Dear Commons Community,
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a featured article on how college libraries are struggling to retool themselves in the 21st Century to the Internet and its easily-accessible treasure trove of information. In addition to spending less on print materials and more on electronic resources, libraries increasingly are providing spaces for students to collaborate on research projects and for providing tutoring services especially as related to information literacy.
The article refers to a survey published in April by Ithaka S+R, a research-and-consulting service, which found that library directors feel less valued by senior academic leadership and less involved with decisions on their campuses. Only one-fifth of respondents said their institution’s budget demonstrated a recognition of the library’s value. And while librarians reported being deeply committed to student success, they struggled to articulate what exactly their contributions are.
The article also provides several examples of what college librarians are doing to make changes to their facilities. For instance, the article describes how the DePaul University library “will soon feature a ‘Maker Hub’ on the second floor, stocked with 3-D printers and a 3-D scanner, which, the library’s website notes, can scan people. Booths with audio and video equipment, as well as a green screen, will line the walls outside. A classroom and office space will be added for a group on campus focused on faculty development and interdisciplinary academic work.”
The Internet surely has impacted on much of what we do in education. Like many other instructional and student services, libraries will have to adjust accordingly.