Back in November I shared some information about the ACRL Summit on Technology and Change. A number of different themes emerged at the meeting. The Summit participants discussed the current environment for the academic library, but eventually the conversation turned to the future of academic libraries. One way in which the facilitators asked us to think about the outlook for academic libraries was to take time to reflect on whether we thought the “glass” was half empty or half full.
That theme, among others, is revisited by Roy Tennant in his latest Library Journal column. He was also at the other Summit. Tennant does a nice job of capturing several other themes from the Summit, and I recommend that you read his perspectives on the program. As far as whether the academic librarian’s glass is half empty or half full, I’m also in the camp that believes it is half full – as did most of the librarians who attended the Summit. As for the non-library professionals who attended, I would venture to say they were more in the glass haf-empty club. That’s why the next few years are vital for our profession. It’s time to prove we are essential to the higher education institution, and are not just an awkward appendage to the institutional mission. As Tennant points out, we need to become indispensable.