What If There Was No Academic Library

Take a look at Scottie Cochrane’s article in the latest issue of EDUCAUSE Review. It’s a good response to those folks in higher education who believe there’s no longer a need to support academic library services and resources. The article is titled “If the Academic Library Ceased to Exist Would We Have to Invent It?“. Here’s the scenario Scottie explores:

Let’s imagine August 2010 at Excellent College (EC), a liberal arts institution of 2,000 undergraduates and 200 faculty. The college has decided to stop funding its library. Instead, it will give students a tuition rebate and give faculty a stipend representing their share of the annual amount that would previously have gone to support the library’s collections, facilities, and staff—about $2.7 million total. Each student and faculty member will get $1,230. For now, the library building and hard-copy collections will remain in place, student assistants will keep the doors open, and custodians will clean the facility; but database subscriptions will be discontinued, and no other services will be provided.

I think the article gives a good picture of what research would be like at an institution that did away with its library services and resources, and hence may help us to effectively communicate why libraries are important to those who think otherwise.

Posted by StevenB

One thought on “What If There Was No Academic Library”

  1. Good article – but it focuses almost entirely on collecting intellectual property, shifting from purchasing it to making sure locally-created information is available and preserved. It leaves out (or simply assumes) what to me is the key role of the academic library – supporting student learning, which involves a bit more than “directing students to resources.”

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