Top 10 assumptions for the future of libraries


The American Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) recently published an environmental scan which identifies the top ten assumptions for the future of academic libraries and librarians.

Here’s the list:

  1. There will be an increased emphasis on digitizing collections, preserving digital archives, and improving methods of data storage, retrieval, curation, and service.
  2. The skill set for librarians will continue to evolve in response to the changing needs and expectations of the populations they serve, and the professional background of library staff will become increasingly diverse in support of expanded service programs and administrative needs.
  3. Students and faculty will continue to demand increasing access to library resources and services, and to expect to find a rich digital library presence both in enterprise academic systems and as a feature of social computing.
  4. Debates about intellectual property will become increasingly common in higher education, and resources and educational programming related to intellectual property management will become an important part of library service to the academic community.
  5. The evolution of information technology will shape both the practice of scholarly inquiry and the daily routine of students and faculty, and demands for technology-related services and technology-rich user environments will continue to grow and will require additional funding.
  6. Higher education will be increasingly viewed as a business, and calls for accountability and for quantitative measures of library contributions to the research, teaching, and service missions of the institution will shape library assessment programs and approaches to the allocation of institutional resources.
  7. As part of the “business of higher education,” students will increasingly view themselves as “customers” of the academic library and will demand high-quality facilities, resources, and services attuned to their needs and concerns.
  8. Online learning will continue to expand as an option for students and faculty – both on campus and off – and libraries will gear resources and services for delivery to a distributed academic community.
  9. Demands for free, public access to data collected, and research completed, as part of publicly funded research programs will continue to grow.
  10. The protection of privacy and support for intellectual freedom will continue to be defining issues for academic libraries and librarians.

See the report for a discussion on these topics. Anecdotally, we are already seeing all of these assumptions at work at Red Deer College.

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association.


One Response to “Top 10 assumptions for the future of libraries”

  1. Fadaie, Gholamreza Says:

    Very nice ideas!. I would like to add a new idea about hybrid libraries and also how research methodology and practice will be mixed with LIS activities.

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