybe even a draft) we’ll share the Task Force’s suggestions for positioning the 21st century academic library. For the sake of our future we could use a better position than the one we’re in now.
PS – Hey ACRL – how about sharing the news on your home page.